Computer Science, Linguistics and a Language

Welcome note from Course Director

Welcome to the CSL programme.

It combines the study of Computer Science, the study of a particular language (German, French or Irish) and the study of Linguistics; Linguistics is the scientific study of language and computational linguistics is the study of languages from a computational perspective.

From a time-tabling perspective, the time apportioned to the components will be roughly 50% computer science, 25% study of the language of choice, and 25% linguistics, though many modules interrelate these areas.

The linked pages and the course Handbook go over this in detail, but by way of overview:

The computer science component will involve:

  •  mastering several programming languages (such as Java and C++)
  •  the background theory and skills needed to produce effective software, addressed in a range of mathematics courses, in courses on data structure and algorithms, software engineering and databases
  • Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Computational Linguistics – the techniques involved in creating ‘smart’ software, especially in handling language intelligently

The language learning component aims to give students sufficient competence to operate in that language in their future careers, with the first two years typically concentrated  upon preparing students to spend their 3rd year as an Erasmus exchange student: the CSL degree has an extensive network of exchange agreements with European universities that offer a similar combination of computer science and linguistics, allowing the continued study of these during the exchange. You will in other years of the course encounter visiting students from our exchange partners who have come to take our courses.

The linguistics component covers all aspects of the scientific study of language . Here, something which is familiar to everyone — their own language — is revealed on closer inspection to be governed by remarkably intricate structures and regularity. These observations and regularities will be studied in modules concerning such areas as syntax, semantics, pragmatics, phonetics, phonology and speech science. If these seem unfamiliar at the outset, the Linguistics department staff will make every effort to acquaint you with them.

Depending on the subject, you will be at different times attending lectures as a single cohort and often alongside other cohorts, and inevitably also you will be engaging with staff from a wide range of departments in Trinity. This will present a varied and dynamic daily schedule, challenging and rewarding in equal measure. 

Should you run into any difficulties, please seek help early: the wide variety of supports available to you are detailed in the course handbook.

Wishing you every success in your course.

Martin Emms
Course Director of the CSL programme

Dr. Martin Emms
Assistant Professor, Computer Science


Hannah Archbold
Executive Officer, Computer Science

Course administrator for CSL