NUIG launch new linguistics research centre

Dara Browne

NUI Galway (NUIG) has launched a new centre for applied linguistics and multilingualism (CALM), which will provide a space for multidisciplinary research relating to linguistics and language studies. 

CALM, based on campus in the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences,will also create more awareness about language processing and learning.

The centre was opened due to results from the 2016 Census, which revealed that Galway had the most diverse population with over 60 languages.

According to CSO statistics, 3,631 Polish, 781 Brazilian and 646 Lithuanian people were residents in Galway during the 2016 Census.

In a statement released by NUIG, these figures showed “significant impacts” on education and increased numbers of multilingual children in schools around the county, adding that “There is a higher percentage of children and a progressively higher number of adults in speech and language therapy and other related health services in the city and county.”

Dr. John Walsh, Senior Lecturer in Irish and Co-Director of CALM said a main focus of the centre’s research will be on the Irish language.

“Language change in the Gaeltacht and the relationships between native and ‘new’ speakers are interesting fields for research in multilingualism, sociolinguistics, language acquisition and speech and language therapy,” Walsh said.

Th university’s proximity to the Connemara Gaeltacht links NUIG to the largest Irish-speaking region in Ireland. NUIG regularly incorporates the Irish language into university life.

Walsh is running the centre alongside fellow Co-Director Dr. Laura McLoughlin, Senior Lecturer in Italian, who said the launch of the centre will “increase interdisciplinary and cross-college collaboration and ultimately impact both students and the wider community.”

The opening of the research centre coincides with the introduction of the new MSc in Applied Multilingualism. The course is the first of its kind in Ireland and is aimed at individuals with background in languages, social sciences and speech and language therapy.

Individuals conducting research of their own in the area of linguistics or multilingualism are encouraged to contribute to CALM’s work.

At present, CALM has a diverse range of specialists and experts working in the centre.

Current members of the research centre include Dr. Sophie Arndt and Dr. Mark A. Elliot, doctors of Psychology and Dr. John McCrae and Dr. Paul Buitelaar, Insight Centre for Data Analysis.

Among them, are other experts in fields such as Speech and Language Therapy, Computer Science, French, Italian and Spanish.

Dara Browne

Image Credit: NUI Galway