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Research Projects (Current & Past)

The School' departments are involved in a wide number of research projects at both national and international level.



Centre for Language and Communication Studies


Centre for Deaf Studies


Clinical Speech and Language Studies


Dysarthria Impact Profile: An assessment to measure psychosocial impact in dysarthria

The inability to quantify psychosocial impact, clinically and for research, led to the development of the Dysarthria Impact Profile (DIP). This tool, in collaboration with Professor Nick Miller, University of Newcastle, and Professor Richard Peach, Rush University, Chicago, was published in 2009 and is translated into French, Dutch, and Portuguese. It is currently being amended and prepared for validation.  PI:  Dr Margaret Walshe, TCD;  Collaborators: Professor Nick Miller, Newcastle University, UK, Prof Richard Peach Rush Medical Centre, Chicago USA, Dr Serge Pinto, Aix en Marseilles France.

For further information contact Dr Margaret Walshe.

Evidence Based Practice: Cochrane Collaboration Systematic Reviews (HRB).

Cochrane Reviews are systematic reviews, which provide an overview of the diagnostic accuracy of tests as well as the effects of interventions in health care. It aims, where possible, to provide an estimate of the size of benefits or harms of therapy. There are 4 Cochrane Reviews underway in the Department. These include international collaborations.  The Health Research Board (through Cochrane Fellowship) has provided funding for three of these projects.
The following Cochrane reviews are in progress or are completed.

  •  (1) Interventions for Drooling in Children with Cerebral Palsy.
    Cochrane Fellowship Award: PI- Dr Margaret Walshe.
    Collaborators: Dr Lindsay Pennington Newcastle University UK, Dr Martine Smith TCD. Contact Dr Margaret Walshe.
  • (2) Oral Stimulation Approaches for Oral Feeding in Preterm Infants.
    Cochrane Fellowship Award: PI- Zelda Greene. Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin, Collaborators: Dr Margaret Walshe, Dr Colm O’ Donnell Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin. Contact Dr Margaret Walshe.
  • (3) Diet Modifications for People with Dementia
    Cochrane Fellowship Award: PI-Dr Margaret Walshe with Eadaoin Flynn, TCD. Collaborators: Dr  Christina Smith University College London, Dr Cathal Walsh TCD. Contact Dr Margaret Walshe.
  • (4) Botulinum Toxin for Upper Oesophageal Phase Dysfunction in People with Neurological Dysphagia. PI: Julie Regan TCD . Collaborators: Dr  Margaret Walshe, TCD;  Dr Barry McMahon, Dr Tara Coughlan and Anne Murphy Tallaght Hospital, Mindy Chiang TCD.  Contact Dr Margaret Walshe.

Endo FLIP: A medical device examining Upper Oesophageal Phase Dysphagia (HRB).

Measuring the function of the upper oesophageal sphincter for swallowing has remained a persistent challenge for clinicians working in the area of dysphagia. This innovative device was developed by PhD student Julie Regan TCD, Dr Barry McMahon  Tallaght Hospital and Dr Margaret Walshe  and is now ready for validation.  Collaborators: Professor Nathalie Rommel and Professor Jan Tack, University of Leuven, Belgium.  This project was funded by the HRB Clinical Fellowship programme. For further information contact Dr Margaret Walshe

  • Tongue Pressure Measurement: Development and Validation of the Oropress ( Enterprise Ieland/HRB).
    Accurate measurement of impaired tongue function for speech and swallowing is difficult despite the fact intervention in this area is a core feature of clinical work. A wireless device ( Oropress) has been developed by Dr Vincent Casey,  Professor Alison Perry and Dr Richard Conway at the University of Limerick. The Department of Clinical Speech and Language Studies (CSLS) are collaborating with this team to assist with validation of the tool. Initial validation work is part funded by Enterprise Ireland. The Health Research Board has funded CSLS student Oral Gilheaney to do some validation research through a HRB Summer Studentship award. For further information contact: Dr Margaret Walshe
  • Epidemiology of Feeding and Swallowing Problems in Neonates Born in Cyprus.
    Preterm infants can present with significant feeding and swallowing problems yet there is minimal research available on the nature and extent of these problems.  There is also no way of categorizing at birth, which infants are deemed to be at high risk for developing swallowing problems. The aim of this prospective epidemiology study is to examine the incidence and prevalence of feeding and swallowing problems of infants born in Cyprus over a two-year period and to develop a scale to determine infant risk. PhD Student: Panayiota Sennekki- Florent with Dr Margaret Walshe. For further information contact: Dr Margaret Walshe.

