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LINGUIST List 18.2942

Tue Oct 09 2007

Support: Language Development, Semantics: PhD Student, Utrecht University

Editor for this issue: Bethany Townsend <bethanylinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Rianne Giethoorn, Language Development, Semantics: PhD Student, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Message 1: Language Development, Semantics: PhD Student, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Date: 09-Oct-2007
From: Rianne Giethoorn <rianne.giethoornlet.uu.nl>
Subject: Language Development, Semantics: PhD Student, Utrecht University, Netherlands
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Institution/Organization: Utrecht University
Department: Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS
Web Address: http://www-uilots.let.uu.nl/

Level: PhD

Duties: Research,Teaching

Job Rank: PhD

Specialty Areas: Semantics
Language Development
Required Language(s): Dutch (nld)


The programme comprises a post-doctoral project and one PhD project. The
post-doctoral project focuses on children's and adults' interpretation of scope
ambiguities. This research draws upon recent experimental work on children's
interpretation of sentences containing negation and a quantified noun phrase.
The project draws upon the cross-linguistic differences in children's
interpretation documented in the literature (see Musolino (1998) for English and
Kraemer (2000) for Dutch). This finding raises a challenge for theories that
attribute children's behaviour to simple parsing strategies (e.g., a preference
for surface syntax). The approach explored in this project assumes that
children's behaviour is ultimately dictated by the relative felicity of each
interpretation (see Hulsey et al., 2004), regardless of the language of exposure
and regardless of the syntactic mechanisms that are involved. The goal of the
programme is to provide a formal model of how contextual information can be used
in ambiguity resolution.

PhD project (starting date 1-1-2008):
The PhD project will explore whether current models can be extended to other
areas in which children have been reported to produce non-adult behaviour (e.g.,
scalar implicature, over generation of the definite article and focus
operators). The project will consider whether children's behaviour with those
phenomena is affected by contextual information in the same way that scope
resolution is. The project will draw upon experimental data from 3 and 4 year
old children, to be collected using the Truth Value Judgement task.

The PhD project involves training in research and completion of a PhD
dissertation. The dissertation will report the experimental findings collected
by the PhD student and will consider their theoretical relevance. Due to its
focus on scalar implicatures, the dissertation will complement the growing body
of research on experimental pragmatics, in addition to the debate on ambiguity
resolution in children. As part of her/his training, the AiO student will take
courses offered by the National Graduate School in Linguistics (LOT).

The ideal candidate is an ambitious student holding an MA degree in generative
linguistics with some expertise in formal semantics and psycholinguistics, who
is a native speaker of Dutch. Candidates fulfilling two out of the three
requirements (MA in Semantics, MA in psycholinguistics, native speaker of Dutch)
can also apply. Candidates must have an MA degree in hand by 1 January 2008.

For further information please check also our website:

Applications Deadline: 15-Nov-2007

Mailing Address for Applications:
        Attn: Ms I. Wagenaar
        Personnel Department
        Kromme Nieuwegracht 46
        Utrecht Utrecht 3512 HJ

Web Address for Applications: http://www.uu.nl/uupublish/homeuu/homeenglish/working/vacancies/25678main.html

Contact Information:
        Mr. Andrea Gualmini

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