LINGUIST List 30.4699

Thu Dec 12 2019

Support: Swedish; Old Norse; Latin; Historical Linguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics: PhD, Humboldt-University of Berlin

Editor for this issue: Becca Morris <>

Date: 12-Dec-2019
From: Muriel Norde <>
Subject: Swedish; Old Norse; Latin; Historical Linguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics: PhD, Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany
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Department: Department of Northern European Studies
Web Address:

Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: Humboldt-University of Berlin

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Historical Linguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics

Required Language(s): Latin (lat)
                            Norse, Old (non)
                            Swedish (swe)


The Department of Northern European Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is seeking to appoint a a PhD researcher starting as soon as possible. The post is part time (65%), for a fixed-term period of four years.

The position is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), as part of the Collaborative Research Center ''Language-users‘ knowledge of of situational-functional variation.'' The PhD researcher will be appointed in the subproject ''Register emergence and register change in Germanic'' with Prof. Dr. Karin Donhauser, Prof. Dr. Muriel Norde and Dr. Lars-Erik Zeige as principal investigators.

The main aim of this project is to study the emergence of registers in two early Germanic languages and to explore register change over time. The relation between register and language change is an understudied topic in historical linguistics, which so far has focused primarily on space and time as dimensions of variation. Nevertheless, there is evidence that specific authors vary in their use of lexical items, as well as in their use of morphological and syntactic patterns, according to situational-functional settings. There is furthermore evidence that medieval texts were linguistically adapted to different audiences. In both cases, the attested variation is, in part at least, register-specific. The focal languages of the project, German and Swedish, are comparatively well documented for the relevant time periods (ca. 750-1050 for German and ca. 1250-1450 for Swedish) and belong to the same language family. What is more, the development of more formal registers in both of these languages is strongly associated with literacy, Christianization, and the emerging functional bilingualism of Latin and the vernaculars.

For our study of emergent registers, we initially concentrate on individual authors with a comparatively wide range of text production. We adopt this approach in order to avoid problems related to the unbalanced representation of different genres in the historical corpora of the Germanic languages. It furthermore enables us to filter out other variables, such as time and place. Adopting a bottom-up approach, we will identify lexical, morphological, and syntactic features with relatively high frequency in specific textual functions (e.g. narrative, revelatory, educational, scientific, or legal), drawing data from (annotated) corpora as a basis for quantitative analysis.

For the project on register emergence in Old Swedish we invite applications from candidates with a MA in Scandinavian Linguistics or in General Linguistics with a focus on North Germanic. In-depth knowledge of Scandinavian language history and at least one older Scandinavian language (preferably Old Swedish) is required, as well as experience in corpus linguistics and statistics. Basic reading knowledge of Latin is preferred, but may also be acquired as soon as possible after appointment.

For further particulars and to apply for this post please contact Muriel Norde at

Applications Deadline: 27-Dec-2019

Web Address for Applications:

Contact Information:
        Prof. Dr. Muriel Norde

Page Updated: 12-Dec-2019