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Dysphagia in People with Multiple Sclerosis: Nature, Risk and Prevalence.

The epidemiology of swallowing problems in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) is poorly understood. This project examines the nature and extent of dysphagia in people with MS and aims to identify possible biomarkers associated with dysphagia.
This project is conducted in Cyprus by PhD student Astero Constantinou with Dr Margaret Walshe. For further information contact Dr Margaret Walshe.

Interventions for Upper Oesophageal Dysfunction Associated with Dysphagia in Neurological Disorders

The first phase of this project involves two systematic reviews of interventions to help evidence based decision making in clinical practice. One Cochrane review on botulinum toxin has been completed by Julie Regan, Dr Margaret Walshe, Dr Tara Coughlan, Dr Barry McMahon, Mindy Chiang and Anne Murphy.
A further project is systematically reviewing the evidence for rehabilitation approaches for upper oesophageal sphincter (UOS) dysfunction. This is being completed by postgraduate student Mindy Chiang and Dr Margaret Walshe. 
The second phase of this project is a quasi-experimental study examining the efficacy of a two rehabilitation approaches to improving UOS dysfunction.  For further information contact: Dr Margaret Walshe.

Dysphagia in Cancer and Approaches to its Management

Dysphagia can be a significant problem for people with head and neck cancer. The impact of speech and language therapy (SLT) on management and recovery of swallowing function in people with early and advanced cancer is poorly understood. Three projects under this theme are in progress. An international survey on SLT practices internationally has been completed by M.Sc student Aoife O’ Reilly. Further projects involving RCTs are in progress with Professor Alison Perry, University of Limerick and Clare Parkes, St James’s Hospital. For further information contact:

Analysis of autobiographical narratives of interpersonal communication in psychiatry

This research project involves the analysis of written first-person accounts of experiences of mental health disorders, from historical literature (e.g. Margery Kempe 17th Century) to more recent contemporary writings of artists and writers (e.g. van Gogh’s letters 19th Century, and novelist, Janet Frame in 20th Century).

For further details contact Dr Irene Walsh

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Humour and laughter in speech-language therapy interactions

With an emphasis on conversational sociability, this research project explores- through discourse analysis - the forms, functions and phases of laughter and humour in speech-language therapy clinical interactions.

For further details contact Dr Irene Walsh

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Challenging the ‘disorder’ paradigm in the communication profiles of children with AD(H)D

This research project looks at the language and communication profiles of children with AD (H)D and challenges the pervading perception from the literature and  other sources that many of these children have pervasive pragmatic and discourse difficulties.  This project is in collaboration with an SLT department in a Dublin based Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

For further details contact Dr Irene Walsh

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The Perceptions and Experiences of People with Aphasia participating in a Conversation Partner Scheme

The difficulties in communicating which are experienced by people with aphasia (an acquired communication disorder which frequently follows stroke) have a negative impact on their quality of life, frequently leading to isolation and loss of social networks. An innovative programme pioneered in the UK, the Conversation Partner Scheme (CPS) involves supported conversations for the person with aphasia, with pairs of students, on a regular basis. CPS allows people with aphasia living in the community to participate in conversations in an informal social setting, usually at home. This ongoing project aims to explore the perceptions and experiences of people with aphasia  in a Conversation partner Scheme involving first year CSLS students.

For further details contact Caroline Jagoe

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Student Learning and Experiences of Communication Disability within a Conversation Partner Scheme with People with Aphasia

The Conversation Partner Scheme is a service learning module in the JF CSLS course. The module seeks to facilitate civic engagement and skills development on the part of the students. This ongoing project aims to explore the learning and experiences of students engaged in this module.

