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News and Events

Languages Graduate named in Forbes List of 30 under 30 (Games)    

Congratulations to Christopher Floyd who has been named in the 2016 Forbes List of 30 under 30 (Games).  Christopher was one of our graduates in French in 2010 and his inclusion on the list indicates recognition that he is one of the brightest young stars and future leaders in his field.   Christopher is co-founder of Indie MEGABOOTH which helps showcase the work of independent game developers at game conventions around the world.  You never know where a Queen's degree in languages will take you!

Please click here for more details.

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eDIL Website Receives Almost One Million Page Downloads                  

The electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language (eDIL), hosted by the School of Modern Languages, has received nearly one million page downloads and attracted over 40,000 unique visitors in the last year. The Dictionary, which charts the history of the Irish language from the 7th to the 17th century, received a facelift and a new search engine in November 2015. The original Dictionary took over 100 years to compile.

A team of researchers at Queen’s and Cambridge, led by Prof. Greg Toner with funding from the AHRC, is currently collecting new material for inclusion in the Dictionary using texts and editions that were not available to the original compilers. This will result in a significantly expanded and revised version of the Dictionary which is due for publication in 2019.

The Dictionary is one of the most significant resources for the study of medieval Irish language and literature and the new site is now attracting around 125,000 hits per month from users in countries as far afield as the US, Russia, Japan and South Korea.

You can follow the progress of the team’s work and gain insights into the contents of the Dictionary by following Word of the Week at

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Launch of eDIL (Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language)

The new eDIL (electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language) website launched in November 2015. The new site, which can be viewed at, has a more contemporary look than the previous version as well as improved search functionality and additional features such as mobile-friendly design and a 'Word of the Week' programme, which highlights interesting, topical and unusual phrases hidden within the dictionary. 

Photo by Mal McCann


To coincide with the launch, Professor Gregory Toner (Principal Investigator of the eDIL Project) and Professor Máire Ní Mhaonaigh (Co-Investigator) demonstrated the interface and search engine at the Tionól of the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies and the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, University of Cambridge. On both occasions, the new site was enthusiastically welcomed and many positive comments were left on the eDIL Project's social media sites, including: 

 'Tá an foclóir nua go hálainn ar fad! Comhghairdeas!'
'Ar cheann desna rudai is suntasai dar deineadh riomh ar son na Gaeilge'
'eDIL Electronic Dictionary of the Irish Language is now live - and it's pretty amazing'
'Has always been a great tool but this is a level better ... Nice & clean even on the small screen of my phone'


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The School of Modern Languages celebrates Mexico-UK dual year 2015    

On 28th October, the School of Modern Languages and the Ulster Museum organised a lively cultural evening, ‘Celebrating Mexico Connections’, as part of the Mexico-UK Dual Year and the Belfast International Arts Festival, ( ). Focussing on the ancient Codex Tepotzotlan held in the collections of the Ulster Museum, the evening also formed a session in the symposium organised by Dr Elizabeth Baquedano (University College London) and Dr Fiona Clark (QUB) on ‘Ancient Mexican books in UK collections’ ( The activities were supported by the Mexican Embassy in the UK, which also celebrated the opening of a new Honorary Mexican Consulate in Belfast.  ‘Celebrating Mexico Connections’ highlighted the linguistic, cultural, and industrial ties between the countries and the importance of understanding communication between societies.  Staff and students from the University as well the wider public and Mexican nationals living in or near Belfast were in attendance, and festivities were supported by Bushmills Distillery (now part of the José Cuervo group) and music  from Mariachi San Patricio.

Photo: Mr Miceal McCoy (Chair of NMNI), Mr William Blair (Head of Human History, NMNI), Dr Fiona Clark (School of Modern Languages), Mr Diego Gómez Pickering (Mexican Ambassador to the UK)

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National Language Policy Workshop, University of Cambridge, 30 October 2015

Micheal O'Mainnin Placenames Photo

Prof Mícheál Ó Mainnín took part in a workshop on language policy across the UK in the University of Cambridge on 30 October 2015. The workshop was chaired by Baroness Jean Coussins, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, and there were contributions from academics, policy experts and civil servants from a variety of governmental departments and other bodies from all four regions of the UK. Prof. Ó Mainnín was speaking on the topic of language policy in Northern Ireland with particular reference to Irish and Ulster-Scots.

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Modern Languages Accelerate Up Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016 rankings

The School is delighted for staff, students and alumni to see that ALL our languages have moved up the Good University Guide 2016 rankings.

French: Moved up to 2nd in the UK‌‌
Irish: Moved up to 4th in the UK
Spanish and Portuguese: Moved up to 5th in the UK



This has been a fantastic year for the School with the recent NSS survey showing 98% student satisfaction and the REF placing us 3rd in the UK for research intensity.


