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Lorraine Leeson - Professor in Deaf Studies

Lorraine Leeson

Professor in Deaf Studies

I am a linguist and an interpreter specialising in sign languages. I want to learn as much as I can about how sign languages work, what they tell us about how language works – regardless of modality of expression – and how we leverage this knowledge when teaching and assessing sign languages, when educating interpreters to work bi-modally, and when interpreting in specific domains (e.g. court, police).

Principal Research Interests

Interpreting Studies

  • How do interpreters conceptualise events?
  • How do interpreters handle multilingual environments?
  • How are participants in an interpreted event understood and constructed via interpretation?
  • How well are interpreters leveraged in emergency settings?

Multidisciplinary Work

  • I am currently working on a project called Justisigns2 that through multidisciplinary engagement is developing evidence-based training for service providers working with deaf, refugee and migrant women who have experienced gender-based violence.

Applied Linguistics of Sign Languages

  • How are sign languages used in higher education in Europe?
  • What is the impact of language policies on outcomes for sign language users?
  • How can the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages be implemented across systems with respect to sign language teaching, learning and assessment?
  • How can the European Language Portfolio be deployed as a tool for sign language learners?

Linguistics of Sign Languages

  • What are the cognitive underpinnings of language? What we can learn from sign languages.

Recent Publications

  • Leeson, Lorraine and Carmel Grehan (2020) Bridging the gap: The European Language Portfolio and L2 Irish Sign Languages Learners at A2-B1 level, Teanga (11). Special Issue on Irish Sign Language. Pp.100-119.
  • Leeson, Lorraine, Flynn, Sophie, Lynch, Teresa and Sheikh, Haaris (2020) You Have the Right to Remain Signing: Deaf People and the Irish Justice System', Teanga (11). Special Issue on Irish Sign Language. Pp. 142-173.
  • Leeson, Lorraine and Beppie van den Bogaerde (in press) [What we don’t know about] Sign Languages in Higher Education in Europe: Mapping Policy and Practice to an analytical framework', Language diversity management in higher education. In Darquennes, J., Du Plessis, Th. & Soler, J. Eds. Sociolinguistica 34, Berlin, De Gruyter.
  • Leeson, Lorraine (2019) Ophelia, Emma and the Beast: Effortful Engaging and the Provision of Sign Language Interpreting in Emergencies, Journal of Disaster Prevention and Management, 28, (5) DOI 10.1108/DPM-01-2019-0007
  • Donna Jo Napoli and Lorraine Leeson (2019) 'Visuo-spatial construals that aid in understanding activity in visual-centered narrative', Language, Cognition and Neuroscience (2020),