For further details contact Caroline Jagoe

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CONNECTing with the Community: Enhancing Student Learning through Structured Reflective Practice

Funding from the Service Learning Grant (Trinity College Dublin) has allowed the Department of Clinical Speech and Language Studies to engage the expertise of four people with aphasia in the process of re-designing the reflective practice component of the Conversation Partner Scheme. This research aims to explore the impact of the changes implemented on student learning and the quality of the service provided to people with aphasia.

For further details contact Caroline Jagoe

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Co-Morbidity of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPRD) in individuals with dysphonia and/or vocal tract discomfort

For further information contact Dr. Pauline Sloane

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Perceived Stress & Voice problems and/or Vocal Tract Discomfort in Pre-school, Primary, Second Level, Third level & Student Teachers in Ireland

For further information contact Dr. Pauline Sloane

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Lifestyle factors Correlated with Well Being across the Lifespan

Funding: Atlantic Philanthropies

CO/PI with Dr John Garry, Queens University, Belfast.

For further information contact Dr. Kathleen McTiernan

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Life Course Narrative biography and the Construction of Happiness in Later Life

For further information contact Dr. Kathleen McTiernan

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Hidden Histories - Intercultural Dialogue and Learning

November 2010 - October 2012

Funding by: EU: Grundtvig programme

This project is funded by the EU (Grundtvig programme). The University of Sussex leads this, with partners in Ireland (Centre for Deaf Studies, TCD), Austria and Finland. The project focuses on the creation of digital archives of community experiences in rural, nomadic, and Deaf communities.

A key objective of this project is to increase the participation in lifelong learning of marginalised and disadvantaged groups and, as a result of this participation to increase their engagement with civic society and learning.

It fosters learning opportunities based on participation in local community activities, developing alternative and innovative ways of learning, and sharing good practice on intercultural education, learning by marginalized citizens and their linguistic, social and cultural inclusion.

For further information please contact Dr. Lorraine Leeson.

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An analysis of the views and experiences of schools that have voluntarily withdrawn from The Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative

The Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative (MLPSI) currently operates in 15% of primary schools nationwide. As part of this Project French, German, Spanish and Italian are taught to pupils in fifth and sixth class in primary school. Since it began in 1998, a small number of schools have withdrawn annually for a variety of reasons. While there has been two evaluation reports written on the Project itself (Harris and Conway, 2002; Harris and O’Leary, 2009) and a feasibility study conducted on the teaching of modern languages in primary schools (NCCA, 2008), the views and experiences of schools that have voluntarily withdrawn from the Initiative have not been sought or documented to date. This Project examines the findings from a survey of Principals’/Schools that have withdrawn from the Initiative since its inception. It documents their views and experiences of the Initiative, their reasons for withdrawing from it, and it explores their views on the feasibility of teaching modern languages in primary schools more generally. It is hoped that the information collected will critically inform the future direction the Initiative itself might take and that the findings will feed into the broader debate on the teaching of languages in primary schools.

For further information please contact Denise O'Leary or Dr. John Harris.

BRIDGE-IT: Trinity Long Room Hub Murphy Innovation Fund

The Lifescapes (BRIDGE-IT) project is an interdisciplinary initiative which draws on research expertise from the TCD Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, the School of English, the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and TCD Library.  The Lifescapes Digital Archive may be viewed at


Further Past Projects:

Developing the English language proficiency of immigrant students attending post-primary schools (TII)

Funding: Trinity Immigration Initiative (2007-2010)

There are currently some 18,000 primary pupils and 8,000 post-primary students whose first language is neither English nor Irish. These figures are expected to increase in the coming years. Failure to provide non-English-speaking pupils and students with access to mainstream educational opportunities will bring social problems whose seriousness cannot be overestimated.

This project, which is part of the Trinity Immigration Initiative, has three interacting goals:
(i) to develop a practical, cost-effective and generalizable approach to the teaching and learning of English as a second language in post-primary schools;
(ii) to create a substantial bank of teaching and learning resources based on the curriculum and other supports already developed by Integrate Ireland Language and Training, a not-for-profit campus company of Trinity College established by CLCS;
(iii) to undertake empirical studies of key dimensions of the acquisition of English as a second language in post-primary schools (possible topics include: the relation of the post-primary ESL curriculum to the processes of second language acquisition; the lexical and discoursal demands of the post-primary curriculum; the impact of linguistic identity on learners’ attitudes, social integration and success in learning English).
The project will be launched in the spring of 2007 and will terminate in September 2010.

