LINGUIST List 32.1118

Mon Mar 29 2021

Jobs: Typology; Language Acquisition: Rank Open, University of Zurich

Editor for this issue: Becca Morris <>

Date: 23-Mar-2021
From: Manuela Rossini <>
Subject: Typology; Language Acquisition: Rank Open, University of Zurich, Switzerland
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University or Organization: University of Zurich
Department: Department of Comparative Language Science
Job Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Web Address:
Job Title: 3–5 post/doctoral positions at DCLS/ISLE (4 years, 60% PhD / 80% Postdoc)

Job Rank: Rank Open

Specialty Areas: Language Acquisition; Typology; Indo-European Linguistics; First Language Acquisition


The Department of Comparative Language Science at the University of Zurich and the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language Evolution (ISLE) invite applications for 3–5 4-year junior research positions (Postdoctoral Researcher and/or PhD) in typology, Indo-European linguistics, and first language acquisition. The positions are embedded in the interdisciplinary research project ‘The evolution of structural units in language’ funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Gerda-Zeltner Fellowship program.

The main goal of the project is to explore the evolution of core linguistic units over time, such as the transmission of various types of word-like units (e.g. phonological and grammatical words or various phrasal chunks). The project addresses this question in first language acquisition across diverse languages, in patterns of language evolution across typological samples, and in the history of Indo-European across different areal contexts. The project combines large-scale corpus studies with the analysis of typological databases and qualitative data acquisition. The team is led by experts in first language acquisition (Sabine Stoll), historical linguistics (Paul Widmer), and typological linguistics (Balthasar Bickel) in collaboration with several postdocs and senior researchers in the department.

The successful candidates will become part of a larger interdisciplinary research team situated at the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language Evolution ISLE and the National Center of Competence in Research NCCR Evolving Language

We are looking for a PhD student or Postdoc, specialised in any of the three areas (see A, B, C below).

The group leaders would then chose 3-5 applicants (depending on their rank).

A: Indo-European linguistics, philology and historical linguistics, with a strong interest in comparative/typological/evolutionary questions and a solid background in qualitative data acquisition and analysis as well as at least some experience with quantitative methods. Possible focus areas are western Indo-European languages/Anatolian and eastern Indo-European languages/Indo-Iranian.

B: Typology and areal linguistics, with a strong interest in comparative and evolutionary questions. The ideal candidate has a solid background in both qualitative and quantitative methods of typological, areal and/or historical linguistics.

C: First language acquisition, with a strong interest in typological variation, corpus linguistics and quantitative methods. Solid background in a scripting language is required (preferred languages R or Python). The candidate will work with the ACQDIV database including longitudinal first language acquisition data (age range 2-4) of 15 typologically diverse languages.

Research environment:
We offer work in an interdisciplinary and international team located at the University of Zurich. Researchers are expected to have a strong commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and teamwork. Doctoral students will be embedded in the Linguistics Doctoral Program of the University of Zurich.

Postdoctoral positions include teaching obligations of maximally one course per semester. Salaries correspond to SNSF pay scales. The department places great emphasis on gender balance; we particularly encourage women to apply.

Cover letter (motivation and qualifications, max. 2 pages); curriculum vitae; contact details of two referees; writing sample (max. 2 pages, e.g. abstracts);

PhD applications: also transcripts of bachelor’s and master’s courses; Postdoc applications also a publication list and a dissertation abstract.

Complile these documents into a single PDF labelled ‘LingUnits-YourSurname-Position.pdf’ (where Position is either “either “A”, “B”, or “C” and “PhD” or “Postdoc”, e.g. LingUnits-Meyer-A-PhD)

Application Deadline: (Open until filled)

Email Address for Applications:
Contact Information:
Professor Paul Widmer

Page Updated: 01-Apr-2021