Computer Science, Linguistics and a Language (CSLL) for Prospective Students

Slides used in describing the degree at the yearly Trinity Open Day

There are below some further detailed information expanding on questions you may have if you are considering studying this degree.

Zoom we will be having a Zoom session Fri Nov 20 from 4-6, to allow prospective students to have face-to-face discussion about the CSLL course with people involved with the course. If you are interested in participating, send an email to and you will get sent an invite to the session.

Email please do not hesitate to send email query to

Carl dot Vogel AT tcd dot ie
Martin dot Emms AT tcd dot ie

Shadowing One way people have found out more about the course has been to come along and try it out for a day, sometimes referred to as shadowing . We arrange for you to attend lectures and labs in the company of current students. You can chat to current students and they will guide around the place. There should also be some time to have talk with one of the lectures closely involved with the course to answer further questions. We would hope to be able to do this again this year, though this will clearly on the prevailing circumstances.

There is no designated 'shadowing day' as such; if you are interested, just get in contact with us and we will work out a mutually suitable day.

In an increasingly technological and multilingual world, the computer science and language abilities of CSLL graduates make them attractive to employers, as do their proven analytical skills and not least their self-sufficiency and maturity in having spent a year abroad.

CSLL graduates work in many different fields


a sample of areas into which CSLL graduates have gone (in Ireland and abroad)

  • the language technology industry (eg. IBM, Microsoft)
  • general software engineering in Ireland and abroad (eg. Google, Accenture)
  • technological and organisation roles within IT or other sections of multinationals (BMW, Ingersoll Rand)
  • direct use of language skills in translation consultancy (eg. Transpiral), in the Irish Diplomatic Corps and the European Patent Office
  • Banking and finance (e.g. Deutsche Bank, DEPFA)
  • speech and language therapy
  • further post-graduate study
  • hundreds of representative opportunities listed at

Linguistics is the name given to all aspects of the scientific study of language. Everyone is very familiar with at least one language, almost over familiar. It turns out then when one stands back and looks scientifically at not just one's own language but multiple other languages also, remarkably intricate structures and regularities emerge. For example, concerning the sounds of language, there is universal repertoire of sounds, the International Phonetic Alphabet, allowing description of all spoken languages, and general rules that can be formulated concerning how these sounds relate to how human being manipulate a flow of air and how these sounds are modified in particular contexts. Concerning the syntax of language, subtle parallels emerge between different languages, both what they permit and what they do not.

The science of language component covers all aspects of the scientific study of language

other issues looked at in linguistics include: the relation of word and sentence syntactic structure to its word and sentence meaning, the relation between syntactic structure and pronunciation, the developmental stage at which a child might say a given sentence, and many others.

There is an excellent textbook on linguistics, many parts of which can be previewed via Google's book's service Linguistics: an introduction to linguistic theory . The introductory chapter of that book would be an excellent place to look.

The book The Language Instinct by Stephen Pinker is an accessible account of some these issues, was a bestselling paperback and is quite likely to be in your local library or bookshop.

The following picture attempts to give some idea of what computational linguistics is about

Computational linguistics chart

The idea is this: a sentence can be associated with an underlying, linguistic structure . Human beings use, and computers can be made to use, such structures to accomplish tasks would seem to require linguistic intelligence

Put another way, its about the scientific description of linguistic intelligence, and its computational realisation.

Thus in the centre of the picture above there is a very simple structure for the sentence when was Google founded ?

Such a structure can be put to use to accomplish such tasks as

  • Question Answering
  • Machine Translation
  • Speech Synthesis
  • Retrieving information from databases

These are the language-involving computational tasks shown in the picture above, but there are many many others such as

  • speech recognition
  • document summarisation
  • extraction of information from documents for clustering or data-mining
  • language generation

There is listing of potentially relevant job-offers that is maintained for CSLL students. The following link is an archive of that listing.

CSLL undergraduates also attend a weekly research seminar, The Dublin Computational Linguistics Research Seminar (DCLRS), in which linguistic and computational linguistic research is presented. The DCLRS is a joint venture between TCD, UCD, DCU and DIT. Follow this link for more information, such as the topics of recent talks.