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Support Announcement:

Level: PhD
Duty: Research,Project Work
Linguistic Field: Phonetics
Genetic Classification
Application Deadline: 18-Jul-2013
Supporting Institution: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Language and Genetics
LL Issue: 24.880
Posted: 18-Feb-2013
Support Description: The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, is a world leader in the multidisciplinary approaches to the study of language. A new direction is represented by the effects of genes on language change and linguistic diversity. The project “Genetic Biases in Speech and Language” awarded to Dr. Dan Dediu by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) will investigate the genetic influences on the speech organs and their effects on phonetics and phonology. While genes do not directly act on speech and language, they can influence language change through biased cultural transmission across generations, playing a role in both linguistic universals and diversity. This is a highly inter-disciplinary project hosted by the Language and Genetics Department, and more information can be found at Within this project, applications are invited for one full-time fixed-term 3-year PhD position. Job description The PhD student will be mainly involved in two aspects of the project: (i) the collection of primary data concerning variation in speech organs across populations, and (ii) modeling the influence of this type of variation on phonetics and phonology. These will result in a comprehensive database recording patterns of variation in the speech organs and a framework for studying their effects on language and speech. The PhD student will acquire extensive knowledge on the anatomy and physiology of the speech organs and their patterns of variation, database management and exploitation, data analysis and computer modeling skills. The successful candidate will be a member of the Language and Genetics Department led by Prof. Simon Fisher, will closely collaborate with the Language and Cognition Department led by Prof. Stephen Levinson, and will participate in cross-disciplinary activities such as reading groups and workshops. The successful candidate will be enrolled in the International Max Planck Research School ( offering extensive training opportunities in a supportive environment. Qualifications and background Candidates should have a background in linguistics and/or computer science, good data analysis and programming skills, and at least notions of database management and exploitation. While a basic understanding of phonetics and phonology is an advantage, it is most important to have a demonstrable commitment to mastering these fields. Interests and/or basic knowledge of evolutionary biology and genetics are desirable. Salary and start date The salary is according to the German TvöD and the applications will be reviewed on an on-going basis until the position is filled. Application procedure Please include a cover letter highlighting your qualifications and motivation, a CV (optionally containing a publications list highlighting one or two representative publications), a brief statement of research interests, and the contact details of two referees. These should be sent as PDF documents by e-mail to Martina Bernhard (Martina.Bernhard Linguist List
Application Web Address:
Contact Information: Martina Bernhard