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eDIL Project Welcomes New Member of Staff

The eDIL team would like to extend a very warm welcome to Dr Xiwu Han, who has joined our sister-project on 'Lexical Dating of Medieval Irish Texts' as a Computational Linguist. Previously, he worked at the University of Aberdeen on projects relevant to Natural Language Generation, Social Media Analysis and Information mining. His research interest includes Computational Linguistics, Machine Learning and General Linguistics.

The 'Lexical Dating' project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and based at Queen's University, Belfast, under the direction of Prof. Greg Toner (who also leads the eDIL project). This new project will use IT to analyse the vocabularies of a wide range of medieval Irish texts and chart the changing profile of the wider lexicon. It is hoped that researchers will then be able to use these profiles to date individual texts. Until now, vocabulary has been used only to a limited extent in dating texts; the most commonly used method of dating is to examine grammatical changes. This project will develop a potentially fresh set of dating criteria and has potential applications in all medieval and ancient literatures, including in Biblical Studies, which currently rely on linguistic dating.

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Dalhousie French Lecture Series

Dr Dominique Jeannerod (French Studies) gave a talk on Friday September 25, 2015 in Halifax (Canada): « San-Antonio dépaysé: étrangers et étrangetés d’une série populaire française », as part of Dalhousie French Lecture Series.

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Remapping Brazilian Cultural Studies

Dr Tori Holmes, Lecturer in Brazilian Studies in the School of Modern Languages at Queen's, is organising a conference in London this coming Friday, 25 September 2015, together with Dr Sara Brandellero (Leiden University) and Dr Stephanie Dennison (University of Leeds). It will take place at Senate House, University of London, and is supported by the Institute of Latin American Studies.

The purpose of the conference on 'Remapping Brazilian Cultural Studies' is to provide a space for scholars working in the UK and mainland Europe to present cutting-edge research on cultural studies/cultural analysis in the Brazilian context and, in particular, to reflect on the current direction the research area is taking in the UK/Europe. It will also serve as the launch and first meeting of a new Brazilian cultural analysis research network, REBRAC (Rede Europeia de Brasilianistas de Análise Cultural).

The programme is available at:

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Success in the Undergraduate Awards


‌Once again the School of Modern Languages is delighted to announce that three of our students have been Highly Commended in two separate categories in the Undergraduate awards 2015. 



Erin McCombe was highly commended in the Languages and Linguistics category  for her  submission  "Mia Couto describes the project of moçambicanidade as follows: “há este mosaico, não tanto de raças, mas de culturas, das culturas que estão a marcar parte de uma coisa que é ainda só um projecto: a moçambicanidade.” Discuss the problemization of the concept of moçambicanidade in the short-story O embondeiro que sonhava passaros.'

Rebekah Hamilton's 'Tired Eyes: An adaptation of three poems by Francisco de Quevedo' was highly commended in the category 'Literature pre-1710'. 

Tracy O'Connor, also in the category 'Literature  pre-1710' was highly commended for the submission 'Explore the relationship between the literary climate of early Modern Spain and peripheral writing subjects in Spanish America, with reference to a relevant text or texts,'

The Undergraduate awards reviewed 5,117 submissions from students in 255 universities across 39 countries. Our students have been placed in the top 10% of all submissions in their respective categories and we are exceptionally proud of them. 

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Celebrating Mexico Connections

As part of Mexico-UK dual year in 2015,  this event highlights the historic connections between Belfast and Mexico, focusing on the remarkable Codex Tepotzotlán in the Ulster Museum’s collection. The codex is a sixteenth century manuscript, which offers a powerful insight into the formation of the written word amidst the encounters of cultures at that turbulent time.

The evening will include a lecture by  renowned archaeologist Dr Elizabeth Baquedano (University College London), with contributions also from the Ulster Museum and the School of Modern  Languages at Queen’s University Belfast.

Supported by the Mexican Embassy, National Museums Northern Ireland, and the School  of Modern Languages, Queen’s University.

Admission free by ticket only via the Ulster Museum or tel T: 028 9044 0000

For more information please click on the link below:

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Top NSS ratings for Queen’s Modern Languages

The School of Modern Languages has been given top ratings by our final year students who took part in the National Student Survey (NSS) earlier this year.

The overall student satisfaction with courses in the School of Modern Languages was 98%, placing the School in the top flight nationally.

