Forbhreathnú Taighde

Bunaithe sa bhliain 1971 chun tacú le foghlaim teangacha san ollscoil, is é Lárionad na Gaeilge an t-ionad teanga ollscoile is fadbhunaithe in Éirinn agus ta sé ar cheann de na hionaid is fadbhunaithe san Eoraip. Dá bharr seo glacann Lárionad na Gaeilge​ spás ar leithligh in ardoideachas na hÉireann. Bíonn dlúthbhaint ag a obair thaighde le ceapadh beartais ar bhonn náisiúnta agus tá sainról aige i bhforbairt fhoghlaim na Gaeilge in Éirinn agus nó thar lear araon.
 
Baineann na ranna Gaeilge, Spáinnise, Fraincise, Gearmáinise agus Sínise tairbhe as tacaíocht Ionad na dTeangacha, a bhfuil saineolas náisiúnta aige i measúnú teanga, agus arb é an ball Éireannach é den Association of Language Testers in Europe.
 
Cur le hEolas Lucht Déanta Beartais ar Fhorbairt Teangacha in Éirinn

Tá baill an Ionaid gníomhach i dtaighde thar raon réimsí teanga praiticiúla agus teoiriciúla. Thug an tIonad faoi staidéar le gairid, a ndearna an Roinn Oideachais agus Scileanna coimisiúnú air, a rinne measúnú ar thionchar Shiollabas nua Gaeilge na hArdteistiméireachta ar scileanna cumarsáide Gaeilge i measc iarrthóirí Ardleibhéal Ardteistiméireachta i bhfianaise an athbhreithniú siollabais a tharla le déanaí. Léigh an tuairisc iomlan anseo.  
 
Chomhoibrigh an tIonad go dlúth le Roinn na Síceolaíochta chun tionchar coláistí Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht a scrúdú, chomh maith le measúnú a dhéanamh ar thorthaí acadúla na mac léinn a bhfuil am caite acu i gceantair Ghaeltachta. Léigh an tuairisc iomlán anseo.  
 
Tá baint ag baill an Ionaid le hacmhainn ar líne d’fhoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge a fhorbairt, a bhfuil i gceist leis cleachtaí tuisceana a dhéanamh de thuairiscí Nuacht TG4, laistigh d’uaireanta dá gcraoladh. Tugtar timpeall 41,000 cuairt ar an tseirbhís go bliantúil. Tuilleadh eolais faoi Vifax anseo.
 
Mar aitheantas ar an sárobair agus an nuálaíocht atá bainte amach aige i dteagasc teangacha, tá an Séala Eorpach Teanga buaite ag an Ionad faoi thrí.
 
Ceannairí Domhanda i dTástáil Teanga
 
Díríonn príomhréimse taighde an Ionaid ar bhunús eolaíoch d’fhorbairt agus do riaradh tástálacha teanga a chruthú. Riarann an tIonad scrúduithe Gaeilge Theastas Eorpach na Gaeilge i gceithre ionad déag in Éirinn agus ar fud an domhain, agus i measc na n-ionad sin tá Páras, Prág, Nua Eabhrac agus Ottawa. Soláthraíonn na tástálacha, a thionóltar ag an am céanna gach Aibreán agus Bealtaine, caighdeán comónta dóibh siúd a bhfuil Gaeilge á foghlaim acu ar fud na cruinne. Déanann timpeall 1200 duine scrúduithe TEG gach bliain. Tá os cionn 100 foras a bhfuil an Ghaeilge á teagasc iontu sna Stáit Aontaithe amháin agus siollabais TEG á leanúint ag cuid mhór de na heagraíochtaí seo.
 
Tá obair Lárionad na Gaeilge​ ag teacht leis an bhFráma Tagartha Comónta Eorpach do Theangacha (FTCE), le comparáid a dhéanamh idir leibhéil atá bainte amach sa Ghaeilge agus teangacha Eorpacha eile. San Eoraip inniu, déantar cur síos ar leibhéil chumas teanga de réir leibhéal an FTCE den chuid is mó. Bhí moill ar Éirinn glacadh leis an gcleachtas seo go dtí le déanaí, ach táthar ag teacht suas leis de réir a chéile.
 
Taighde Corpais
 
Úsáidtear corpais foghlaimeora le hanailís chórasach agus eolaíoch a dhéanamh ar idirtheanga foghlaimeoirí d’fhonn léargas níos fearr a fháil ar na riachtanais atá acu. Is ar anailís den chineál seo a bhunaítear an-chuid de shiollabais, de chúrsaí agus d’acmhainní teagaisc na mórtheangacha sa lá atá inniu ann. Is beag anailís den chineál seo atá déanta ar theanga fhoghlaimeoirí na Gaeilge go dtí seo. Toisc gurb iad mic léinn tríú leibhéal na Gaeilge an chéad ghlúin eile múinteoirí, iriseoirí, aistritheoirí, srl., tá tábhacht faoi leith ag baint leis an gcineál teanga atá acu agus tionchar mór aige sin ar chaighdeán na Gaeilge a úsáidtear i ngach ceann de na réimsí sin. Is mar gheall air seo ar fad atá Lárionad na Gaeilge​ ag cur tús le tionscnamh corpas foghlaimeora le mionanailís a dhéanamh ar idirtheanga mhic léinn tríú leibhéal na Gaeilge sa lá atá inniu ann le súil is go mbeifí in ann cúrsaí agus acmhainní foghlama a chur ar fáil dóibh le dul i ngleic leis na deacrachtaí a bhíonn acu agus le freastal níos fearr a dhéanamh ar a gcuid sainriachtanas teanga.
 
