Dr. Laura McLoughlin



Applied Linguistics is an interdisciplinary research domain and encompasses research areas such as second language acquisition, translation, subtitling, interpreting, e-learning and the use of technology for pedagogical purposes amongst others. Academics in different disciplines of NUIG are currently conducting isolated research projects on Applied Linguistics, e.g. various language disciplines in the school of LLC, CELT, the Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, the discipline of Speech and Language Therapy. Some of them are also conducting interdisciplinary research projects involving several disciplines. However, the lack of an interdisciplinary research group renders collaborative research difficult.

Nowadays, and for the foreseeable future, linguists, e.g. translators and interpreters, as well as graduates with applied languages are in high demand on the job market. Employers in Ireland report difficulties in hiring graduates with the requisite standard of foreign and native language skills (Forfás, 2012). Therefore, it is vital to further engage in research and teaching in Applied Language to meet the demands of the market for the Irish smart economy and provide employers with graduates with the aforementioned linguistic skills.

To meet the demands detailed above, it is essential that NUIG engage in research, in order to develop and improve both undergraduate and postgraduate courses, many of which were initially established to answer market needs.

In order to make research effective, a collaborative approach must be designed, addressing the needs of all stakeholders, i.e. graduates, staff, the university and the wider community. With this in mind, this Research Group will address the following interdisciplinary questions: research and teaching issues in Audiovisual translation; the use of ICTs in conference interpreting training; executive function in interpretation and translation training; early and late bilingual acquisition of motion event construals; E-learning and pedagogy; language resilience in minority language communities; language assessment of native Irish speakers: developing diagnostic testing for speech and language therapy practice; precursors to linguistic development in children with autism: focus on discourse; investigation of bilingual language acquisition in Irish-English speakers: focus on lexical development; best practice in teaching advanced language skills to 3rd and 4th year part-time degree students in a blended environment; educational technology, digital animated storytelling in the classroom and collaborative/constructive learning.

The Research Group examines issues that are interdisciplinary in nature fostering interdepartmental collaboration and eventual civic engagement. All research areas involve two or more departments in the University and their findings will be applicable to various disciplines. The establishment of a collaborative network will ensure research quality and appropriate, far reaching dissemination. Investigating the language resilience of minority language communities, for example, will in turn lead to the analytical evaluation of issues concerning language acquisition and socialisation in minority language communities. The findings will reveal how language is acquired and used in minority language communities and what factors contribute to such an evolution. Such results are of value to various domains: language planning and policies, community and social policies, early and late bilingual acquisition, as well as typical and atypical bilingual development.