Research in AHSS

Research in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics

Research in the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics

The School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics specializes in research in linguistics and in literary and cultural studies across a range of languages: French, German, Japanese, Spanish, and English for Speakers of Other Languages. Research in the School focuses on the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of a range of languages and their associated cultures, with a strong comparative dimension. The School is home to three highly active and successful research centres:  The Centre for Applied Language Studies, the Centre for Irish-German Studies, and the Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies. 

Centre for Applied Language Studies (CALS)

The Centre for Applied Language Studies (CALS), established in 1997, is the largest research centre in the School and Faculty and brings together members of faculty, postgraduate students and researchers from the School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics as well as from other disciplines across the University. Applied Language Studies is about applying language to real world contexts and issues. CALS provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and the development of research projects in applied language studies within the University as well as serving as a focal point for national and international links in this area. Researchers in CALS are organized around three clusters:
  • The New Learning Environments cluster focuses on changes in the language-learning environment and the implications of those changes for both research and practice in applied linguistics. Current research explores areas such as new literacies in the post-typographic era, learner autonomy and self-directed language learning, and social media and corpora in language learning and teaching.
  • The Discourse, Society and Identity cluster encompasses a range of interdisciplinary and interrelated projects, which have as their focus the critical analysis of language, spoken and written, public and private varieties of language. Some examples of current and recent projects include: the sociolinguistics of Irish-English; multilingualism in advertising discourse; linguistic choices in bilingual media; critical media discourse analysis.
  • The Plurilingualism and Language Policy cluster investigates language planning and policies as well as the effects of these in a number of domains, in particular, education, media and politics. Projects focus on aspects of corpus planning and status planning in a number of national contexts, which include Ireland, Spain, and France, and many of them also relate to global issues (for example, the spread of English worldwide; plurilingualism in the Internet practices of higher education students internationally).

For more information about CALS visit: Or contact the Director of CALS, Professor Helen Kelly-Holmes (


Centre for Irish-German Studies (CIGS)

Founded in 1997, the main aim of the Centre for Irish-German Studies (CIGS) is to encourage and support research dealing with all aspects of Irish-German relations. The term 'German' in the Centre's name is to be understood in a linguistic rather than a geographical sense. In particular, the centre aims
  • to encourage and facilitate interdisciplinary research into all aspects of contacts between Ireland and the German-speaking countries;
  • to create a forum of discussion for interested parties, in the form of seminars, guest lectures and conferences
  • to co-ordinate and encourage the compilation of Irish material on Austria, Germany and Switzerland and German language material on Ireland as a resource base for researchers;
  • to increase knowledge about German-speaking countries, their societies and cultures as well as Irish-German relations in the region, and further promote mutual understanding.
The Centre publishes an annual Yearbook of Irish-German Studies (published by the Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier). 
For more information about the Centre for Irish-German Studies visit: Or contact the Director of the Centre for Irish-German Studies, Dr. Gisela Holfter  ( or Dr. Joachim Fischer ( 

Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies

The Ralahine Centre for Utopian Studies was established 2003 to pursue innovative research across disciplines on utopian thought and practice. The research carried out by the faculty and postgraduate members of the Centre identifies and studies both utopian visions and utopian-informed methods and practices as articulated through a wide variety of texts (literary, legal, political, theological, filmic, visual, musical, architectural, and others) and social experiences (such as religious and secular intentional communities, political movements, artistic performances and various other cultural practices). While the Centre encourages research in all aspects of utopianism, it has a particular commitment to the study of utopianism in Irish culture and to developing our understanding of utopia as a method of social and cultural critique and transformation.
Ralahine enjoys collaborative and facilitative relationships with a wide range of researchers, practitioners and groupings within and beyond the University. The activities of the Centre include individual and collaborative research by faculty, postgraduate students, and visiting scholars; postgraduate degree study at the Masters and Doctoral levels; the Ralahine Utopian Studies book series with Peter Lang; regular Ralahine Utopian Studies Workshops, and other seminars and research events, including two major international conferences.
Ralahine Utopian Studies is the Centre’s book series, in association with colleagues at the University of Bologna, the University of Cyprus, the University of Florida and the University of Maine.
For more information about the Ralahine Centre see: or contact the Director Dr. Michael Kelly (