Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Our Research > Research Projects

Past Projects

The School has initiated and participated in a wide variety of research projects at both national and international level:

Centre for Language and Communication Studies

Centre for Deaf Studies

Clinical Speech and Language Studies

Back to top


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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top


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 

Back to top

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

Back to top


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


Back to top

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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top


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.

Back to top

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:

Back to top


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.

Back to top


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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top