LINGUIST List 29.1530

Mon Apr 09 2018

Jobs: Language Acquisition: Post Doc, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Editor for this issue: Clare Harshey <>

Date: 09-Apr-2018
From: Marit Westergaard <>
Subject: Language Acquisition: Post Doc, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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University or Organization: UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Department: Department of Language and Culture
Job Location: Tromsø, Norway
Web Address:
Job Title: Postdoctoral researcher in Multilingual Language Acquisition & Attrition

Job Rank: Post Doc

Specialty Areas: Multilingual Acquisition & Attrition


A two-year Post-doctoral Research Fellowship/Researcher position is available in the Department of Language and Culture at UiT - The Arctic University of Norway. The position is affiliated with the LAVA research group (Language Acquisition, Variation & Attrition; see further information about the group here: and is connected to the project MiMS (Micro-variation in Multilingual Acquisition & Attrition Situations). The MiMS project is funded by the Research Council of Norway. For further information about the MiMS project, see the project website here:

Brief project description MiMS: Children clearly learn language from the ambient input, but not from input alone. One of the main questions in theoretical linguistics and language acquisition is how much is provided by an innate endowment and how much must be learned from the primary linguistic data. The MiMS project addresses this central issue within a new approach to language acquisition and attrition, the micro-cue model (MCM) that the PI has developed in a number of publications in recent years (e.g. Westergaard 2014) based on data from monolingual acquisition. The MiMS project will extend this theoretical approach to multilingual situations, and new data will be collected from several populations of bi- and multilingual children and adults, e.g. German-Russian bilingual children, Norwegian-American heritage speakers, and bilingual children learning English as an L3. The focus is on (morpho-)syntactic micro-variation in Norwegian, Russian, German and English, related to word order and certain aspects of nominal structure (grammatical gender, determiner use). These languages and these syntactic constructions are chosen as they represent an interesting combination of challenges, both for children acquiring and adults maintaining these systems in multilingual contexts. According to the MCM, both acquisition and diachronic change take place in small steps (e.g. Westergaard 2008, 2009). By identifying the small steps in these processes (referred to as micro-cues), the project will increase our understanding of the human language faculty and the building blocks of language. It will also investigate the effect of more general factors such as complexity, frequency and economy in the acquisition and attrition processes. The MiMS project will thus make important contributions to current research in the fields of language acquisition, multilingualism and theoretical linguistics.

The MiMS project is divided into four Work Packages, and the successful candidate for this researcher/postdoc position is expected to participate in one or more of these. Please see the MiMS website for the full research proposal or contact the PI Marit Westergaard for further information.

Qualification requirements:
- A PhD in Linguistics or another relevant field (dissertation must have been submitted, but not necessarily defended by the application deadline, May 18).
- Experience with experimental methods in language acquisition.
- Native or near-native proficiency in Russian and/or Norwegian will be preferred.
- Excellent command of spoken and written English.

The applicants must provide a brief research proposal (3-5 pages), stating how their work will fit in and contribute to the research of the MiMS project.

Application Deadline: 18-May-2018

Web Address for Applications:
Contact Information:
Professor Marit Westergaard

Page Updated: 09-Apr-2018