PhD position in pragmatics and psycho-/sociolinguistics

PhD position in pragmatics and psycho-/sociolinguistics
3-year PhD position in pragmatics and psycho-/sociolinguistics, starting January 2021

The Humboldt University of Berlin invites applications for 1 PhD position (Reference number: DR/143/20) to be filled on a fixed-term basis of 3 years (01.01.2021-31.12.2023) in the research group of Prof. Dr. Mingya Liu at the Department of English and American Studies.

Job Description: The candidate is to participate in the research activities within the DFG-funded research project “Pragmatic Functions and Effects of Register Variation and Switch: a Register approach to negation and polarity” (RATNAP). Responsibilities include particularly the investigation of negation and polarity items, and the publication of the results.

–   The RATNAP project: The construction of social meanings is dependent on the grammatical properties of linguistic expressions and the functional-situational properties where they are used. However, the nature of this dependence is far from clear, and to acquire a better understanding of it, we need to combine the study of register and grammar. Negation and polarity phenomena have received treatments in both formal linguistic and sociolinguistic research. However, these two strands of research have been conducted without closer interactions in the past. In this project, we will study three sets of related phenomena in varieties of English: negative concord, pleonastic negation, and register-sensitive use of negative polarity items (NPIs). A register approach to these phenomena will help us understand the pragmatic functions and effects of register variation, and their interaction with linguistic alternatives with form or meaning distinctions. With a combination of theoretical, corpus, and experimental linguistic methods, the project aims to 1) define the linguistic variables and their contexts related to register-sensitive variation of negation and polarity expressions using theoretical and corpus linguistic methods, 2) form hypotheses on the pragmatic functions and effects of register variation and test them through experimental methods as well as, 3) interpret and model the results in the face of current theories of register.

–   The candidate is expected to pursue a PhD in linguistics.
–   The RATNAP is one of the participating projects in the Collaborative Research Center CRC1412 (in German, SFB) ‘Register: Language Users’ Knowledge of Situational-Functional Variation’ at the Humboldt-University of Berlin and the Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS). The CRC has an Integrated Graduate School serving, among others, the Ph.D. students and early career postdocs in the CRC.
–   The position will be part-time (65%); salary and social benefits are determined by the German public service pay scale (E13 TV-L).

Requirements: Applicants should have completed an excellent academic degree (Master/Diploma) in linguistics, cognitive science, psychology or related fields by the planned start date of 01.01.2021. PhD holders are not eligible for this position.
–   Knowledge of formal semantic- and pragmatic theories, and experience with sociolinguistic or psycholinguistic methods (experimental design, data analysis) is mandatory, as well as an excellent command of English.
–   The candidate should have skills of taking initiative, collaboration and time management.
–   Knowledge of a variety of English (e.g. Black English, Hong Kong English, etc.) or experience with corpus-linguistic methods is not required, but a plus.

Application Deadline: September 2, 2020

Please send your application with the following documents by e-mail (using the subject line: DR/143/20: your full name) in one single PDF-file to 1) motivation letter, 2) CV, 3) certificates, 4) names of 2 references.

HU is seeking to increase the proportion of women in research and teaching, and specifically encourages qualified female scholars to apply. Severely disabled applicants with equivalent qualifications will be given preferential consideration. People with an immigration background are specifically encouraged to apply. Since we will not return your documents, please submit copies in the application only.
Further information can be obtained from Mingya Liu ( Please visit our website which gives you access to the legally binding German version.

The event is finished.


Sep 02 2020

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