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School of Applied Language & Intercultural Studies

Interests and Expertise

SALIS has four main research specialisms:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Translation Studies
  • Literary Studies
  • Citizenship Education across Cultures

Applied Linguistics

The languages we speak and write, and how we use them, have profound consequences for our cognitive and social development, our ability to participate in education and employment, our access to justice and the structures of democracy, and our economic well-being. They also underpin the cultural and trade links between nations.

Given such high stakes, one of the primary concerns of our research in Applied Linguistics is how we can best harness available resources to help learners acquire second or further languages. Such resources include the language or languages a speaker already knows, the community of speakers learners have access to, and the technological tools at their disposal. Current SALIS research, for example, looks at:

  • How learners can draw on knowledge of other languages in English-language and Irish-language immersion schooling in Ireland
  • The use of virtual worlds (Second Life) in second language learning
  • The impact of digital technologies on students’ learning of Chinese characters

Applied Linguistic research is also interested in the cognitive, social and political import of the way we use language in specific contexts. Current SALIS research looks, for example, at:

  • The cognitive effect of ‘impact captions’ on viewers of Japanese TV
  • The definition of medical professionalism
  • Neoliberalism in contemporary discourse on education
  • Attitudes to Hong Kong English
  • The development of Japanese secret lexicons

Translation Studies

Translators and interpreters play a vital part in intercultural exchange, the spread of science and religion, international trade, conflict and conflict resolution, acting as brokers in situations where participants in communication do not share a common language. Translation is a glue that helps hold multilingual political entities together in our contemporary globalised world. It is also a multi-billion euro industry.

The Translation Studies group in SALIS conducts world-leading research into historical and contemporary theory and practice in translation and interpreting. We have particular strengths in translation technology, including machine translation, and have recently authored major new works on theories of translation, research methodologies in translation studies, translation in the digital age, and translation for the global digital entertainment industry.

Current research includes projects on:

  • Translation and interpreting in natural disasters
  • Translation of e-books
  • Translation of children’s literature
  • Interpreting in Irish courts in the 19th Century
  • Machine translation and post-editing effort of enterprise and user-generated content

Literary Studies

Interdisciplinary literary studies are an essential educational tool to prepare students to work in any field where critical thinking, strong writing skills and a sophisticated understanding of cultural difference and diversity are called for.

SALIS is home to a pioneering team, which is exploring the relations between literature and other areas of culture, including film, art and music. The study of literary and film-related topics opens onto a wide range of critical theories, issues of genres and artistic movements, approached according to interdisciplinary and intermedial principles.

The team is engaged in a variety of studies concerned with:

  • Ethics education through literature and film
  • Reception and reader response theory
  • Adapting literary works for film and television
  • Intermediality – the interconnectedness of modern media
  • Children’s literature and graphic novels
  • Fairy-tale rewriting and myth-criticism
  • Imagology – national and cultural stereotypes in literature

Citizenship Education across Cultures

Our young people are growing up in an era of political, social and economic crises often characterised by uncertainty and a breakdown in trust in democratic institutions and processes. Citizenship Education has a vital part to play in providing them with a deeper understanding and appreciation of their “place in the world” from local, national, European and global perspectives.

Specifically, research into Citizenship Education is concerned with issues such as multicultural education, intercultural curriculum, comparative citizenship education, nationalism, global citizenship and cosmopolitanism, migration, internationalisation of education, political education, and conflict and conflict resolution. Regions of particular interest include Ireland (North and South), and Central and Eastern Europe.

Current research projects are investigating:

  • Young people as innovators and “Change-Makers” in society
  • The impact of language learning and study abroad on perceptions of citizenship
  • Political and citizenship education in schools and in higher education settings
  • The internationalisation of higher education and the multicultural campus
  • The Capabilities Approach
  • Cosmopolitanism and Global Citizenship
  • The Northern Ireland peace process