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Second language acquisition and native language maintenance in the Polish diaspora in Ireland and France

Principal Investigator: Professor David Singleton

Funding body: Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (2007-2010)

The recent influx of Polish migrants into Ireland has not, to date, been the subject of substantive research from a linguistico-cultural perspective. This multi-disciplinary, comparative project seeks to make good this deficit with respect to the acquisition and use of the languages of the host community and to the transmission of the first language of migrants to their children. The project is designed to yield both sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic findings and, also, to incorporate sociocultural and educational dimensions.

A parallel investigation of the Polish community in France will be carried out to identify language similarities and differences between the two communities. The point of this comparison is that Polish people have been migrating to France over a very long period. Notwithstanding the divergences between circumstances under which the two groups migrated, the language behaviour patterns of Poles who settled in France will provide indicators regarding the linguistic future of Poles in Ireland. Given there have been no attempts in linguistic studies so far to compare Polish migrant communities in two different European receiving countries, our project will constitute an original contribution to the area of sociolinguistic research and migration studies.

Both qualitative and quantitative research methods will be employed (questionnaires, interviews, language elicitation instruments, media search) to determine the factors which condition the success or failure of second language acquisition in the above contexts, and those factors which affect the transmission of Polish language and culture to the children of Polish immigrants. Such findings will inform debate about second language acquisition and also policy making in relation to integration of the Polish community in Ireland. The project will maintain contact with other international projects (see description). Results will be disseminated both in scholarly publications and in the media, via reports and press releases.

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Signall II

Funding: Leonardo da Vinci (2007-2009)

Interesource Group (Ireland) Limited is the promoter of SIGNALL II, a Leonardo da Vinci funded project which brings together partners from Ireland (Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin; Irish Deaf Society), the UK (University of Sussex), the Czech Republic (Grant Advisor), Finland (Finnish Association of the Deaf) and Poland (Foundation for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship) to localise and roll out a course called Perspectives on Deafness at the Centre for Deaf Studies at Trinity College Dublin as part of the Bachelor in Deaf Studies.

The course provides an overview on historical, contemporary, local and international perspectives on deafness and being Deaf, introducing concepts such as Deafhood (Ladd), the Sign Language Person (Jokinen) and Deaf ethnicity (Lane, Corker), as well as positioning Deaf community responses to challenges from liberal thought, the eugenics movement, as well as modern medical interventions. Delivered online in digital format by Deaf and hearing academics, the content is accredited as a 10 ECTS programme and is accompanied by multimedia content to support teaching and learning and a volume discussing key concepts in some detail.

The project results include educational material comprising:

  • Video footage of Deaf studies experts from around Europe
  • The first European text book on Deaf studies
  • Over 25 case study vignettes of deaf perspectives
  • A 10 ECTS course that is delivered as part of the Bachelor in Deaf Studies at Trinity College Dublin run by the Centre for Deaf Studies
  • E-Learning module content available in English, Czech, Finnish, Polish and Irish, Czech, Finnish, Polish and British sign languages
  • Pre-recorded lectures, class notes and lecture slides available on-line
  • Presentations and workshops

See: for more information 

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Literacy acquisition without speech

Funding: Central Remedial Clinic, Clontarf

The relationship between the ability to produce speech and to perceive speech is unresolved. One view is that speech production is fundamental to the perception of speech (Liberman, Cooper, Shankweiler & Studdert-Kennedy, 1967). Such a position would predict that children unable to produce speech should be impaired in their speech perception and hence comprehension. Other studies have provided clear evidence that a severe congenital speech impairment does not preclude the development of comprehension. Phonological awareness is an umbrella term for a group of skills involving the ability to detect, identify and manipulate the sound structure of language. There is strong research evidence linking these skills with success in learning to read and write. Phonological processing skills are known to emerge over time, and to increase in sophistication. The aim of the research in this project is to explore the relationships between speech impairment and speech processing skills in children with congenital anarthria across the primary school years. A more clear understanding of the impact of a severe speech impairment on the development of speech processing skills over time will provide direction for intervention to support the development of literacy skills. This research is linked with ongoing collaboration with partners in Sweden.

