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LINGUIST List 18.3196

Wed Oct 31 2007

Jobs: Evolutionary Linguistics: PhD Candidate, University of Amsterdam

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        1.    Els Verheugd, Evolutionary Linguistics: PhD Candidate, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Message 1: Evolutionary Linguistics: PhD Candidate, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Date: 30-Oct-2007
From: Els Verheugd <els.verheugduva.nl>
Subject: Evolutionary Linguistics: PhD Candidate, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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University or Organization: University of Amsterdam
Department: ACLC, Faculty of Humanities
Web Address: http://www.hum.uva.nl/aclc

Job Rank: PhD candidate

Specialty Areas: Anthropological Linguistics; Computational Linguistics; General Linguistics; Phonetics; Evolutionary Linguistics


1 PhD Position (1 fte) within the NWO funded project
Modelling the Evolution of Speech
Project supervisor: Dr Bart de Boer

Project Description:
The aim of the whole project is to unravel the origins of human speech and
its relation to grammar. Speech is the main physical medium of human
language, and therefore a signalling system that, through its reliability
and flexibility, has allowed humans to share and transmit knowledge at an
unprecedented scale. The project uses an innovative methodology, where
detailed computer simulations are used to deal with the wealth of empirical
data available from palaeontology, linguistics, cognitive science and
comparative biology. It builds on current developments in language
evolution research, where questions that have long fascinated scholars are
beginning to yield to serious scientific investigation.

The project consists of three parts, which deal with the evolution of the
vocal tract, the interaction between speech sounds and grammar and the
evolution of the ability to acquire complex combinatorial speech. These
subprojects thus deal with three sources of complexity in the speech code:
the physics of speech production and perception, the complexity of the
dynamics of biological and cultural evolution, and the complexity of
language data itself.

We are looking for a PhD student who will build a computer model that is
capable of modelling the acoustics of ape vocal tracts, including
sub-laryngeal air sacs. The model will be used - among other things - to
investigate the abilities of potential ancestral vocal tracts to produce
distinctive speech sounds.

The PhD candidate needs to carry out the research within three years and
needs to write a dissertation.

MA in linguistics (or equivalent), obtained no longer than five years ago.
Furthermore, the PhD candidate has to have experience with computer
programming, and knowledge of either speech acoustics or bioacoustics, as
well as an affinity with the questions of human evolution and the evolution
of language. As the research will be very interdisciplinary, the PhD
candidate must also have an ability and willingness to acquire knowledge
about a number of related subjects, such as anatomy, archaeology,
linguistics and evolutionary biology.

More Information:
The document Guidelines for applying for an internal PhD position gives
precise information about the application procedure.
This document can be found on the ACLC website (www.hum.uva.nl/aclc) under
PhD candidates. NB Incomplete applications will be automatically rejected
so please read the guidelines carefully.

Further information can be obtained from the project supervisor, Dr Bart de

The PhD candidate will be appointed for a period of three years (full
time), beginning February 1st 2008, at the Faculty of Humanities of the
University of Amsterdam under the terms of employment currently valid for
the Faculty. A contract will be given in the first instance for one year,
with an extension for the following two years on the basis of an evaluation
of, amongst other things, a written piece of work.

Applications for this position should be sent before December 3rd, 2007 to
the ACLC office aclc-fgwuva.nl or to the director of the ACLC, Prof Dr
A.E. Baker at the address given below. Applications received after this
date or those that are incomplete will not be taken into consideration.

Application Deadline: 03-Dec-2007
Mailing Address for Applications:
Prof Dr A.E. Baker
Director of the ACLC
University of Amsterdam
Spuistraat 210
Amsterdam 1012 VT
Email Address for Applications: aclc-fgwuva.nl
Contact Information:
Dr. Bart de Boer
Email: B.G.deBoeruva.n
Phone: +31 20 525 2182

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