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Professor David Singleton

Fellow Emeritus (C.L.C.S.)


I was born in Poole (Dorset) in 1948. I was educated at the local Catholic primary school and state grammar school. I took my primary degree (Moderatorship in Modern Languages - French and German -, Class I) at Trinity College Dublin and my doctorate (in French Linguistics) at the University of Cambridge. My first lecturing position was in the French Department of St Patrick's College, Drumcondra, but since 1980 I have been a member of staff of the Centre for Language and Communication Studies, Trinity College Dublin. I have been deeply involved in various professional organizations - including the Irish Association for Applied Linguistics (President 1982-85), the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée (Secretary General 1993-96) and the European Second Language Association (President 1999-2003).
  Immigration   Language Acquisition (first & second)   Multiculturalism
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
Dutch Medium Basic Basic
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
French Fluent Fluent Fluent
German Fluent Medium Medium
Polish Basic Basic Basic
Spanish Medium Basic Basic
Details Date From Date To
Member of the Philological Society 1976
Member of the Irish Association for Applied Linguistics 1977
Member of the National Committee of the Irish Association for Applied Linguistics 1978 1988
President of the Irish Association for Applied Linguistics 1982 1985
Member of the Executive Board of the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée 1984 1996
Deputy Secretary General of the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée 1987 1993
Secretary General of the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée 1993 1996
Member of the European Second Language Acquisition 1989
Secretary of the European Second Language Acquisition 1989 1993
President of the European Second Language Acquisition 1999 2003
Is there a best age for second language learning? Evidence from across the lifespan? in, editor(s)R. Woore & E. Macaro , Debates in modern language education,, London, Routledge, 2021, [Pfenninger, S.E., Singleton, D. ], Book Chapter, IN_PRESS
Postface in, editor(s)S. Granger , Perspectives on the L2 Phrasicon: The View from Learner Corpora, Bristol, Multilingual Matters Ltd, 2021, [David Singleton], Book Chapter, IN_PRESS
Singleton, D. & Leśniewska, J., Phraseology: where lexicon and syntax conjoin, Language and Education: An International Journal., 1, (1), 2021, p46 - 58, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Singleton, D., The random and the non-random in intra-individual L2 variation, Linguistics Vanguard, 7, (s2), 2021, Notes: [], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL
The translanguaging conundrum in, editor(s)S. Bátyi, M. Gósy, P. Heltai,, Z. Lengyel, S. Szentgyörgy , Bilingualism: Hungarian and non-Hungarian contexts, Pannon Egyetem, 2020, pp175 - 184, [David Singleton], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Grammatical questions: phraseological answers in, editor(s)A. Uberman M. Trinder , Text-sentence-word: Studies in English linguistics, Volume IV, Rzesow:, Wydawnicwo Universytetu Reszow, 2020, pp109 - 119, [David Singleton], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Singleton, D., Zaborska, D., Adults learning additional languages in their later years: the pain, the profit and the pleasure, Journal of Multilingual Theories and Practices , 1, (1), 2020, p112 - 124, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Ageing and multilingualism in, editor(s)Singleton, D., Aronin, L. , Twelve chapters on multilingalism, Bristol, Multilingual Matters, 2019, pp213 - 230, [Munoz, C., Singleton, D.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED
Pfenninger, S.E. & Singleton, D., A critical review of research relating to the learning, use and effects of additional and multiple languages in later life, Language Teaching, 52, (4), 2019, p419 - 449, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Pfenninger, S.E. & Singleton, D., Starting age overshadowed: The primacy of differential environmental and family support effects on L2 attainment in an instructional context, Language Learning, 69, (S1), 2019, p207 - 234, Journal Article, PUBLISHED

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Pfenninger, S. E., Singleton, D., Affect trumps age: a person-in-context relational view of age and motivation in SLA, Second Language Research, 32, (3), 2016, p311 - 345, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Singleton, D, Globalization, language, and national identity: the case of Ireland. CLCS Occasional Paper No.68, 11 pp., 2007, Working Paper, PUBLISHED
Harrington, S., Singleton, D., Henry, A, At the sharp end of language revival: English-speaking parents raising Irish-speaking children. (CLCS Occasional Paper 57), 12 pp. , 2000, Working Paper, PUBLISHED
Singleton, D., Lexical processing and the "language module" (CLCS Occasional Paper 53; ERIC Reports ED 421 856), 38 pp., 1998, Working Paper, PUBLISHED
Singleton, D., French: some historical background, Dublin, Authentik, 1992, 1 - 81pp, Book, PUBLISHED
Singleton, D., Singleton, E., University-level learners of Spanish in Ireland: a profile based on data from the TCD Modern Languages Research Project (CLCS Occasional Paper 35; ERIC Reports ED 354 781), 12 pp., 1992, Working Paper, PUBLISHED
Singleton, D., What can we do about vocabulary?, FTA Bulletin, Spring/Summer, 1990, p2 - 4, Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Singleton, D., The TCD Modern Languages Research Project: objectives, instruments and preliminary results (CLCS Occasional Paper 26; ERIC Reports ED 333 723, 19pp. , 1990, Working Paper, PUBLISHED
Little, D., Devitt, S., Singleton, D., Learning foreign languages from authentic texts: theory and practice, Dublin/London, Authentik/Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research, 1989, 1 - 122pp, Book, PUBLISHED
Success factors in the language classroom in, editor(s)O'Meadhra, B., Richardson, B., Ó Cuilleanáin, C. , Languages in the 1990s: proceedings of the MTLA's Third National Modern Language Convention, Dublin, Modern Language Teachers' Association/Dublin City University, 1989, pp118 - 123, [Singleton, D.], Book Chapter, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
Election to Fellowship of Trinity College Dublin 1994
Medal of Honour, University of Silesia 2013
My research interests have ranged from fairly theoretical areas of linguistics (e.g. lexical semantics and semantic change) to very practical and applied domains (e.g. second language syllabus design). In recent times most of my research activity and publications have been concerned with second language acquisition, and in particular (i) cross-linguistic influence in second language acquisition and processing, (ii) the second language mental lexicon, (iii) multilingualism and (iv) age-related factors in second language acquisition.