LINGUIST List 32.2029

Fri Jun 11 2021

Support: Language Acquisition; Sociolinguistics: PhD, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Editor for this issue: Becca Morris <>

Date: 11-Jun-2021
From: Laura Rosseel <>
Subject: Language Acquisition; Sociolinguistics: PhD, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
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Department: Center for Linguistics (CLIN)
Web Address:

Level: PhD

Institution/Organization: Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Language Acquisition; Sociolinguistics


The research groups ‘Center for Linguistics’ (CLIN) of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and ‘Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics’ (QLVL) of the Faculty of Arts at KU Leuven, Belgium, invite applications for a four year junior researcher-position on a new research project funded by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO). The title of the project is: ‘Acquiring social meaning of language variation: an experimental exploration.’

Language varies in many different ways. People for instance use different words to refer to the same object or they pronounce words in various ways. Listeners often associate this language variation
with presumed social attributes of the speaker (e.g. level of education). This is referred to as the social meaning of language variation.

This project studies how people learn this type of sociolinguistic meaning. More concretely, the project aims to answer four questions about this acquisition process.
- What is the role of memory in the acquisition process of sociolinguistic meaning and which linguistic factors influence retention and attrition of newly acquired meanings?
- Do adults need a more robust link between linguistic form and social meaning than children- to ensure acquisition?
- How quickly are second order indexical meanings inferred from newly learnt first order indexical meanings?
- What type of linguistic feature gets most easily imbued with new social meanings?

- Development and execution of the proposed research project.
- Conduct literature review
- Design and conduct experiments
- Analyze data in light of the objectives (four case studies)
- Present results at national and international conferences.
- Report results in international refereed journals.
- Follow specialized courses through the research school.
- Provide teaching assistance at undergraduate level and assist in the supervision of undergraduate students (maximum 10-15%).

Applications are invited from candidates with the following qualifications:
- A master’s degree in either Linguistics or in Linguistics and Literature or other relevant master’s degrees - final year students who are sure they will obtain their master’s degree in September 2021 or January 2022 can also apply. An outstanding record of undergraduate and Master's level work is an asset.
- A curious, enterprising, and creative mind;
- Excellent analytical skills and a passion for research;
- An interest in and talent for working in the field of experimental and developmental sociolinguistics;
- A good command of (written and spoken) English; willingness to learn some basic Dutch
- The ability to present research results at international conferences and to publish in academic journals;
- A cooperative attitude and the ability to work independently as well as in a team;
- Previous experience in experimental design is considered an asset.

The junior researcher to be appointed on this project, will be working under the supervision of Prof Dr Laura Rosseel (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Prof Dr Eline Zenner (KU Leuven) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Funding is available for 4 years. The appointment is initially for the duration of 1 year (starting date determined in mutual agreement with the candidate) and will be extended given satisfactory achievements. Salaries are more than competitive with international standards.

To apply, please visit the application link provided below.

Web Address for Applications:'Acquiring-social-meaning-of-language-variation-an-experimental-exploration'/683492001/

Contact Information:
        Prof Dr Laura Rosseel

Page Updated: 11-Jun-2021