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Modern Languages and Cultures

How our research is structured

We foster a culture of collaborative Languages research.

To facilitate this, research in Languages is organised around three linked divisions which are able to maintain a broad range of specialisms.

Language-based Area Studies

The University has built up a critical mass of expertise on East Asia, Latin America, Spain and Portugal, the Middle East, North Africa, Russia and Eastern Europe. We contribute to and draw on this.

Our researchers aim to work beyond the parameters of country-based 'area studies'; to engage with wider understandings of what a language-based subject discipline might be; and to develop research across cultures and disciplines in a global context.

Projects are aimed at deepening understandings of place- and period-specific human experience and of the exchange of ideas and practices across languages. They interlock at several points with research in Languages and Intercultural Studies, as well as in other disciplines within the Faculty of Humanities. In researching the Arab World, China and Russia and Eastern Europe we play an active role in three AHRC-funded national consortia – the British Inter-University China Centre; the Centre for Advanced Study of the Arab World and the Centre for the East European Language-Based Area Studies. Manchester also hosts the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies.

Areas of research in this area are:

Languages and Intercultural Studies

Researchers in Languages and Intercultural Studies (LIS) work in productive synergy with colleagues in Language-Based Area Studies, in the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures and across the Faculty of Humanities more broadly.

The 'translation' and mediation of cultural and political exchange past and present are at the heart of our activities. Bringing together leading specialists working in translation and interpreting, on France and the francophone world, Germany, Italy and their respective linguistic communities, key foci of our research include: translation and conflict and the emerging field of citizen media; literary journals and history of the book; intellectual history and cultural politics from the medieval to the contemporary period; war and cultural memory; gender and sexuality; visual and performance cultures; migration and cosmopolitanism.

Research centres based in LIS include the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies (CTIS), the Centre for Research in Visual Cultures of the French-speaking world (CRIVCOF) and the Migration and Diaspora Cultural Studies Network (MDCSN), whose research has been funded inter alia by the AHRC, The British Academy, The Leverhulme Trust.

Areas of research in this area are:

Linguistics and English Language

Researchers in Linguistics and English Language engage with the full spectrum of disciplines and theoretical frameworks in contemporary linguistics, and they share a strong commitment to conducting work on a broad empirical basis. We collect and analyse evidence of many types (corpus data, sociolinguistic interviews, descriptive fieldwork, laboratory experiments, philological investigation) from a highly diverse set of languages.

In addition to an exceptional concentration of experts in all aspects of English linguistics, we have particular strengths in Romance (specially French, the dialects of Italy, and Spanish), in Germanic (specially the Scandinavian languages and Low German), in the languages of Latin America, in Australian languages, and in Indo-Iranian languages such as Romani, Domari, and Kurdish.

This commitment to the documentation, description, and advanced theoretical analysis of a typologically broad range of languages is intimately connected with a focus on issues of language maintenance and endangerment, and with our overarching concern for the ecology of the world's languages.