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Modern Languages and Linguistics Research (UoA26)

Modern Languages and Linguistics Research (UoA26)

Who we are

Modern Languages and Linguistics at Newcastle is a dynamic, multicultural and multilingual community of 106 postgraduate students and 69 staff. We work collaboratively across three schools in the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences:

Our strategy

Our overarching ambition is to foster impactful, interdisciplinary work with global reach. It combines research that is both SHAPE- and STEM-oriented.

We aim to consolidate our established areas of academic excellence while investing in emerging fields of pioneering research.

Research themes

We have expertise in language families spanning the globe.

Researchers in Modern Languages explore topics including:

  • historical, philosophical, political and sociocultural studies
  • contemporary literature, theory and thought
  • visual cultures
  • translating and interpreting

Linguistics colleagues have expertise in:

  • applied, descriptive, developmental, formal and historical linguistics
  • language and cognition
  • language variation and change
  • speech and language therapy
  • speech sciences

Research activities

Between 2014-2020 our research has been funded by a diverse portfolio of awards totalling £6.2 million. We publish our innovative research in leading academic outlets to ensure wide dissemination.

Our configuration across three Schools makes us ideally placed to undertake interdisciplinary research. This orientation is key to our future sustainability.

We direct the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Colleagues play leading roles in other research clusters including:

Significant projects

Staff and postdoctoral fellows have undertaken funded research on diverse themes including:

Examples of current projects are:

  • Screening Violence - a transnational study of post-conflict imaginaries (AHRC)
  • CAIL - exploring information theory and interventions for individuals with language and communication disabilities (ESRC)
  • Language Development in Arabic-Speaking Children – narrowing the attainment gap for disadvantaged children in Egypt, Jordan, the West Bank and Lebanon (ESRC)
  • Voices – studying the acoustics of how individuals change their voices in context (BA)

The next generation

Our excellence and leadership in postgraduate research and training is evident. We have 4 Doctoral Training Partnerships:

  1. AHRC Northern Bridge
  2. Centre for Behaviour and Evolution (Leverhulme Trust)
  3. International Doctorate for Experimental Approaches to Language and Brain
  4. ESRC NINE

Our facilities

We have access to specialised equipment in major research facilities:

Open access resources

Colleagues have developed Open Access resources for academics, practitioners and the wider public. These include:

Creating impact

‘Languages in the Real World’ is a cross-cutting principle for us. Our beneficiaries are global and diverse. They include individuals and organisations in Australia, the EU, the UK, South Africa and South America.

We specialise in generating impacts linked to:

  1. Creativity, culture and society
  2. Learning, participation and understanding
  3. Environment, health, social welfare and well-being
  4. Public policy, law and services

Benefits are achieved by collaborating with impact partners locally, nationally, and internationally.

We are adept at communicating our research findings to new audiences. This often involves co-curating exhibitions with cultural industry partners:

REF 2021 impact case studies

Six impact case studies are included as part of our REF2021 submission. They exemplify the reach and significance that our Modern Languages and Linguistics research is having in the world.

  • Transforming children’s services to promote robust language development in young children
  • Transforming the clinical practice of Speech and Language Therapists nationally and internationally: Assessment of aphasia 
  • From home to here: Reconstructing perceptions of multilingual migrants in Northern Ireland’s education and heritage sectors
  • Re-orienting Holocaust education to the fate of children under the Nazis
  • Inclusion of critical gender and ethnicity perspectives in Peru’s education system
  • Making visible indigenous women’s work as agents for linguistic human rights in Peru

Equality, diversity, and inclusion

Our research and impact activity is grounded in our commitment to a collegiate and inclusive environment. The Irish proverb ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine ‘people live protected under one another’s shadow’ embodies our ethos.

Each of our Schools and REF2021 Impact Case Studies are led by women. Our Research Director/REF Coordinator is also female.

We are actively reviewing our staff and student recruitment processes. A key priority has been increasing the diversity of staff, including in senior leadership roles.

We developed a Language and Gender Inclusivity resource. It has embedded EDI across the University, through workshops and training modules.