The languages in the School which meet the publication threshold for NSS saw overall satisfaction rise again this year:Photograph of Students Walking Out of the Quad

French                                   98% overall satisfaction (4th in UK)

Irish                                       100% overall satisfaction (Joint 1st in UK)

Spanish & Portuguese            97% overall satisfaction (4th in UK)

The School as a whole received very high feedback from students on key areas of teaching and learning:  

  • 98% of students agreed that staff explained things clearly
  • 98% agreed that staff made the subject interesting
  • 96% agreed that staff were enthusiastic about what they are teaching
  • 96% agreed that the course is intellectually stimulating
  • 89% agreed that detailed feedback had been given on written work
  • 95% agreed that the library resources and services were good enough for their needs
  • 100% agreed that they could access general IT resources when needed

Many thanks to all our students who took the time to complete the survey earlier this year!

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‌Modern Languages Prize Giving Ceremony

Foundation Award Winners 2015


‌The School of Modern Languages was delighted to host a Prize Giving Ceremony for students, parents, sponsors and teachers on 6 July 2015.  The Sc‌hool ceremony celebrated successes across all levels including some of the students who had just graduated that morning.  There was a range of prizes including Certificates of Recognition for Student Ambassadors who support the School in a variety of events throughout the year.  We would like to thank all our sponsors including Santander for their continued support. 


Pictured are the winners of the University Fomdation Awards with lecturers from the School.   


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Interpreting and Translation Postgraduate Degrees (translated into Chinese)

Please click here for information on our postgraduate programmes in Interpreting and Translation translated into Chinese.

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Leverhulme Trust Research Success

Professor Greg Toner has won a £230k award from the Leverhulme Trust to investigate new methods for dating ancient and medieval texts similar to those already in use for carbon-14 dating in archaeology. Many pre-Modern documents, including biblical texts, are anonymous and so are commonly dated primarily on linguistic grounds. Vocabulary items are particularly suitable for this task as the words we use change over time, sometimes quite rapidly, but previous attempts have been restricted to very small numbers of words with a resulting large margin of error. This new method will harness the power of computers and Bayesian statistics to analyse all significant items of vocabulary in a range of medieval Irish texts and attempt to establish their relative chronology. This method will produce the first dating of Irish texts based on objective, statistical data and has potential applications in all medieval and ancient literatures which currently rely on linguistic dating. The project will last 3 years and employ a full-time post-doctoral research assistant and two Ph.D. students.

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Congratulations to one of our Translation Research Students

The School is delighted that one of our postgraduate research students, Ahmed Altuhaini, recently won the Excellence‌ in Presentation Award 

at the Saudi Students Conference at Imperial College London, UK.  His presentation was entitled “Examining the Satisfaction Level of Saudi Professional Translators and Translation Agencies with the Quality of Saudi Translator Training Programmes”.  It was delivered in the Saudi Students Conference-UK 31st Jan to 1st Feb 2015 in London (Imperial College).

Ahmed is a second year Translation Studies PhD student at the School. His research focuses on Translator Training and exploring ways of “Bridging the Gap between Translation Training Programs and the Needs of University Translation Students and the Job Market”.  With over 15 years of professional experience, he has worked in translation and interpreting, translator training, linguistics, language training, public relations, TV & Radio news editing and reading, media training, survey research work and audience research. 

Ahmed also won a Santander Mobility Award twice (2014 and in 2015).

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EU HORIZON 2020 FUNDING: Two Marie SkLodowska individual fellowships

The School is delighted to announce that Profs Isabel Torres and Janice Carruthers have been awarded Marie Sklodowska Individual Fellowships.

Isabel’s project is entitled ‘Towards a new framework for reception:  Góngora’s poetics, ‘new’ readers and the material world”. Her postdoctoral Research Fellow will be Dr. Jaime Galbarro García, PhD Universidad de Sevilla, currently PDRA Paris, SorbonneUniversity.  

Janice’s project is entitled ‘Narration, linguistic expression and discourse structure. Explorations of orality in Occitan and French’. Her postdoctoral Research Fellow will be Dr Marianne Vergez-Couret from Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès, where she completed her PhD and currently holds a postdoctoral position.  

Each Fellowship will bring in around 190,000 euros in research income. We look forward to welcoming the Research Fellows to the School! 

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Queen's Modern Languages 3rd in UK

Modern Languages at Queen's was placed 3rd in the UK on research intensity, behind the Linguistics department in Edinburgh and Modern Languages in Cambridge (please click here and scroll down to UOA 28, Modern Languages and Linguistics).

We are also in the top 5 Modern Languages units in the UK measured by overall score (called GPA or grade point average) and measured by Impact (please click here and scroll down to UOA 28, Modern Languages and Linguistics).

Within Queen's, we were one of the top 2 units in the University alongside Agriculture and Food Science, please click here.

85% of our research was classified as 'world class' (40%) or 'internationally excellent' (45%) - a wonderful achievement by all our staff.



