Universiteit Leiden

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Leiden University Centre for Linguistics


The Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) aims to demonstrate its relevance to society by means of high-quality research, excellent education and various outreach activities. A few highlights:

First-ever Ghanaian Sign Languages video app

For many deaf Ghanaians, Ghanaian Sign Language is their first language. But for more deaf signers to be able to fully participate in society, more sign language interpreters, deaf school teachers and family members need to be trained. Members of the Ghanaian deaf community, in collaboration with researchers LUCL, have therefore created the first-ever Ghanaian Sign Languages app. This vocabulary app -with videos of 1300 signs and their translation in English- makes learning this language more accessible. Similar vocabulary apps are being created for Kenya and Mali. The apps are part of a research project funded by the Leiden University Fund (LUF). Read more

Forensic speech science

In this exciting field, research and practice go hand in hand in more ways than one. Linguistic and phonetic expertise are used for forensic speaker comparisons in crime investigations and for language analyses as part of asylum application procedures. As well as offering a course in the Applied Linguistics track of the MA Linguistics, researchers at LUCL are playing a key role in investigating the effect of linguistic structure on the availability of speaker information. Read more

Pan-African summer school for deaf academics

In the Summer of 2019, researchers from LUCL and the University of Ghana organised the first-ever pan-African summer school for deaf academics from the African continent. This is an important milestone in giving upcoming deaf academics the skills and further knowledge to progress and flourish in their chosen careers. The summer school created new networks, connecting upcoming and established deaf academics from all over Africa and beyond. Read more

Museum of Languages (Het Taalmuseum)

Established in 2016, the Museum of Languages is a virtual museum that showcases language to the wider public. By means of creative and innovative events, this initiative forges the link between academia and society in the field of language. Since 2016, the Museum of Languages has hosted public events, such as one on Surinamese poetry and one on Manchu literature, launched a website, made a Sranantongo dictionary and also produced several publications. The Museum of Languages was revamped in 2022, but still has the same aim to increase awareness of the importance and beauty of language. Visit the website

More impact

Researchers from the Journalism and New Media group at LUCL organised the Academic Conference of the digital UNESCO World Press Freedom Conference 2020. This annual celebration of press freedom attracts thousands of people (journalists, NGOs, civil society, academia and youth) from all over the world. In 2020, the conference ‘Journalism without Fear or Favour’ aimed to inspire positive change, highlighting the importance of a free and independent media and the necessity of protecting journalism from control and censorship. Read more

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