Assistant Editor, electronic DICTIONARY OF THE IRISH LANGUAGE (eDIL)
The Institute for Irish and Celtic Studies has been awarded £293,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Board to digitise the Royal Irish Academy’s Contributions to a Dictionary of the Irish Language. The Project, which is being directed by Dr Gregory Toner, a senior lecturer in Irish in the Institute, will result in the publication of the Dictionary on CD-ROM.
The digitisation project has been widely welcomed by scholars of Irish and Celtic. The diverse range of spelling and the complex verbal systems of Old and Middle Irish present particular difficulties for researchers trying to locate uncommon words or forms in the paper-based Dictionary, so that much of its potential value remains inaccessible. The difficulties of coping with these variations often present a formidable barrier to scholars working in other disciplines such as history, archaeology and comparative literature. The electronic version of the Dictionary will surmount many of these difficulties as its entire contents, including words appearing in citations but not under headwords, can be searched, either for exact matches or for close equivalents. It will also help editors to identify damaged or incomplete words in some texts, and to find other examples of words used in certain contexts or phrases.
The electronic edition will also open up new areas for linguistic and lexicographical research. Scholars will be able to examine questions of style, lexicon and grammar at different periods or in different types of texts by confining their searches to specific, dateable texts. Borrowings from other languages such as Norse, Anglo-Saxon, French and Latin can be analysed. The digitised dictionary will also provide a platform for further related developments, such as the production of digitised editions that are referenced to the digital dictionary.
eDIL staff are involved in a collaborative project (Linking Dictionaries and Texts) with CELT, which is based in University College Cork. The aim of the LDT project is to link eDIL to CELT’s corpus of on-line texts so that users of eDIL will be able to view in full on the internet texts cited in DIL. This link-up will enable any researcher anywhere in the world to rapidly check the complete context of citations without leaving their desk. Many of the texts cited in DIL are already available on the CELT website, but a major task for the LDT Project will be to capture and publish those texts not already on the site. This project is being funded by Strand 1 of the North-South Programme for Collaborative Research and employs one full-time member of staff, Dr Caoimhín Ó Dónaill.
The digitisation project is running in parallel with PACDIL (Published Additions and Corrections to the Dictionary of the Irish Language), a collaborative project involving the Institute for Irish and Celtic Studies at the University of Ulster, the Royal Irish Academy, Murdoch University (Australia), and the Brennos Institute (Austria). This new initiative, which is hosted on a University of Ulster server, uses an on-line database to gather published additions and corrections to the Dictionary of the Irish Language from established academics. It currently allows on-line searches, but it is envisaged that it will lead to the publication of a supplement to the Dictionary. The Project must also be viewed in the context of the electronic corpus of Irish texts (CELT) currently being compiled in University College, Cork, and the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of Medieval Latin from Celtic Sources (DMLCS) which is presently leading the field in Europe in developing an electronic dictionary of Medieval Latin.
The person appointed will be a member of the Institute for Irish and Celtic Studies and the School of Languages and Literature, and will carry out research in collaboration with Dr Maxim Fomin under the direction of Dr Gregory Toner. The post will be tenable for fifteen months.
The duties of the posts include:
editing, mark-up and quality control of digitised text
preparation of the digitised text for publication
publicisation of the work of the Project and attendance at conferences/training events
research in lexicography/digitisation as appropriate
The appointee will collaborate with existing staff in tagging discrete elements in the text using XML (extensible mark-up language) and in quality assuring and editing the final product. Training will be provided in XML if necessary.
RESEARCH IN CELTIC STUDIES
Research in Irish and Celtic Studies at the University of Ulster is carried out by members of the Institute for Irish and Celtic Studies. The most recent UK Research Assessment Exercise awarded the Institute a 5* rating, the highest grade achievable, indicating that the research output of the Institute is of international standing.
The main objective of the Institute is to foster and develop a vibrant research culture and ethos in all aspects of its work. This is reflected in the variety of high-quality publications by members of the group, and in the successful number of research degrees awarded.
Members of staff in Irish and Celtic Studies conduct both individual and collaborative research. Individual research falls into two main areas: historical and synchronic linguistics, and literary history including modern literature. Specialisms include medieval literature, the syntax and semantics of the verb in Irish, lexicography, placename research, minority language research, dialectology, bardic poetry, applied modern Irish language studies (grammar, stylistics, language and computers), 18th and 19th century Irish literature with particular reference to Ulster and modern Irish literature.
The Insititute has generated funding in the region of £500,000 in recent years. The grants received to date have been in the field of lexicography, minority languages, applied modern Irish language studies and the Ulster Corpus of Written and Spoken Irish. The Institute was also a major partner in the establishment of the Academy of Irish Cultural Heritages based on the Magee campus.
Other Research Projects
The Institute for Irish and Celtic Studies has been conducting research in Irish lexicography for a number of years. The Institute works in close collaboration with HarperCollins International (Bilingual Dictionaries) who have published two Irish dictionaries edited by two members of the Institute, Professor Séamus Mac Mathúna and Dr. Ailbhe Ó Corráin (sub-editor Dr. P. Ó Mianáin). Since their publication, these dictionaries – Collins GEM Irish Dictionary and Collins POCKET Irish Dictionary - have sold in excess of 100,000 copies worldwide. The editors have now embarked on the production of a much larger English-Irish/Irish-English dictionary using the Concise Framework of the HarperCollins range. It employs a full-time researcher, Marcas Mac Coinnigh, who is based on the Coleraine campus.
The Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages
The Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages, is among the leading Irish cultural research centres in the world. It provides a collaborative, multi-disciplinary research environment that draws upon the University of Ulster's scholarship and research expertise in History, Celtic Studies, English, Cultural Geography and History.
The Academy is unique in the depth and scope of its scholarship and research into cultural studies related to Ireland and the Irish Diaspora. This Academy is dedicated to understanding cultural diversity in Ireland, and promoting representations of plurality and hybridity. The Academy's title uses 'Irish' as a geographical description, not as a cultural marker. It is consciously plural, reflecting a commitment to researching all the peoples of the island of Ireland.
The Faculty of Arts
There are four Schools in the Faculty: Languages & Literature; Media Studies & Performing Arts; History, Philosophy & Politics; and Art and Design.
Irish Studies is an integrated, interdisciplinary course leading to an honours degree. Other such courses in the Faculty include Applied Languages (Coleraine), International Business Communication (Magee College), Media Studies (Coleraine), Theatre Studies (Magee), Peace and Conflict Studies (Magee College), and Irish History and Politics (Magee College).
Irish is also available as a component of the various combined courses at Coleraine. Other subjects include English, Environmental Studies, European Studies, French, German, History, Media Studies, and Psychology.
There is a total of 13 staff in Irish including 8 full-time lecturers, a writer-in-residence and four researchers. A variety of courses are offered on different campuses. There are currently approximately 100 students taking courses in Irish on the Coleraine campus.
The BA Honours in Irish Studies is a three-year full-time course comprising compulsory modules of study in all periods of Irish Language and Literature, including Early and Medieval Irish, Classical Irish, the Irish of the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish Folklore and Modern Irish Language and Literature. It also includes obligatory modules in Irish history and Anglo-Irish literature. The degree contains annual compulsory courses in an Irish-speaking area.
The BA Honours in Irish Language and Literature expands students’ exposure to Irish language and literature. It includes modules in Critical Skills in Irish Literature and Scottish Gaelic Language and Literature.
The Diploma in Irish Language (Coleraine, Magee and Belfast campuses) is an ab initio course in the language. As well as serving as a pathway for entry to the BA Hons., the course is also a free-standing course in its own right.