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Support Announcement:

Level: PhD
Duty: Research
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics Historical Phonology
Specific Language: Scots
Application Deadline: 25-Apr-2014
Supporting Institution: The University of Edinburgh
Linguistics and English Language
LL Issue: 25.1609
Posted: 04-Apr-2014
Support Description: We invite applications by Friday, 25 April 2014 for a fully-funded, three-year PhD studentship at the Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics, starting September 2014 (or very shortly thereafter). The successful applicant will work on a project entitled From Inglis to Scots: Mapping Sounds to Spellings ('FITS'). The focus of the project as a whole is the phonological history of Scots.

The Investigators and post-doctoral Research Assistants will concentrate on the histories of root (i.e. non-affixal) morphemes, but the history of its inflections also merits scholarly attention. It is generally agreed that the unstressed vowels of Older Scots inflections neutralised to a single, somewhat centralised vowel, which could then be lost. The route(s) by which such changes came about, however, have scarcely been considered. The PhD studentship will make a significant contribution to the FITS project by detailing the temporal and spatial axes of the developments of these vowels. The PhD student will therefore investigate orthographic representations of non-final vowels in Older Scots inflections.

Observable differences in this period are of three types:
a. qualitative, e.g. the difference between erles and erlis, both 'earls';
b. quantitative, e.g. the difference between chekynnis (with an -is plural marker) and chekins (with -s), both 'chickens';
c. typological, e.g. the difference between unabbreviated (albeit potentially syncopated) forms such as -es, -is, -s and abbreviated forms denoted by some type of siglum.

Sigla, mentioned at (c.) above, often serve as marks of suspension or contraction, i.e. to indicate that something is 'missing', but they are often no more than scribal flourishes, i.e. without linguistic import. Since these sigla are particularly common in inflectional endings in Older Scots, their usage is an important yet understudied part of the history of inflectional forms: the more so because editors of texts may either ignore them or expand them silently.

The PhD student will investigate the use of each type of variant over space and through time in order to identify any dialectal and/or diachronic patterns.

The student will be supervised by the Principal Investigator (Prof Bettelou Los) and the two Co-Investigators (Dr Rhona Alcorn and Dr Warren Maguire). S/he will be affiliated to the Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics (within the Linguistics and English Language subject area) at the University of Edinburgh.

- This studentship is funded by the AHRC (grant ref: AH/L004542/1).
- The award provides for fees and maintenance at RCUK level for UK students, and fees only for non-UK students.

- The successful applicant will have a very good undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline. In addition, a Masters Degree (or equivalent), completed or ongoing, is desirable.
- Applicants must be students from the UK or EU countries and must satisfy the eligibility of the AHRC.
- Please note that due to AHRC funding restrictions, EU applicants will be eligible for tuition fee funding only.

Application Procedure
- Complete the FITS studentship application form (docx) and submit it with the required supporting documentation to Katie Keltie, Postgraduate Administrator by Friday, 25 April 2014.
- Shortlisting and interviews (by Skype if necessary) will take place in late May 2014.
Application Web Address:
Contact Information: Dr Rhona Alcorn Phone:+44 (0)131 650 6660