LINGUIST List 28.820

Mon Feb 13 2017

Support: Turkish; German (Standard); General Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics / Switzerland

Editor for this issue: Amanda Foster <>

Date: 13-Feb-2017
From: Sabine Stoll <>
Subject: Turkish; German (Standard); General Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics: PhD, University of Zurich, Switzerland
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Department: Department of Comparative Linguistics
Web Address:

Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: University of Zurich

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: General Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics

Required Language(s): German (deu)
                            Turkish (tur)


Two PhD positions in first language acquisition at UZH

The Psycholinguistics Laboratory (Department of Comparative Linguistics) and the Research Unit Developmental Psychology: Infancy and Childhood (Department of Psychology) at the University of Zurich invite applications for two PhD student positions embedded into the research project "The role of causality in early verb learning: language-specific factors vs. universal strategies" funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

The goal of this project is to explore the relation between language and cognition from a developmental perspective with a focus on the processing of causality and its role in early verb learning. The project combines a large-scale cross-linguistic corpus study (involving longitudinal data from 10 typologically diverse languages) with experimental psychological studies (comparing Turkish and Swiss German). The project collaborates closely with partners at Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey.

The project involves altogether three PhD positions. The two positions advertized here are located in the experimental subproject, whose aim is to investigate if children at the beginning of their grammatical development can broaden their syntactic knowledge to different types of causality or whether their knowledge is restricted to prototypical causal scenes. Further, we intend to explore whether young learners of Swiss German and Turkish are able to assign (similarly to children who learn English) the syntactic structure of a transitive sentence to an observed causal event.

General requirements:

MA in Psychology (or in General Linguistics) with a strong interest in developmental psychology and language acquisition. For both PhD positions the requirements are experience with experimental research, strong method knowledge and skills, good command of English, interest in pursuing an academic career in Psychology or Linguistics. The successful candidates should have excellent teamwork skills and be interested to go beyond disciplinary boundaries.

Specific requirements:

The PhD candidates will design, build up (in collaboration with the team and PhD candidate 3) the experiments in the Laboratory of the Research Unit Developmental Psychology: Infancy and Childhood at the Department of Psychology at the University of Zurich.

PhD 1 will conduct the experiments primarily at the UZH, for this, native competence in a Swiss German dialect is required.

PhD 2 will conduct the experiments primarily at the Department of Psychology at Koç University in Istanbul.

Accordingly, native competence in Turkish is required. Knowledge of (Swiss) German is a plus.

Research environment:

We offer work in an interdisciplinary and international team located at the University of Zurich and Koç University in Istanbul. Both positionswill be embedded in a doctoral program at either the Department of Comparative Linguistics or the Department of Psychology and will lead to a PhD in Psychology or Linguistics.

The positions start on 1 October, 2017, and will last for three years.

Applications should include

- a cover letter that relates the applicants’ experience and interests to the project
- a comprehensive CV
- a copy of the MA thesis
- the names and contact information of at least two references.

Please send the documents combined into one PDF file to and, both of whom may be contacted for further information.

Applications Deadline: 31-Mar-2017

Mailing Address for Applications:
        Attn: Prof. Dr. Sabine Stoll
        Plattenstrasse 32
        Zurich 8032

Contact Information:
        Prof. Dr. Sabine Stoll

Page Updated: 13-Feb-2017