The School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences offers six taught Masters programmes and a comprehensive range of doctoral research opportunities in the study of general and applied linguistics, speech sciences, speech and language pathology, clinical linguistics, Deaf Studies and Asian Studies.
The School's Centre for Language and Communication Studies, founded in 1979, is a centre of research in linguistics, applied linguistics, phonetics and speech science, and provides teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The Centre offers four integrated taught Masters Degrees in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, English Language Teaching and Speech and Language Processing.
The Centre offers many opportunities for doctoral research. In linguistics students have conducted research on a diverse range of languages and in fields including language acquisition, computational linguistics (in collaboration with the School of Computer Science and Statistics), sociolinguistics, pragmatics, semantics, phonology, syntax, language planning, corpus linguistics, and language typology and universals. In applied linguistics doctoral supervision is available in areas such as autonomy in second/foreign language learning; multilingualism and bilingualism; language transfer; learner strategies and communicative strategies; media and technologies in language learning; metacognition and metalinguistic awareness; pragmatics and language learning; syllabus, learning materials and pedagogical grammar; the age factor in language learning; and the L2 mental lexicon.
Funded research in the School's Phonetics and Speech lab has included a range of projects. Three current strands are: (1) the analysis and modelling of voice quality, with particular interest in how the voice source as a basic dimension of prosody is exploited both for linguistic purposes and for the paralinguistic communication of emotion and attitude, (2) the study of the prosody of Irish dialects and of different varieties of Irish English, (3) text-to-speech development for Irish and for Irish English. Researchers in the lab have been active in the development of prerequisites for the text-to-speech synthesis of Irish.
The School's Department of Clinical Speech and Language Studies is the longest established area for the education of speech and language therapists in Ireland. Two primary research areas within the department are communication in typical and atypical contexts, with particular emphasis on the social experience of communication difficulties and dysphagia (swallowing disorders). At postgraduate level, the department offers a range of research opportunities leading to the award of higher degrees (M.Sc., M.Litt., Ph.D.). An interdisciplinary approach to research is encouraged. On application, a prospective student may be interviewed to assess the student's suitability and potential as a graduate student and to consider whether the appropriate supervision is available. Specific research interests of the staff include: acquired communication disorders; dysphagia; augmentative and alternative communication; developmental disorders of speech and language; discourse analysis; fluency; gender issues; identity and disability; language and psychiatry; lifespan development; programme evaluation; voice; and written language development and disorders. The School also offers a range of opportunities for taught postgraduate courses in the area of speech language pathology, with clinical specialism in dysphagia, acquired communication disorders, augmentative and alternative communication and developmental disorders of speech and language.
The School's Centre for Deaf Studies was established in 2001 as a centre of excellence in education and research in the field of Deaf studies. Its core activities include training for Irish Sign Language tutors and Irish Sign Language/English interpreters, general training in the field of Deaf Studies and linguistic research focusing on describing Irish Sign Language (ISL). Its primary role as a teaching institute involves training native/near-native Irish Sign Language users.
The Centre offers opportunities for doctoral research in Deaf studies over a broad range of topics, ranging from sign linguistics to language planning and language rights. Current research areas include the linguistic description of Irish Sign Language; the Signs of Ireland project, which is building and transcribing a corpus of Irish Sign Language that will be of use to researchers in the fields of linguistics, interpreting, language teaching, anthropology and sociology; curriculum design for the teaching of Irish Sign Language; and interpreting between spoken and signed languages.
The School is also home to the Trinity Centre for Asian Studies, which acts as a focal point for Asian Studies and brings together teaching and research in Chinese, Korean and Japanese Studies as well as other regionally-based scholarship and pan-Asian research. Its activities focus on contemporary society and culture, language learning, diaspora studies, and comparative studies including Asian-European studies. As well as opportunities for doctoral supervision, it offers a two-year taught Master's course in Chinese Studies which includes a semester abroad in China.