For further information contact: Dr Martine Smith

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Enhanced POS Tagging for NCI Corpus of Irish: Clibeáil an Chorpais

Funding: Foras na Gaeilge (2008-2009)

Team: Elaine Uí Dhonnchadha, Christoph Wendler
As part of the Foclóir Nua Béarla Gaeilge Project (Céim 2A, Clibeáil an Chorpais), automatic Part-of-speech Tagging of the 30+ million words of Irish text in the New Corpus for Ireland was carried out in TCD.

The machine-readable version of Ó Dónaill (1977) was used to enhance the POS tagger lexicon. During the processing lists of variants were also converted to HTML format: Ó Dónaill Headword Variants


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The North-South Languages Survey 2000

In 1973, the first national survey dedicated entirely to issues concerning the Irish language was undertaken by the Committee on Irish Language Attitudes Research (CILAR 1976). The survey questions included items relating to: (a) Ability or proficiency in Irish and other European languages (b) how language skills were acquired; (c) how language skills, especially in Irish, and (d) attitudinal questions relating to language and identity, public interest/apathy towards Irish, future of Irish, policy priorities, attitudes to Irish and other languages in the schools, etc. The 1973 survey was replicated by ITÉ/Linguistics Institute of Ireland in 1983, and 1993.

As part of the same series, the present survey was conducted in 2000. The survey was the first occasion that a major language survey was conducted across the whole island. One thousand randomly selected adults over 18 years were interviewed in each jurisdiction, giving a total sample of 2,000 respondents. When compared with the earlier surveys, the 2000 survey can track changes that have occurred in the Republic of Ireland in the last decade of the twentieth century. But it also, for the first time, permits an examination of differences in public attitudes towards Irish across the entire spectrum of political and ethno-religious divisions on the island – i.e. between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland on the one hand and between Catholics and Protestants on the other. Completion date for the project is March 2008. Foras na Gaeilge have supported the project from the beginning, and have recently awarded a grant to Trinity College to enable the report to be completed. Pádraig Ó Riagáin is the Principal Investigator.

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Review of Deaf Education in Ireland

National Council for Special Education (2007)

CDS was awarded the tender to abridge and complete the report begun by the Advisory Committee on Deaf Education. With data drawn from over 200 stakeholder submissions, and sections dedicated to parental, teacher, visiting teacher, mainstreamed students and special school students as well as graduates of the system, along with other data from other stakeholders, this report presented a contemporary view of Irish perspectives on deaf education. The report was submitted to the NCSE in 2007.

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Cabóigín (CABÓIGÍN I)


Tionscadal taighde ollscoile is ea (Cabóigín/Cabógaí) chun sintéis téacs-go-hurlabhra Gaeilge a fhorbairt. Tá an tionscadal á stiúradh ag an Ollamh Ailbhe Ní Chasaide den tSaotharlann Foghraíochta agus Urlabhra atá mar chuid d'Ionad an Léinn Teangacha agus Chumarsáide, Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath (TCD). Tá an tionscadal á mhaoiniú ag Foras na Gaeilge agus tá sé ag leanúint ar aghaidh ón obair a thosaíodh faoin tionscadal WISPR (Acmhainní Próiseáil Urlabhra don Bhreatnais is don Ghaeilge) a bhí ina chomharaíocht idir Coláiste na Tríonóide, Baile Átha Cliath, Canolfan Bedwyr (Ollscoil na Breataine Bige, Bangor), An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath (UCD), Ollscoil Chathair Bhaile Átha Cliath (DCU) agus Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann (ITÉ), agus a fuair maoiniú ón Aontas Eorpach faoi chlár INTERREG IIIA.