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Queen's Scholars Success

Queen's Scholars Photo January 2015We are delighted that two of the ten Queen’s Scholars for 2014-15 are affiliated with the School of Modern Languages. Jordan McCullough is a first year student of French and Spanish, and Aoife McQuaid is studying Law and French.

These are prestigious and highly competitive awards. Schools and colleges were asked to nominate those pupils who could demonstrate exceptional achievements outside academic life, whether in sport, music and the arts, business and enterprise or through community work, with a particular focus on leadership, enterprise and social responsibility. Prior to the winners being announced, a shortlist of 68 pupils attended a selection day at Queen’s where they were assessed on a range of competencies by business leaders.

As Queen’s Scholars Jordan and Aoife will have their annual tuition fees paid by Queen’s for the duration of their undergraduate degree.  Jordan was a pupil at Carrickfergus Grammar School and Aoife at Our Lady’s Grammar School, Newry.

They are pictured here at the awards ceremony with Dr Maeve McCusker, School of Modern Languages, Queen's University Belfast.

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Multiple Accolades for Student of Portuguese

Tracy O'Connor, who graduated with a first-class degree in Spanish and Portuguese from the School of Modern Languages in July 2014, has recently accumulated an impressive range of prizes and funding. This September, she began the MA in Languages in the School, as the holder of the School's Musgrave Scholarship, awarded to the strongest applicant to the MA in Languages. In her MA studies, Tracy is continuing her keen interest in the Lusophone world, taking modules on Brazilian audiovisual, and literature and film from Portuguese-speaking Africa, as well as others in Spanish.

During her MA studies, Tracy will travel to Brazil to undertake a short study visit at the University of São Paulo. This is supported through the Santander Universities Brazil Travel Bursary for outstanding performance in level 3 Portuguese Studies, which was awarded to Tracy at the School Prize-Giving in July 2014.

Tracy has also received national prizes for her achievements in Lusophone Studies. She is this year's winner of the Anglo-Portuguese Society Ann Waterfall Award 2014, which is a national award for the best final-year student of Portuguese at a UK university, given jointly by the Portuguese Embassy and the Anglo-Portuguese Society. Tracy will attend an event organised by the Society in London on 4 November 2014, at which she will be presented with the Award, including a cheque for £1000.

Last but not least, Tracy was recently announced as the Island of Ireland winner in the Languages and Linguistics category of the 2014 Undergraduate Awards, for her paper on the poetry of East Timorese poet Borja da Costa.

The School congratulates Tracy on her many achievements and is delighted to see a graduate of its growing programme in Portuguese setting such an inspiring example!

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The School of Modern Languages is delighted with its results for the Postgraduate Taught Experience survey for 2013/14.   We scored highly across a wide range of categories including Quality of Teaching and Learning and Resources and Services with an overall satisfaction percentage of 90%.  We would like to thank our pgt students for taking the time to complete the survey and we wish them every success in their future employment and/or PhD study.

The School offers courses in:

MA Irish Translation
MA Languages
MA Interpreting
MA Translation

If you would like to find out more about joining our thriving postgraduate community please click here.


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Success in Global Undergraduate Awards

Students from 27 countries apply for these prestigious awards and only fifteen were shortlisted in the Languages and Linguistics Highly Commended section.  The School is delighted to announce that three of them are students in this School; Rory Grugan, Kieran Lambe and Tracy O'Connor. 

Becoming a winner, or even highly commended, means students are in the top of their field. The Undergraduate Awards identifies and recognises the most creative and nuanced arguments and ideas coming out at undergraduate level internationally. The overall winners will be published in thteir annual academic journal.  For more information please click here.

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FeileImageAHRC ‘Translating Cultures’ Grant Award

Prof. Margaret Topping has been awarded an AHRC grant to the value of £200K with Dr Michael Pierse, Research Fellow in the ICRH. The project is entitled: ‘From Dark Tourism to Phoenix Tourism: The Ethics of Cultural Translation in Urban Festivals’ and will run from September 2014 to September 2016. Other colleagues in the School - Dr Sarah Bowskill and Dr Charlie Dillon – will contribute to the project through its Advisory Board.

The project responds to the AHRC’s strategic question for the Translating Cultures scheme of how ‘translation may be seen to be constitutive of cultures in their formation, projection and transformation’. Its particular focus is on the role and impact of the urban cultural festival in facilitating the transition from ‘dark tourism’ to ‘phoenix tourism’ in a post-conflict society where translation is contested in various ways. Festivals are posited as the ethically charged mediators or ‘translators’ of cultures, ideas and ideologies, the transformative potential of which this project seeks to evaluate.

