LINGUIST List 32.1507

Fri Apr 30 2021

Support: Linguistic Theories; Semantics; Syntax: PhD, Universität Leipzig

Editor for this issue: Becca Morris <>

Date: 30-Apr-2021
From: Barbara Stiebels <>
Subject: Linguistic Theories; Semantics; Syntax: PhD, Universität Leipzig, Germany
E-mail this message to a friend

Department: Institut für Linguistik
Web Address:

Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: Universität Leipzig

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Linguistic Theories; Semantics; Syntax


The project “Optimal matches between clause-embedding predicates and their clausal complements” offers two PhD positions (payscale: TVL-E13, 65%) with funding for four years (starting from October 1st, 2021). The project which will be part of the Research Unit “Cyclic Optimization” (Leipzig University), funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

The project investigates the matching requirements of clause-embedding predicates (CEPs) and their clausal complements (CCs) and the linguistic means to improve that match in case of potential incompatibilities: (i) by semantic enrichment/modification of the CC (= top-down effect; e.g., “harmonic modals”) or (ii) by coercion of the CEP (= bottom-up effect). The project will also look at the role of polysemy/vagueness of the CEPs for control, raising, NEG-raising, restructuring and other clausal complementation properties. A further topic is the propagation of cyclic/non-cyclic properties in the stacking of CEPs in recursive embedding. The project team will include the PI, the two PhD students and a student research assistant.

The tasks of the PhD students include the following:
- Study (and model) the role of top-down effects in the optimization of the match of CEP and clausal complement clause and the role of the polysemy of CEPs for the clausal complementation properties of the respective predicates
- Study (and model) the role of bottom-up effects in clausal embedding (coercion of CEPs and semantic specification of vague CEPs by material in the CC) and cyclic/non-cyclic effects of CEP stacking in recursive embedding.
- Help to build up a cross-linguistic database on clause-embedding predicates

Applicants should have an M.A. in Linguistics or related fields and have a strong interest in the lexical semantics of clause-embedding predicates and the syntax of clausal complementation. In addition, applicants should be interested in cross-linguistic data collection. Previous experience with data elicitation in a foreign language is a plus.

The PhD students are expected to participate in the rotation program of the Research Unit (RU), which involves two 2-month internships in other projects of the RU, and the courses offered in the RU training program. The PhD students will have access to travel money for conferences.

Further information about the project and the RU can be found on the website

Applications should include the following supporting documents:
- Letter of motivation (1-2 pages, in English or German) that clarifies the research interests of the applicant, in particular detailing how these would fit in with the research goals of the project
- Representative sample of research work (e.g., an advanced seminar paper or M.A. thesis): in English or German
- Two letters of recommendation
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- Copy of M.A. degree (to be handed in latest by October 1, 2021, if not already available by June 30, 2021)

All supporting documents for the application should be emailed electronically as a single pdf file (the M.A. degree to be scanned in) to Prof. Barbara Stiebels (subject line: cyclop phd synsem; email address given below). The recommendation letters should be emailed directly to this address by the referees.

Applications Deadline: 30-Jun-2021

Contact Information:
        Prof. Dr. Barbara Stiebels

Page Updated: 03-May-2021