LINGUIST List 25.1480

Thu Mar 27 2014

Support: Austronesian, Historical Linguistics / Netherlands

Editor for this issue: Uliana Kazagasheva <>

Date: 27-Mar-2014
From: Merel van Wijk <>
Subject: Austronesian, Historical Linguistics: PhD Student, Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands
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Department: LUCL
Web Address:

Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: Universiteit Leiden

Duties: Research,Teaching,Project Work

Specialty Areas: Historical Linguistics



For two of our case studies of contact-induced change we are currently looking for:
- 2 PhD Students (1.0 fte)
- Vacancy number: 14-087
starting September 2014, or soon thereafter.

Project Description
In areas without written historical records, where archaeological and ethnographic data are absent or sparse, language forms the backbone of our understanding of socio-cultural history. This project investigates one such region, in eastern Indonesia.

Through synchronic language data, this project traces the socio-cultural history of population groups on Flores, Pantar, and Alor. It combines linguistic tracing of cultural contact and migration (e.g. kinship terminology, place names, ritual language) with three case studies of contact-induced transfer between Papuan and Austronesian languages, involving superstrate, adstrate and substrate influence respectively. Qualitative data, comparisons, and historical scenarios are quantitatively cross-validated. This contrastive comparison of different paths of change at a regional level, with typology as a constant and quantitative validation of qualitative results, will truly break new ground.

Your profile
The candidate should have:
- a Master or equivalent degree in a relevant field (completion of the MA thesis before the PhD project starts);
- demonstrable affinity with descriptive and/or contact and/or historical linguistics;
- a curious, enterprising and creative mind and excellent analytical skills, evidence of which should emerge from the MA thesis;
- good writing skills;
- proficiency in English. If you are a non-native speaker of English you are asked to submit proof of proficiency in English with an appropriate test (IELTS 7.0; or TOEFL 100/250/600 Academic module; or Cambridge Proficiency Certificate);
- a demonstrable knowledge of spoken Indonesian, or the willingness to learn Indonesian in the first half year of the project;
- experience in fieldwork (preferably on a language of Indonesia) will be advantageous;
- ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

The candidate is supposed to carry out the following tasks:
- conducting original research on one of the following topics:
1. Transfer of words: Indonesian and Abui.
This research explores current contact between Indonesian (Austronesian) and Abui (Papuan; Kratochvíl 2007, Kratochvíl and Delpada 2008). By analyzing and comparing the language of bilingual middle-aged adults and pre-adolescent bilingual children, you will be able to chart changes that are ongoing in a small Papuan language dominated by an influential Austronesian language.
2. Language shift: Lamaholot.
In the area where Lamaholot (Austronesian) is spoken today, no Papuan languages are spoken today, but observations gleaned from the sources available on Lamaholot grammar (Nagaya 2012, Nishiyama and Kelen 2007, Keraf 1978, Arndt 1937) suggest that it has a possible Papuan substrate. In this research, you will investigate to what extent these observations are supported by synchronic Lamaholot data. Is Lamaholot the result of a shift? If it is, what does this suggest about the lexicon and structure of the Papuan substrate language(s) once spoken in the Lamaholot area?

- writing a PhD thesis;
- submitting research results for publication in peer-reviewed academic journals;
- presenting papers at (international) conferences;
- some teaching in the second and third year of the appointment;
- organizing and participating in reading and discussions groups, seminars, workshops within LUCL.

For more information, please see the application web address below.

Applications Deadline: 01-May-2014

Web Address for Applications:

Contact Information:
        Dr M. Klamer

Page Updated: 27-Mar-2014