‘English Is Not Enough’
 
Tá saineolas suntasach ag an Ionad i réimse an ilteangachais agus tá obair déanta aige ar mhapáil éagsúlú teangacha in Éirinn le roinnt blianta anuas, agus tá suirbhé ar na nuatheangacha atá a labhairt in Éirinn curtha ar fáil aige, a bhfuil úsáid á baint as go minic fós i ndioscúrsa sna meáin chumarsáide, i dtaighde agus i gceapadh beartais sa réimse.
 
Bhí an tIonad mar óstach don chomhdháil a bhí ann le gairid a raibh ‘English is not enough’ mar theideal uirthi, áit ar phléigh lucht acadúil teangacha agus baill eile de lucht gnó na hÉireann an t-easnamh teangacha iasachta atá in Éirinn. Tá Éire agus an Ríocht Aontaithe ar gcúl i gcumas teangacha iasachta, agus tá an t-uafás oibre déanta san Ionad chun féachaint ar na cúiseanna atá leis seo agus an bealach ar cheart aghaidh a thabhairt air.

Research Overview

Established in 1971 to support language learning in the university, as the first Language Centre in Ireland and one of the first in Europe, Maynooth University Centre for Irish Language occupies a unique space in Irish higher education. Its research work feeds into national policy making and has played a defining role in the development of Irish language learning both in Ireland and abroad.

The Department of Irish is supported by the Centre for Irish Language, which has national expertise in language assessment and is the Irish member of the Association of Language Testers in Europe.

Informing Policymakers on the Development of Languages in Ireland

Members at the Centre for Irish Language are engaged in research across a range of practical and theoretical language areas. A recent study commissioned by the Department of Education and Skills tasked the Centre with assessing the impact of the new Leaving Certificate Irish Syllabus on levels of Irish communication skills among Leaving Certificate Higher level candidates in light of the recent syllabus reforms. Read the full reports here and here

The Centre for Irish has worked closely with the Department of Psychology to examine the impact of Irish colleges in the Gaeltacht, as well as assessing the academic outcomes of students who have spent time on these courses. Read the report here.  

Members have also been involved in the development of an online resource for learners of Irish which involves converting material from TG4 news reports into comprehension exercises within hours of broadcast. The service receives approximately 41,000 visits annually. See more on Vifax here.

In recognition of its excellence and innovation in language teaching, the Centre is a three time winner of the European Language Label.​

World Leaders in Language Assessment

The main area of research at the Centre for Irish Language focuses on creating a scientific foundation for the development and administration of language tests. The Centre administers its Irish language Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge examinations in fourteen locations in Ireland and around the world, including Paris, Prague, New York and Ottawa. The tests, which are held at the same time each April and May, provide a common standard for learners of Irish around the globe. Approximately 1200 candidates a year take the TEG examinations. There are over 100 establishments teaching Irish in the US alone and many of these base their tuition on TEG levels.

The work of the Centre for Irish on syllabus development and testing is broadly based on the levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), to allow for comparison between levels achieved in Irish and other European languages. In Europe today, levels of language ability are almost always described in terms of the CEFR levels. 

Corpus-based research

Learner corpora are used to systematically analyse learners' interlanguage in order to get a clearer picture of their learning requirements. This approach is increasingly being used to inform the development of syllabuses, language courses and teaching materials in English and other major languages. Little analysis of this type has been done of the interlanguage of Irish-language learners.  The level of linguistic competence attained by university students of Irish is of particular importance, as it will have a direct influence on the standards maintained in Irish-language teaching, journalism, translation and other fields in which these students may work in the future. The Centre for Irish is therefore conducting a learner corpus project to analyse the interlanguage of current university students of Irish with a view to providing them with courses and resources which target their specific areas of difficulty and to better provide for their learning requirements.

‘English Is Not Enough’

The Centre for Irish Language has significant expertise in the field of multilingualism, and has worked to map the diversification of languages in Ireland in recent decades, producing a survey of modern languages spoken in Ireland that is still frequently used in media discourse, research  and policy making in the area.

The Centre for Irish Language hosted the recent conference entitled ‘English is not enough’ where language academics and other members of Ireland’s business community discussed Ireland’s foreign languages deficit. Ireland and the UK are European underperformers in the area of foreign language competence and much work has been done at the Centre to examine why this is and how it should be addressed.