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LINGUIST List 19.1986

Mon Jun 23 2008

Jobs: Semantics: Post Doc/PhD-Student, Center for General Linguistics

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        1.    Uli Sauerland, Semantics: Post Doc/PhD-Student, Center for General Linguistics, Berlin, Germany

Message 1: Semantics: Post Doc/PhD-Student, Center for General Linguistics, Berlin, Germany
Date: 22-Jun-2008
From: Uli Sauerland <ulialum.mit.edu>
Subject: Semantics: Post Doc/PhD-Student, Center for General Linguistics, Berlin, Germany
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University or Organization: Center for General Linguistics
Job Location: Berlin, Germany
Web Address: http://www.zas.gwz-berlin.de/
Job Rank: Post Doc/PhD-Student

Specialty Areas: Semantics


The Center for General Linguistics (ZAS) in Berlin, Germany has an opening
starting flexibly between September 1st, 2008 and January 1st, 2009
(pending final approval of funding) for either one postdoctoral researcher
or two PhD-students. The position is in the interdisciplinary
VAAG-project, which is coordinated by Manfred Krifka and Uli Sauerland and
involves partners in Amsterdam, Lund, and Zagreb. The advertised position
is limited to one year initially with a possibility of extension. The
appointment would be made at the German government pay-scale (about

The project VAAG:

Vagueness is a pervasive property of human language and cognition that is
important for all fields of research that make use of symbolic
representations. Approximation refers mechanisms that regulate vagueness in
meaning composition, and granularity to mechanisms that divide meaning
spaces. While vagueness has often been regarded as undesirable, the VAAG
project is based on a growing recognition that vagueness is actually in
many respects useful. VAAG targets a broad, interdisciplinary reassessment
of vagueness with contributions to general cognitive science, linguistic
semantics, experimental psychology, formal pragmatics and computer science.
An appropriate theory of vagueness for these uses must not only explain how
vagueness is represented, but also why it exists, what its uses are, and
how it is constrained sentence internally and within discourse. Three
central themes of the VAAG-project are he following: a) the relation of
vagueness and cognitive efficiency, b) vagueness, granularity and the
compositionality of meaning, and c) the distinction between different kinds
of vagueness. The first theme addresses the question why vagueness is
useful. We explore the intuition that vagueness can be useful in scenario
where precise information can provide too much information. The second
theme concerns approximation which regulates vagueness either through
explicit markers like exactly or as a general side-effect of concept
combination. The third theme connects to both of the other themes since
different motivation of vagueness seem to lead to types of vagueness, and
these require different types of approximation strategies. In this way, the
VAAG project targets a central issue for models of intelligent interaction
using a broad multi-disciplinary perspective.

The advertised position is in the project-part 'Semantic Mechanisms for
Approximation and Granularity'. The primary task is to investigate
approximating expressions (like 'exactly' and 'approximately') in five
languages (Croatian, Dutch, Swedish, English, and German) and to explain
their distribution.

Desirable skills:

- broad general background in linguistics including some of the above languages
- advanced knowledge in formal pragmatics and in syntax
- research in model-theoretic semantics
- familiarity with formal models of vagueness
- ability for self-directed project work in linguistics
- interest to work in an interdisciplinary team with logicians and

For further information regarding this position please contact Uli Sauerland.

Review of applications will start August 1st, 2008 and continue until filled.

Applications should include the following information:
- curriculum vitae
- samples of prior research
- names and email addresses of three people that can be contacted for
recommendation letters (but please do not send letters at this point)

Please send applications electronically if possible.

Application Deadline: Open until filled.
Mailing Address for Applications:
Uli Sauerland
Schützenstr. 18
Berlin 10117
Email Address for Applications: ulialum.mit.edu
Contact Information:
Uli Sauerland
Email: ulialum.mit.edu

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