LINGUIST List 32.1525

Mon May 03 2021

Support: Computational Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Morphology; Phonology; Syntax: PhD, Universität Leipzig

Editor for this issue: Becca Morris <>

Date: 30-Apr-2021
From: Greg Kobele <>
Subject: Computational Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Morphology; Phonology; Syntax: PhD, Universität Leipzig, Germany
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Department: Linguistics
Web Address:

Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: Universität Leipzig

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Computational Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Morphology; Phonology; Syntax


The project "Computational Aspects of Cyclic Optimization" offers two fully funded 4-year PhD positions (payscale: TVL-E13, 65%) (starting from October 1st, 2021). The project is part of the Research Unit “Cyclic Optimization” (Leipzig University), funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

This project investigates the formal properties of cyclic optimization, both its descriptive and explanatory power and its relation to other modes of grammatical analysis. The ultimate goal is to understand what it would tell us about language, were aspects of it to be (even only best) describable in terms of cyclic optimization.

Some topics of study include:
- The proper understanding of cyclicity across grammatical domains,
- The (weak/strong/derivational) generative capacity of mechanisms for cyclic optimization, and
- The realization of these mechanisms in a language processing device.

The PhD students will assist in formalizing cyclicity and cyclic optimization in a grammar formalism and studying its properties; for example, incorporating the transformational cycle into a syntactic grammar formalism (e.g. by extending minimalist grammars with a mechanism of feature inheritance), or studying the effects of derivational step optimization on syntactic formalisms (e.g. by extending minimalist grammars with local optimization), or extending and refining harmonic serialism. They are expected to write a PhD thesis on (these or) related topics.

Applicants should have an M.A. in Linguistics, Computer Science, or related fields and have a strong interest in grammar formalisms. Knowledge of German is not required.

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. Greg Kobele (subject line: cyclop phd comasp; email address given below). The recommendation letters should be emailed directly to this address by the referees.

Contact Information:
        Prof Dr Greg Kobele

Page Updated: 03-May-2021