LINGUIST List 13.1750

Thu Jun 20 2002

Jobs: Cognitive Sci of Lang: PostDoc, Lyons France

Editor for this issue: Heather Taylor <>


  1. Peter Ford Dominey, Cognitive Sci/Lang: PostDoc, Institut/Sciences Cognitives, Lyon France

Message 1: Cognitive Sci/Lang: PostDoc, Institut/Sciences Cognitives, Lyon France

Date: 20 Jun 2002 15:03:24 -0000
From: Peter Ford Dominey <>
Subject: Cognitive Sci/Lang: PostDoc, Institut/Sciences Cognitives, Lyon France

Rank of Job: post-doc
Areas Required: cognitive science of language
Other Desired Areas: computer science
University or Organization: Institut des Sciences Cognitives
Department: Sequential Cognition and Language
State or Province: Lyon
Country: France
Final Date of Application: none
Contact: Peter Ford Dominey

Address for Applications:
67 Blvd Pinel, 


A postdoctoral research opportunity in the Sequential Cognition and
Language group (directed by Peter F. Dominey) at the Institut des
Sciences Cognitives (Lyon France) is available immediately, to
investigate the role of multiple-cue integration in language
acquisition across different languages. The project
( is funded by the Human Frontiers
Science Program and involves four closely interacting research teams
in France (Peter Dominey, Institut des Sciences Cognitives), the US
(Morten Christiansen, Cornell University), the UK (Nick Chater,
University of Warwick), and Japan (Mieko Ogura, Tsurumi University).


How do children acquire the subtle and complex structure of their
native language with such remarkable speed and reliability, and with
little direct instruction? Recent computational and acoustic analyses
of language addressed to children indicate that there are rich cues to
linguistic structure available in the child's input. Moreover,
evidence from developmental psycholinguistics shows that infants are
sensitive to many sound-based (phonological) and intonational
(prosodic) cues in the input - cues that may facilitate language
acquisition. Although this research indicates that linguistic input is
rich with possible cues to linguistic structure, there is an important
caveat: the cues are only partially reliable and none considered alone
provide an infallible bootstrap into language. To acquire language
successfully, it seems that the child needs to integrate a great
diversity of multiple probabilistic cues to linguistic structure in an
effective way.

Our research program aims to provide a rigorous cross-linguistic test
of the hypothesis that multiple-cue integration is crucial for the
acquisition of syntactic structure. The research has four interrelated

 1) Computational and acoustic analyses of child-directed speech.
 2) Psycholinguistic and artificial language learning experiments.
 3) Computational modeling using neural networks and statistical
 learning methods.
 4) Event-related potential (ERP) studies.

Specifics for the Lyon Post-Doctoral Position:
The selected researcher will participate in this HFSP funded project
addressing aspects of language acquisition through simulation,
behavioral and brain imagery (ERP) studies.

The position will involve:
1. Statistical and acoustic analysis of natural language corpora
2. Participation in neural network simulation of language acquisition
processes based on the preceding analysis. An example of a this type
of approach can be found in: Dominey PF, Ramus F (2000) Neural network
processing of natural language: I. Sensitivity to serial, temporal and
abstract structure of language in the infant. Language and Cognitive
Processes, 15(1) 87-127
3. Testing of human subjects in artificial language learning

The ideal candidate will have the following qualifications, though 
candidates with a subset of these will also be considered: 
1. A PhD in a related discipline (linguistics/psycholinguistics,
computer science, computational neuroscience, cognitive science).
2. Familiarity with the Childes language database and associated
analysis tools, and/or experience/interest in computational aspects of
language acquisition.
3. Native French, and fluent English.
4. Some computational background, with experience in the Linux/Unix C
environment, and in cognitive neuroscience simulation.

Interested candidates should send a letter of intention, a CV and
three letters of recommendation to Peter F. Dominey at the address
below. Applications will continue to be accepted until the position
is filled. The position is for one to two years. In addition to
salary, funds are available for travel to conferences and meetings
between research teams. The position does not carry any special
citizen requirements.
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