The project will take as its initial focus the West Belfast Festival, Féile an Phobail (, as a springboard to a comparative analysis of the global ‘festivalisation’ of culture in post-colonial and/or post-conflict societies.

To be added to our mailing list for the project, please contact Margaret or Michael at /

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Congratulations to our "Santander Student Mobility" Award Winners‌

The School of Modern Languages is delighted to announce that EIGHT of our students were successful in the recent Santander Student Mobility Awards competition.  The awards range from £2,000 to £5,000 per student and the funding will be used to support students' research and educational activities in European and Brazilian universities. 

Photo: Stéphanie Brown, Andy Long, Fernanda Verçosa, Ahmed Altuhaini, Sharon Black, Michelle O’Loughlin and Sally Gillespie from the School of Modern Languages at the recent awards ceremony in the Students' Union.

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Student Nominated Teaching Award    

Steven Wilson Photo June 2014The School of Modern Languages is delighted to announce that Dr Steven Wilson, Lecturer in French has won a Queen's Teaching Award in the student-nominated category.

The panel agreed that:

Dr Wilson has developed a range of strategies for involving students in their own learning and developing critical thinking and transferable skills. He has a reflective approach to teaching and incorporates ideas from continuing professional development activities into his practice. In their nominating statement, his students noted that, “Steven is enthusiastic and very well organised, no matter what the subject matter is, and his passion within his classes has inspired many students to want to achieve their potential and go beyond their own personal expectations.”


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International Students

The School of Modern Languages welcomes students from all countries to our taught and research programmes.  However, our postgraduate programmes in Translation and Interpreting have been particularly popular with international students in recent years.  Queen's is deligthed to announce more than £1 million of International Scholarships and you can find out more by clicking here

Please click on the video below to hear about their experiences at Queen's University Belfast

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‌Green Awards

The School of Modern of Languages was delighted to recieve its environmental Silver Award at the recent Queen's Green‌ Awards. The School was especially pleased that our Student Helper, Sarah McCloskey, won the “Green Impact Student Leadership Award” and we thank Sarah for all her hard work.

Our Environmental Champion, Dr Marcas MacCoinnigh led the Languages team and we plan to go for Gold next year.  You can see our current environmental activities by clicking here.


School Environmental Champion, Dr Marcas Mac Coinnigh receiving his award from James O'Kane, University Registrar.

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Pierre Lemaître winner of the C.W.A. International Dagger and of the Goncourt Prize 2013Pierre Lemaitre Photo

The School of Modern Languages, No Alibis Bookstore and the International Crime Fiction ICRH  research group are delighted to‌ present a reading and an interview with the renowned crime fiction writer Pierre Lemaitre at the Crescent Arts Centre.

Friday 30 May 2014, 7 pm
Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

Refreshments provided.  All welcome.  For further information click Pierre Poster.

Enquiries to Dominique Jeannerod

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1st Queen's French Literary Festival                  

The School of Modern Languages would like to thank everyone who participated in the 1st Queen's French Literary Festival in May 2014.  ‌The two-day event featured a variety of activities and workshops for Queen's undergraduate and postgraduate students, and three public events to which everyone was invited.  You can get a flavour of the festival by clicking here to see a short film that was made during the festival.


The Festival was made possible through sponsorship by the French Embassy in London, Power NI, No Alibis Bookstore and the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities.

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Visualizing European Crime Fiction: New Digital Tools and Approaches to the Study of Transnational Popular Culture

This exciting, interdisciplinary project which is led by Dr. Dominique Jeannerod from the School of Modern Languages with  Dr. Federico Pagello from the ICRH and Dr. Andrew Pepper from the School of English along with a group of international scholars from the Universities of Limoges and Debrecen, has  been  awarded a grant of £80, 000 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in the frame of the "Big Data Projects" scheme.

This initiative is aimed at testing and developing an online participatory database which was created by the international research association Popular Literature and Media Culture. The three research teams will collaborate with the European Library, as well as with the Parisian Library of Crime Literatures, to collect, analyse and visualise in innovative ways the metadata concerning tens of thousands of works in popular fiction. Three international conferences – at Queen’s University (June 2014), the University of Debrecen (December 2014) and the British Library (March 2015) – will bring together researchers from all over Europe to discuss the use of digital technologies and quantitative methods in the study of genre literature.

For further information please contact Dominique Jeannerod or Federico Pagello.

Please find the programme for the Queen's University conference by clicking BelfastConferenceJune2014.

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‌Cambridge University Press Scholarship

Daniel McAuleyWarm congratulations to Daniel McAuley, one of our postgraduate research students, who has been recommended by the‌ Association for French Language Studies (AFLS) Research Committee for a Cambridge University Press Scholarship. This prestigious award is offered to promising postgraduate students to help with travel and other research costs and Daniel was awarded this on the basis of his abstact for this year's AFLS conference.  The paper is entitled "Identifying the banlieues: lexical trends in periurban youth French" and will be presented on 26th June 2014 at the AFLS conference at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

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Robert Penn Warren Graduate Student Fellowship Competition

The School of Modern Languages is delighted to announce that one of our PhD students (French), Daniel McAuley has been awarded‌ the Robert Penn Warren Graduate Student Fellowship.  This is a higly prestigious award and it is the third time in the last six years that it has been won by a student in our School.

The School wishes Daniel every success in his time carrying out his research in the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities in Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA.  The Centre promotes interdisciplinary research and study in the humanities and social sciences.

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Professor Greg Toner has received an £787k award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to continue his work on the Dictionary of the Irish Language which is the standard historical dictionary of Irish covering the period from the seventh century to the seventeenth. The award, which will run for five years, will be held in conjunction with Dr Máire Ní Mhaonaigh of the Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic in Cambridge.


The Dictionary was originally published by the Royal Irish Academy as 23 separate fascicles between 1913 and 1976. It runs to over 2000 pages, contains over 35,000 entries and is an indispensable tool for scholars working on medieval Ireland and Scotland. As parts of the Dictionary are now over 100 years old, Prof. Toner and Dr Ní Mhaonaigh will revise its contents by examining all key textual editions that were not available to the original compilers of the Dictionary. The project will uncover previously unrecorded words, excise ghost words and suggest new or revised definitions.


Professor Toner published the first electronic edition of the Dictionary in 2007 (<>), and produced a Supplement containing revisions to 4000 entries in 2013, again with AHRC funding. The new revised Dictionary will contain new information on words relating to agriculture, medicine, law, music, religion and society that will be of particular interest to historians and archaeologists nationally and internationally, and will trace the origin and development of words over a period of a millennium. New features will be added including a mobile version and a 'Word of the Day'.


An important aspect of the Project will be training in lexicography and textual edition for younger scholars and the team will run a number of workshops aimed especially at doctoral students. The rich vocabulary of the Dictionary is ripe for exploitation by creative writers and thinkers in modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic, and project staff will collaborate with authors, translators and terminologists to explore ways of reviving old words in new contexts.

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British Council Erasmus "Your Story" competition 2013 - essay winner

Warmest congratulations to Ellie Cameron on winning the British Council "Your Story" competition.  Ellie is a Spanish and Portuguese student and her essay is an honest and entertaining account of her time in Portugal which formed a compulsory part of her four year degree.



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Doctoral Success

Congratulations to French PhD student Tanya Campbell for successfully defending her thesis entitled ‘Representations of Slavery in French Writing: From Revolution to Abolition’. Tanya’s thesis engages with articulations of the concept of slavery in the period between 1789 and 1848, and covers a wide range of novels, plays and journalism from the period. Tanya was jointly supervised by Dr Nigel Harkness  and Dr Maeve McCusker, and her examiners were Professor Charles Forsdick (University of Liverpool) and Professor Margaret Topping. Tanya is currently taking a year out to travel in Australia, and is working on an article from one of her PhD chapters.

Tanya at the ANZAC shrine in Melbourne (city skyline in the background)

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PhD Student Wins International Conference Prize

Daniel McAuleyA second-year PhD student, Daniel McAuley, has won a prize for best postgraduate paper at a recent international conference. Daniel gave a paper entitled 'L’innovation lexicale chez les jeunes des quartiers urbains pluriethniques : « c’est banal, ouèche » at the recent Association for French Language Studies conference in Perpignan. His PhD, which is based on a corpus he collected using participant observation methodology, looks at lexical innovation amongst young speakers in the suburbs of Paris and Marseille and the impact this is having on the phonology, morpho-syntax and lexis of contemporary French. Many congratulations to Daniel!



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Student exchange with University of São Paulo, Brazil

Since February of this year, Jacqueline Gallagher, a student on the BA Spanish and Portuguese pathway at Queen’s, has been studying at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil as part of her year abroad. The five-month placement was arranged through an exchange agreement between the two universities, and Jacqueline is the first undergraduate student from the School of Modern Languages to take part. At the end of her first year Jacqueline successfully completed a summer internship scheme with Santander and was subsequently able to secure a scholarship from the bank which covered some of her travel expenses.

During a recent visit to São Paulo, Queen’s Lecturer in Brazilian Studies Tori Holmes caught up with Jacqueline and heard about her experiences at USP, where she has been taking classes in Portuguese language and Brazilian culture. As Jacqueline told Tori, “My semester here at USP has been an unforgettable experience. Being able to spend time at a top-notch Latin American university, in an amazing city with incredible people has been invaluable not only to my language skills, but also to my cultural awareness of a fascinating country and its people”.

Photo caption: Jacqueline on USP’s leafy campus

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Education Award Winner

Congratulations to Tony Russell who won the Course Rep of the Year for the Faculty Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the recent Students' Union Education Awards.  Tony is a final year Spanish and Portuguese student but has also been an excellent Student Ambassador for the whole School over the last few years.  

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Popular Download

Dr Sarah Bowskill's article 'The Representation of the Female Body in the Multimedia Works of Regina José Galindo' published last year in the Bulletin of Latin American Research was the fifth most downloaded article of the year for that journal and was accessed over 400 times.

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International Scholarships

All international students enrolling on the MA in Interpreting or MA in Translation are eligible for the following scholarships:

New Opportunities Scholarship (£1,000 reduction in tuition fees) Please click here.

Early Bird Reward (10% reduction in tuition fees). Please click here.

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Congratulations on award

Congratulations to Agata Dziadul, one of our MA Translation students, who has been awarded the Emily Sarah Montgomery and Sir Thomas Dixon Travel Scholarship. These awards are keenly contested and the School is proud of Agata's achievements.

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Melanie Henry, The Signifying Self

Congratulations to Dr Melanie Henry on the publication of her book, The Signifying Self: Cervantine Drama as Counter-Perspective Aesthetic, with the MHRA Texts and Dissertations Series.

The series exists to promote important work by younger scholars by making the most accomplished doctoral research available to the widest possible readership through a policy of affordable pricing and not requiring a publication subvention.

You can buy copies of the book via the MHRA website -

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Postgraduate Funding for 2014/15

Details of funding available for taught and research courses once finalised can be found by clicking here.

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School Seminar Series - 2012-13 Semester 2

Please click  here to view our programme of seminars for semester 2.

Everyone is most welcome to attend.



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Students outside the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid just before a trip to see Picasso's Guernica with Dr Gabriel Sánchez

Challenge Yourself to Look at the World in a Different Way: The Year Abroad in Spain

Recently Dr Gabriel Sánchez Espinosa visited some of our students spending their year abroad in Spain to find out how they were adapting to the Spanish way of life. 

One of the students placed in Andalucía told him that: ‘The six weeks that have elapsed since my arrival in Spain have been the busiest and most rewarding of my life. I cannot recall another time when I have learned and experienced so much within so short a space of time.’ 

A student living in the Basque country described their idyllic life saying: ‘I have had no problems settling in here in Irún and everyday just gets better. The culture is very different but in a good way. I love the buzz of the ‘Plazas’ on a fine evening and it is so family orientated.  I find great pleasure sitting in the square reading, ‘in Spanish of course’, with a little glass of ‘vino’. I have just finished reading La Casa de los Espíritus by Isabel Allende.  I feel that this opportunity has given me the confidence to step outside my comfort zone.’ Needless to say, we are all very jealous of the ‘vino’ in the buzzing ‘plazas’ back in rainy Belfast! 

And finally, when Gabriel asked the students to give some advice to second year students who are just beginning to think about placements abroad for next year, a student currently living in Madrid said: ‘Overall, I feel I am settling in to life in Spain better than I initially thought I would. Although I was extremely nervous leaving home, I tried not to have too many expectations about my year abroad, preferring to let things fall in to place when I arrived. Everything from finding accommodation to integrating in to Spanish society has all came to together perfectly and as my first month in Spain finishes I am left hoping that the next seven don’t go as fast!’

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Undergraduate Awards Success

Many congratulations to Christina McCloskey, a second-year French and Spanish student whose essay for her Spanish module, World as Stage, was highly commended by the judges in the Languages & Linguistics category of the 2012 Undergraduate Awards. This is an excellent achievement, and means that Christina’s essay was ranked in the top 10% of the almost 3000 essays that were submitted for the Undergraduate Awards this year from 100 universities around the world. Professor Isabel Torres, Christina’s tutor and Head of Spanish at Queen’s commented: ‘I am absolutely delighted that Christina's essay has been recognised by the Undergraduate Awards. To be included among the top 10% of undergraduate work in the discipline is a wonderful achievement and richly deserved. This is an impressive performance for an individual student at level 2. It also reflects upon the whole class, whose dynamism and willingness to participate fully in all the activities of the module facilitated a range of outstanding work. My warmest congratulations to Christina and my thanks to everyone on the module - a pleasure to teach!’

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Grant Success – AHRC Research Networking Scheme “Translating Cultures”

Dr Piotr Blumczyński has been awarded an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) grant to launch an international research network exploring “English Evaluative Concepts in Translated Religious and Devotional Texts.”

The project combines a keen local focus with a broad transcultural research perspective provided by a group of collaborative partners working, across a range of disciplines, in markedly different regions of Europe: Northern Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Spain.

Through a series of thematic conferences, community events and workshops held at diverse locations in 2013–2014, the network will seek to (1) develop our understanding of the interactions between linguistic, cultural and religious communities by exploring shared and conflicting systems of values; and (2) contribute to raising awareness of the nature of translation and interpreting as a process of conceptual and cultural – rather than merely linguistic – mediation.

The total value of the reward amounts to £44,376. Piotr is the Principal Investigator in the research project.

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Double Grant Success

Dr Fiona Clark has been awarded two grants for a 14 month period to complete a project into medical history linking Ireland, France, Spain, and Mexico in the eighteenth century, entitled: 'Scratching below the Surface: Empire, Authority, and Venereal Disease (Mexico City, 1789-1798)'. This funding comprised Wellcome Trust for the History of Medicine (£27, 974) for the period September 2011-January 2012, and an Arts and Humanities Research Council Early Career Fellowship (£63,535) for the period February - October 2012.

This project has grown out of the discovery of reports and correspondence written by an Irish surgeon, Daniel O'Sullivan relating to a series of trials into the effect of a non-mercurial treatment for venereal disease held in Mexico City in the early 1790s. The materials clearly indicate a level of tension, manipulation, and suspicion in relationships among the medical and ecclesiastical authorities that has, to date, remained unexplored. As such, O'Sullivan's work throws potential new light on the internal governance of local Mexican hospitals and raises questions relating to the exercise of medical authority on a transatlantic level, the means by which individuals progressed in their medical careers, and the use of patronage within the eighteenth-century Spanish court.

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Castellano-leoneses por el mundo

The regional TV station of Castilla-Leon in Spain recently produced a programme about people from the region living in Belfast.

Spanish PhD student, Leticia Villamediana, who works on Eighteenth Century Periodical Press, features in the progamme.

The programme can be viewed on YouTube -

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Queen’s students at the EU Parliament

Languages Students gain insights into EU Careers in Brussels

18 Queen’s students, including 11 studying Languages, took part in the first ever Brussels Study Tour organised by the Careers Service in the final week of the Easter Vacation. The aim of the tour was to introduce Queen’s students to the EU institutions and to promote the aspiration of living and working at the heart of Europe. The group was hosted at the Irish College in Leuven, and was accompanied by Ms Roisin Copeland, Senior Careers Advisor, and Dr Nigel Harkness, Director of Education in the School of Modern Languages.

The group visited the EU Parliament and Commission, had meetings with a range of people working in the EU institutions as translators, policy advisors, journalists, and diplomats, and gained insights into the wide range of career opportunities there are for linguists in Brussels and the application process. Among the social highlights of the tour were dinner with the Irish Ambassador to Belgium, and an alumni reception hosted by the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels. As one of our students commented, ‘Meeting the QUB alumni really showed us that there is a place for Queen’s graduates in Brussels and that working in the EU is a really attainable goal’.

Dr Nigel Harkness welcomed this important initiative: ‘Not only did the study tour make our students aware of the career opportunities that are available to Languages graduates in the European Union, but it also reinforced what we have been saying to them since day 1 of their degree: that learning a language really does give them a head start when it comes to careers. Everyone they met in Brussels stressed that speaking English simply is not enough. To work in the EU institutions you need to be able to speak English and French as basic working languages, and then at least one of the other 24 official languages, which include Spanish, Portuguese and Irish.’



 Pictured at the Alumni reception are Russell Donaldson (Law with French), Dr Gerry Mulligan, Director of the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels, and Dr Nigel Harkness, Director of Education in the School of Modern Languages






Dr Gerry Mulligan welcomes students and alumni to the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels. Also pictured is Ms Roisin Copeland, Senior Careers Advisor and Tour Leader.

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Micheal O'Mainnin Placenames Photo


Launch of New Placenames Website 

Congratulations to our colleague, Dr Mícheál Ó Mainnín, who had a successful launch of the new Placenames website at Stormont on 21 January 2013.  People are invited to explore the origins and history of their local place-names through

For more information please click here.   

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The paths of medical un/orthodoxy? Colonial Latin America and its World

Friday 8th - Saturday 9th November 2013

This exciting two-day international colloquium sponsored by the Wellcome Trust and the Society for the History of Medicine  will bring together scholars from across the UK, Latin America, and the United States, to discuss the different processes by which individuals and ideas impacted on the promotion, defence, criticism, or prohibition of medical practices in early modern Latin America, the Caribbean, and across the Atlantic. 

For further details on participants and abstracts, please click here.

For more information, contact: Dr Fiona Clark

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