PhD scholarships: RCLT, LaTrobe University, Melbourne

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald a.aikhenvald at LATROBE.EDU.AU
Tue May 20 08:19:31 UTC 2003

PhD scholarships in grammatical description

The Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University in 
Melbourne, Australia, invites applications from suitably qualified students 
to enter the PhD program.

Our PhD candidates generally undertake extensive fieldwork on a previously 
undescribed (or scarcely described) language and write a comprehensive 
grammar of it for their dissertation.  We prefer students to work on a 
language which is still actively spoken, and to establish a field situation 
within a community in which it is the first language.  Fieldwork 
methodology should be centred on the collection, transcription and analysis 
of texts, together with participant observation, and  at a later 
stage  judicious grammatical elicitation in the language under description 
(not through the lingua franca of the country). Our main areas of 
specialisation are the languages of Amazonia, the Papuan languages of New 
Guinea, and the Aboriginal languages of Australia.

PhDs in Australian universities generally involve no coursework, just a 
substantial dissertation. Candidates must thus have had a thorough 
coursework training before embarking on this PhD program.  This should have 
included courses on morphology, syntax, semantics, phonology/phonetics and 
comparative-historical linguistics, taught from a non-formalist 
perspective. We place emphasis on work that has a sound empirical basis but 
also shows a firm theoretical orientation (in terms of general typological 
theory, or what has recently come to be called basic linguistic theory).

The Research Centre for Linguistic Typology consists, at any one time, of 
about twenty scholars, working on a variety of languages and typological 
issues.  Besides the permanent staff of Professor R M W Dixon (Director) 
and Professor Alexandra Y Aikhenvald (Associate Director) we have an array 
of Research Fellows and PhD students; each year a number of senior scholars 
from across the world spend from three to six months with us as Visiting 
Fellows. Our personnel this year includes specialists on spoken languages 
from the following families or areas: Tsimshian, Mayan, Athapaskan, 
Eskimo-Aleut, Arawak, Arawá, Tacanan, Indo-European, Chukchee, 
Afro-asiatic, Niger-Congo, Khoisan, Tai-Kadai, Tibeto-Burman, 
Austro-asiatic, Papuan, Austronesian and Australian.

There is also an excellent Department of Linguistics in the Faculty of 
Humanities and Social Sciences at La Trobe University, whose faculty 
includes Professor Barry Blake, Associate Professor David Bradley, and Dr 
Hilary Chappell. And there are fine Departments of Linguistics at the 
University of Melbourne and at Monash University.

The scholarship will be at the standard La Trobe University rate, 
Australian $16,832 p.a.  Students coming from overseas are liable for a 
visa fee (effectively, a tuition fee); we will pay this. A small relocation 
allowance may be provided on taking up the scholarship. In addition, an 
appropriate allowance will be made to cover fieldwork expenses. The 
scholarship is for three years.

Further information about RCLT is at our website:
See, in particular, our February 2003 Newsletter, available on this web site.

Prospective applicants are invited to get in touch with Professor 
Aikhenvald at a.aikhenvald at, providing details of their 
background, qualifications and interests.

Professor Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, FAHA
Associate Director
Research Centre for Linguistic Typology
Institute for Advanced Study
La Trobe University
Bundoora, Vic
Australia 3086

e-mail a.aikhenvald at

phone:  61-(0)3-9479-6402 Uni
                 61-(0)3-9455-0020 home

fax             61-(0)3-9467-3053

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