Research Groups

The Modern Languages and Linguistics Unit conducts research on Irish & Celtic Studies, Linguistics, and Language and Heritage.

Research Groups

Research Groups

The Modern Languages and Linguistics Unit conducts research on Irish & Celtic Studies, Linguistics, and Language and Heritage.

Irish & Celtic Studies

The Research Institute is regarded as being at the forefront of Celtic Studies research internationally and the discipline has been at the heart of the University’s mission since its foundation. In REF 2014 100% of our research impact was assessed as internationally excellent or world-leading with 66% of our overall research profile judged to be in these highest categories.

Researchers at the Institute carry out individual research across the breadth of the discipline, in particular Early and Modern Irish Literature, Celtic Philology and Linguistics, Irish and European Ethnology and Folklore, Manuscript and Textual Studies and Revivalism.

The Research Institute regularly hosts international conferences in Irish and Celtic Studies and our researchers sit on a wide range of national and international bodies, edit a variety of scholarly journals and direct a number of international research networks including Societas Celtologica Nordica, Societas Celto-Slavica and the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore. The Institute hosts two annual conferences in Irish language and literature, Éigse Cholm Cille which takes place on the Magee Campus in early March and Éigse Loch Lao which is held on the Belfast Campus at the beginning of October.

The Institute is also a member of the AHRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Celtic Languages. Profiles of our current research students, including AHRC studentship holders, can be viewed here.


Linguistics at Ulster University is co-ordinated by Professor Raffaella Folli and spans a wide range of areas in the discipline. Particular strengths are in the areas of syntax, semantics, pragmatics, language acquisition, bilingualism, language processing, historical linguistics, discourse analysis and language planning.

Members of the unit have several on-going collaborations with colleagues in various institutions and centres of excellence in linguistic research in the UK, Europe, Australia and US.

The overarching objectives of research in linguistics are to produce internationally excellent and world-leading research that offers new insights in language, which are directly relevant both globally and to the immediate environment in which we exist. This includes core theoretical issues in linguistics, and their application to multilingualism, language variation and language status. This agenda has driven the group to establish UCoM, the Ulster Centre on Multilingualism, which aims to educate and inform the public on the benefits and advantages of bringing up children to be multilingual.

The group also organises a series of research seminars in language and linguistics which takes place on Friday afternoons. These are informal meetings which give the opportunity to staff, students and guests to discuss their ongoing research.

Languages and Heritage

Research in the area of Languages and Heritage focuses on the relationship between the state and minority groups – especially linguistic minorities. A focus has been in the area of language policy and planning for (and by) migrant communities. Other research work in the area includes Chinese language and cross-cultural communication as well as CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning).