October 25, 2012, by Fraser

Perfect 10! CRAL celebrates its 10 year anniversary

Perfect 10! CRAL celebrates its 10 year anniversary

The Centre for Research in Applied Linguistics (CRAL) has celebrated its 10 year anniversary with an event looking forward to the next decade’s worth of research.

The event took place on Wednesday 17 October in Sir Clive Granger Building with Vice-Chancellor David Greenaway in attendance, as well as research partners and both past and current students.

Onwards and upwards

The organisers, Dr Michaela Mahlberg and Dr Louise Mullany, were conscious to not just celebrate what the centre has achieved in the last decade – but to look forward to the future too.

Dr Mahlberg said: “We didn’t want to do a celebration where you only hear speeches and pat yourself on the shoulder, but something telling people who we are as a centre. So we decided to get together to show what we do and outline what we think will come in the next ten years.

“All the talks had an element of ‘okay, so this is where research is now and this is where we think we can go’ – and that was a very strong focus of the event.”

Dr Mullany said: “All our talks were on research that we’re currently doing or research that is in the planning stages at the moment.

“There was a very clear emphasis on the fact that we’re not sitting on our laurels. This is what’s happening now and why we’re a great place to study or work because we’re at the forefront of all these disciplinary shifts.”

Highlights so far…

CRAL has branched out in many different directions to produce world-leading research into a wide range of areas including vocabulary acquisition, corpus linguistics and psycholinguistics.

Key stats from CRAL:

–          Over 350 research publications

–          Over 90 book titles

–          Close to 150 journal articles

–          £3.7mil in research funding

–          Over 100 PhDs awarded

A Day in the Life of Your Language

There were talks on a range of subjects from cognitive poetics through to second language acquisition and professional communication. The day culminated with Professor Svenja Adolphs’ inaugural lecture ‘A Day in the Life of Your Language’. Professor Adolphs is a central figure in CRAL

Of the inaugural lecture, Dr Mullany said: “The idea of ‘A Day in the Life of Your Language’ is to track individuals to see what kind of language they use in what particular context. So we’ve got a whole range of really quite sophisticated equipment that you put on yourself. For example, a pair of sunglasses with video cameras built into them.

“The aim of it is to come up a sophisticated model of language learning materials, for example, somebody looking at a mobile phone shop and how they move around Nottingham city centre, the language they use in particular situations and particular contexts. This can result in the design of an adaptive phrasebook. Very context-specific language which is based on real life data and real life situations; so it has the potential to revolutionise the study of English language.”

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