Dr Bettina Migge (UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore & Linguistics)

Dr Máire Ní Chiosáin (UCD School of Irish, Celtic Studies, Irish Folklore & Linguistics)


Broadly speaking, sociolinguistics explores the links that exist between language, culture and society. Using both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis, sociolinguistics examines a variety of related issues such as:

  • how patterns of language use function as vital resources for constituting social identities and groupings, interpersonal relationships and context in monolingual and multilingual contexts;
  • how languages change over time and the factors that condition change;
  • the linguistic structure of social entities (e.g. the speech community) and the social structure of linguistic entities (e.g. the internal makeup of a language);
  • the linguistic nature of language varieties and situated practices;
  • the nature of people’s linguistic repertoires.

Bettina Migge’s Contacts & Projects:

  • CNRS-SeDyL-CELIA France ( I’m involved in several projects:
    • a project focusing on developing tools for analyzing multilingual corpora (CLAPOTY) funded by the French research agency ANR;
    • a project on examining issues of language description in multilingual contact areas with a special focus on French Guiana which has received funding from DGLFLF, ULYSSES
    • a project on critically examining issues of minority languages in education with a special focus on French Guiana+ a project on language and migration with a special focus on Suriname and French Guiana which was funded by AIRD
  • NUI Maynooth Ireland (Mary Gilmartin, Geography): I’m involved in a project on migration to Ireland which was funded by IRCHSS
  • The Ohio State University USA (Donald Winford, Linguistics): I’m involved in on-going research on language contact with a special focus on creole genesis which was originally funded by NSF; we are also in the process of applying for new research funding from NSF
  • Universiteit van Nijmegen Netherlands (Margot van den Berg, Kofi Yakpo, Linguistics: I frequently exchange with them about issues of synchronic and historic language contact.
Máire Ní Chiosáin’s Projects & Contacts:
  • An ultrasound study of secondary articulations in Irish. Collaborative research with Jaye Padgett and Grant McGuire, University of California, Santa Cruz, and Ryan Bennett Yale University. The first phase of the project was part-funded by Foras na Gaeilge. We are currently seeking funding from the NSF for the second phase.
  • On-going collaboration with Jaye Padgett, University of California, Santa Cruz on the perception and modelling of contrast in sound systems.
  • Collaboration with Pauline Welby, Laboratoire Parole et Langage, CNRS – Université d'Aix-Marseille and Brian Ó Raghallaigh, Fiontar, DCU on the production and perception of initial consonant mutations in Irish. The first phase of this project was funded by ULYSSES. The second phase is being funded by the CNRS; we have also applied for further ULYSSES funding.
  • Collaboration with Pavel Iosad, University of Ulster, Jordanstown on the role of laryngeal contrasts in Irish.

Events Envisaged in Collaboration with the Humanities Institute:

We propose to carry out several activities under the broad theme Language in Ireland together with colleagues in linguistics. We will focus on three broad areas:

First, we will focus on the synchronic and diachronic nature and development of varieties of English spoken in Ireland, their role in constructing local, national and gendered identities and the development and critical assessment of corpus materials for research on Irish English. We are planning to organise a first workshop dealing with the issue of corpus materials in the Spring of 2013 in conjunction with colleagues form TCD. The aim is to explore possible avenues for long term collaboration and it is hoped that similar workshops dealing with different issues will take place at regular intervals.

Second, we will explore issues in relation to the synchronic development and the sociolinguistics of Irish, and the development of a corpus for contemporary spoken Irish. A conference dealing with topics in Irish linguistics — Teangeolaíocht na Gaeilge XV —will be held at UCD in April 2013 (Organiser: Máire Ní Chiosáin) and efforts are currently under way with colleagues from TCD and the CNRS Aix-en-Provence to develop corpus materials.

Third, we will examine topics in language and migration such as migrants’ acculturation to Irish ways of speaking English, patterns of language maintenance among migrants and the role of different languages in the construction of migrant identities. A first workshop is envisaged for late 2014.

As a way of raising awareness about issues of language in general and in Ireland in particular among students, we are also planning to organize a lecture series that will cross-cut the three broad themes.