By Ellen O’Donoghue
NUI Galway have announced the launch of a new research facility, the Centre for Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism (CALM).
Based in the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the new research hub will provide a platform for interdisciplinary research in the area of applied linguistics and multilingualism, thus increasing the awareness of issues related to language learning, language processing and multilingualism within NUI Galway and the wider community.
CALM’s research themes reflect increasing linguistic diversity in communities in Ireland, the EU and globally.
Galway was identified in the 2016 census as the most diverse city in Ireland, having the highest percentage of non-nationals, with over 60 languages spoken citywide. This has a significant impact on education, resulting in many multilingual children in some of the city’s and county’s schools.
In addition, there is a high percentage of children and a progressively higher number of adults in speech and language therapy and other related health services in the city and country. This trend is reflective nationally.
The proximity of Galway to the Connemara Gaeltacht links the college to the largest Irish speaking population in Ireland. The University offers a bilingual environment where the Irish language is regularly used in academic and social life. The provision of education through Irish is among the University’s strategic aims.
“Research on Irish will feature strongly in the work of CALM”, said Dr John Walsh, Senior Lecturer in Irish and Co-Director of the Centre. Language change in the Gaeltacht and the relationships between native and ‘new’ speakers are interesting fields for research in multilingualism, sociolinguistics, language acquisition and speech and language therapy.”
“Calm offers fantastic opportunities to firmly establish NUI Galway as a centre of excellence in the field of multilingualism”, said Dr Stanislava Antonijevic-Elliott, Senior Lecturer in Speech and Language Therapy and CALM founding member.
The launch of CALM coincides with the announcement of the new MSc in Applied Multilingualism due to start in September 2020, which is designed to cater for increasing linguistic diversity in communities in Ireland, the EU and globally. The MSc is the only course of its kind in Ireland and is aimed at students from a variety of backgrounds, including languages, humanities, social sciences and speech and language therapy.