The project (Cabóigín/Cabógaí) is a university research project to develop text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis for the Irish language. The project is supervised by Prof. Ailbhe Ní Chasaide of the Phonetics & Speech Lab in the School of Linguistic, Speech and Communication Sciences, Trinity College Dublin (TCD). The project is funded by Foras na Gaeilge and builds on work from the WISPR (Welsh and Irish Speech Processing Resources) project. WISPR was a collaborative effort between Trinity College Dublin, Canolfan Bedwyr (University of Wales, Bangor), University College Dublin (UCD), Dublin City University (DCU) and Institiúid Teangeolaíochta Éireann (ITÉ, Linguistics Institute of Ireland), and was funded by the EU INTERREG IIIA Community Initiative Programme.

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HUMAINE: Human-Machine Interaction Network on Emotion (2003-2007)
Funded by: EU, Sixth Framework Programme
A collaboration of 29 laboratories across Europe

This network of excellence aims to develop systems that can register, model and/or influence human emotional and emotion related states and processes. It brings together researchers from many disciplines, including neuroscience, AI, speech science, experimental psychology and music, etc. The CLCS team will be exploring the role of voice quality in the vocal expression of emotion, and considering how it can be modelled in speech output systems.

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Supporting literacy learning for adults who use AAC

This research project is in collaboration with partners in Enable Ireland and the National Adult Literacy Agency, to develop resources to support literacy tutors in their work with adults who use AAC who are learning to read and write. It is a follow-up to a project funded through the Health Research Board, completed in 2004.



WISPR Welsh and Irish Speech Processing Resources (2003-2005)
Funded by: EU INTERREG IIIA Community Initiative Programme, Welsh Language Board.

Collaboration with the University of Wales, Bangor. As the Irish partner, Trinity College heads an inter-institutional group made up of researchers from TCD, UCD, DCU and ITE, all members of the Irish Speech Group.

This project aims to develop annotated speech corpora for Irish and Welsh (the Welsh corpora will be developed by the Welsh partner, Bangor, North Wales). These corpora are intended in the first instance to provide the basis for text-to-speech systems in both languages. In the project, the Irish partner (CLCS) heads what is intended as a collaborative venture by the Irish Speech Group, who will pool expertise on the project.

Further information:

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Interaction of Voice Quality and Pitch in Prosody

Government of Ireland Fellowship
Interaction of Voice Quality and Pitch in Prosody (2003-2004)
Funded as a Government of Ireland Senior Research Fellowship to Ailbhe Ní Chasaide by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences

This project focuses on the interaction between voice quality ("tone of voice") and f0 (pitch). In perception and production terms these are relatively, though not fully, independent aspects of the voice source. While current accounts of intonation focus overwhelmingly on pitch dynamics, our research to date indicates that voice quality is an integral dimension of prosody, and may be crucial for an understanding of how prosody simultaneously serves to signal affective information as well as grammatical and discourse related information.

This research builds on, and interacts with the concurrent Prosody of Irish Dialects project, extending the scope of its voice quality investigations. It exploits in particular the Donegal and Mayo corpora, where despite segmental similarity, different pitch contours are used for given grammatical categories (in Mayo Irish declaratives typically use sequences of high pitch accents, Donegal Irish employs sequences with low rising pitch). This presents ideal material on which, for example, to test whether there are simple source correlates of pitch accent, of whether voice source correlates vary with the f0 of the pitch accented syllable. The study will involve both analysis of speaker's productions and an exploration of how voice quality and f0 combine in perception through experiments using synthetic speech.

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FOCAIL: Foclóir Canúna Il-mheánach: towards a multi-media electronic pronunciation dictionary of Irish Dialects (2002-2003)

Funded by: Foras na Gaeilge
In collaboration with UCD and ITÉ

This funding is for a proof-of-concept study, as a precursor to a larger collaborative project, which will develop a sophisticated electronic pronunciation dictionary for Irish extending the Foclóir Póca to include variants for the 3 dialects of Irish together with audio and various types of visual information. The present project will be directed towards the provision of recording and detailed phonetic annotation of materials in a restricted domain.

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Review of Mid-West Signing Information Project (Paul Partnership)

Paul Partnership (2008)

CDS was awarded the tender to review the provision of interpreting services in the Mid-West as part of the Signing Information Mid-West Project. Dr. John Bosco Conama prepared a detailed, empirically driven review of service provision, with input from all major stakeholder groups in the region, which was subsequently published by Paul Partnership.

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