PhD position - Language description and documentation

Stephen Morey S.Morey at LATROBE.EDU.AU
Tue May 24 20:16:59 UTC 2011

PhD position in Language Description and Documentation

The Moklum (Tangsa) language of North East India

The Research Centre for Linguistic Typology (RCLT) at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia ( invites applications from suitably qualified students to enter its PhD program in order to do a documentation and description of the Moklum variety of the Tangsa language (ISO 639-3:nst). This PhD is part of an Australian Research Council funded Future Fellowship project headed by Dr. Stephen Morey, entitled A multifaceted study of Tangsa – a network of linguistic varieties in North East India.
The Tangsa are around 70 subgroups who live on both sides of the India-Myanmar border. All the groups speak distinct varieties, some mutually intelligible and some not. The total population of the Tangsas may be around 50-60,000, an average of less than 1,000 per group. The Moklum variety is one of the largest of the Tangsa groups spoken in India.
The successful candidate will have experience in linguistic documentation/description in languages of South East, East or South Asia. Preference will be given to a student with an MA or other proven research capability. Following a period of academic preparation at the RCLT, they will undertake immersion fieldwork in the Moklum area, of no more than one year’s duration across the time of the PhD candidature, and probably consisting of two field trips. Fieldwork methodology centres on the collection, transcription and analysis of texts, together with participant observation, and appropriate grammatical elicitation. The texts recorded will form part of a language documentation: recording a range of linguistic styles and building a corpus of linguistic data that can be archived in international digital archives that are available to both specialist linguists and the speakers of the language.
Candidates are encouraged to ground their thesis in theoretical models of their own choosing, but with a clear basis in the empirical study of natural data and with a firm grounding in general typological literature and work done on related languages.
The RCLT has a long tradition of field work based linguistic description, and consists at any one time of around ten PhD students and several Postdoctoral Fellows, plus six permanent members and several Honorary Fellows. Each year a number of senior scholars from across the world spend time with us as Visiting Fellows.
PhDs in Australian universities generally involve no coursework, just a substantial dissertation. Candidates must therefore have had thorough coursework training before embarking on this PhD. This should have included courses on morphology, syntax, semantics, phonology/phonetics and comparative-historical linguistics.
The scholarship will be at the standard La Trobe University rate, Australian $22,500 p.a.  Tuition fees will be covered by a separate scholarship. A small relocation allowance may be provided on taking up the scholarship. In addition, appropriate allowance will be made to cover fieldwork expenses. The scholarship is for three years (with the possibility of a six month extension).
Closing date for international applicants:                                 30TH JULY 2010
Closing date for Australian and New Zealand applicants:     30TH AUGUST 2010

      Prospective applicants are invited, in the first place, to get in touch with the project leader, Dr. Stephen Morey, at s.morey at, providing details of their background, qualifications and interests (including a curriculum vitae).

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