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LINGUIST List 22.4906

Wed Dec 07 2011

Jobs: General Linguistics: Strategic Chair (Professor), U of Amsterdam

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        1.     D. van der Vaart , General Linguistics: Strategic Chair (Professor), University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Message 1: General Linguistics: Strategic Chair (Professor), University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Date: 06-Dec-2011
From: D. van der Vaart <D.vanderVaartuva.nl>
Subject: General Linguistics: Strategic Chair (Professor), University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
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University or Organization: University of Amsterdam
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Job Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Web Address: http://www.hum.uva.nl
Job Rank: Professor

Specialty Areas: General Linguistics


The Faculty has a vacancy for a:
Strategic Chair (Professor) of Learnability of Human Languages
38 hours per week (for 5 years)
Vacancy number W11-230

This position stems from the Faculty of Humanities' decision to adopt Brain
and Cognition as one of its three research priority areas for the next five
years. The aim of the Brain and Cognition research priority area is to
promote and deliver international, interdisciplinary, and leading-edge
research in a rapidly evolving field of study.

The Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication carries out its
research programme on Learnability within the context of this research
priority area and gives a broad and novel interpretation to the notion of
learnability, as a result of which it bridges research in a number of areas
within linguistics, such as language acquisition, language change, and
language typology. It does so by studying a number of related hypotheses.
(1) The language data that children hear is impoverished, in the sense that
(a) some crucial types of data may never appear in the child's input, (b) the
data that does appear only gives superficial information about the
structures that generated the data in the speaker's brain, and (c) the data
will contain noise as a result of errors or ellipses by the speaker and as a
result of imperfections in the transmission channels. On the basis of such
impoverished input children will construct their own internal language.
(2) When constructing their own language, the children will almost inevitably
end up speaking somewhat differently from their parents and peers. Such
changes will not only be apparent in the histories of single languages, but
even more dramatically in second language acquisition (where learners
start with an already present language system rather than from scratch)
and in language creation processes such as creolization (where no single
mother tongue is available).
(3) By evoking change, learnability problems lead to typological variation
between languages.

Given this set of hypotheses, the involvement of researchers with different
types of orientations and research interests is necessary to come to grips
with the issue of learnability in this wide sense. The ACLC is ideally placed
to initiate this type of debate, as it is home to a highly diversified group of
linguists, addressing linguistic issues from a wide variety of angles, and in a
collaborative spirit.

The professor of learnability should, apart from bringing a relevant and
innovative research agenda to the programme, bring researchers working
on individual aspects of the learnability problem together, formulate new,
broad research programmes in which these researchers can collaborate,
and acquire funding for these programmes. The candidate to be appointed
will thus play an important leadership role in the Learnability research
programme, and will furthermore create a bridge between ACLC research
and research carried out at the ILLC. The ILLC participates in the research
focus area Brain and Cognition with its research programme on Cognitive
modeling. Apart from her/his involvement in the research priority area, the
candidate will play a prominent role in teaching courses and in curriculum
development in the general area of Learnability and Linguistics and will be
actively involved in PhD supervision. The candidate is furthermore
expected to be an ambassador of the priority area and actively liaise and
work with stakeholders both within and outside of the university sector.
See for further information: http://www.hum.uva.nl/aclc under Vacancies.

Application Deadline: 10-Jan-2012
Mailing Address for Applications:
prof. dr. J.W. van Henten
Spuistraat 210
Amsterdam 1012 VT
Email Address for Applications: solliciteren2011-FGWuva.nl
Contact Information:
dr D. van der Vaart
Email: D.vanderVaartuva.nl
Phone: 0031205253804

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