PhD on conversation in lgs of W Africa and S America

Nick Enfield Nick.Enfield at MPI.NL
Wed Mar 24 09:43:20 UTC 2010

Apologies for cross-posting - Nick

Call for applications: PhD student positions in the study of language in social interaction, using video recording and analysis of everyday social interaction in a non Indo-European language of West Africa or South America.

There are two PhD student positions available in the project group 'Human Sociality and Systems of Language Use' (HSSLU), one working on a non Indo-European language of West Africa, the other on a non Indo-European language of South America. HSSLU is a 5-year project awarded to group leader Nick Enfield to compare systems of language use across diverse cultural settings, as a way of investigating universals and variation in human social behavior. The HSSLU project operates within the Language and Cognition Group at the Max Planck institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen. For information on the project, go to:

Successful applicants will be supervised by Enfield and one other member of the research team who has a specialization in the linguistics of the relevant area.

The PhD positions run for three years, and will begin on July 1, 2010. Applicants must meet the following four criteria for consideration: (1) an MA degree or equivalent in hand by June 30, 2010; (2) thorough knowledge of a non Indo-European language of West Africa or South America, including both knowledge of technicalities of the language's grammatical and semantic structures, and intuitions about idiomatic use of the language in conversational context; (3) established relations with a speech community, including access to the community for the purposes of standard ethnographic and descriptive linguistic work, including building a large corpus of video-recordings of everyday social interaction among a large variety of speakers and speech situations; (4) a keen interest in the role of language and cognition in human social life. Research will involve 2 to 3 field trips, between 2 and 6 months in length, depending on needs. All equipment and field expenses are provided by the project.

Apart from being a 'non Indo-European language of West Africa or South America', there is no particular constraint on which language the student will work on. Both native and non-native speakers of the language in question are welcome to apply, as long as they fulfil the criteria mentioned above.

Please mail expressions of interest to Nick.Enfield at Applications will be considered until the positions are filled.

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