PhD researcher Lauren Cassidy is looking for people over the age of 18 who speak Irish to participate in a study on language contact. All levels of Irish welcome. To contribute, please complete an anonymous online questionnaire which takes about 20 minutes.
Lauren, a PhD researcher at the ADAPT Centre in the School of Computing, DCU, is conducting exciting research on the Irish language. Supervised by Dr Teresa Lynn and Dr Jennifer Foster, Lauren is developing language technology for Irish, with a particular focus on Irish language tweets.
As a native of Dublin, Lauren became interested in the Irish language through her grandmother and cousins, who are fluent speakers. After studying Computer Science and Irish at Trinity College Dublin, Lauren worked as a web developer at TG4, a popular Irish language television channel.
Lauren’s current research is centered on the use of Irish language on social media, specifically Twitter. Speaking about her research Lauren explains: “When developing data-driven technology, the kind of data used is extremely important. The standardised Irish published in books and newspapers is very different from the informal Irish in tweets. One of the most obvious differences is the amount of English mixed into Irish social media text.”
Through her research, Lauren has come across many interesting cases of language-mixing, including the creation of new words like ‘meetáil’ and ‘sassyáilte’. This phenomenon is not surprising given the contact between English and Irish over hundreds of years. Lauren adds: “There are very few Irish speakers who don’t speak English, and so English creeps into the language.”
To gather data for her research, Lauren has launched an online survey. The survey is anonymous and welcomes all levels of Irish speakers. Participants are asked about their language background and are presented with words found in tweets, which they are asked to identify as Irish or English and whether or not they would use the word.
“We want to know whether the language seems to be evolving or deteriorating as a result of external influences,” says Lauren. “It is clear that the language is changing, so we want to understand that change.”
The results of the survey will contribute to Lauren‘s thesis and to a better understanding of how Irish is used online. “We need as many people as possible to fill out the questionnaire for the results to be significant, so we really appreciate people spreading the word!” says Lauren.
To take part in the survey, visit https://forms.gle/cvg4FLXKrQ9j2qGG6. If you have any questions, please contact: lauren[email protected]