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Department of Modern Languages - Out of Our Minds

  • Funded PhD Programme (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Programme (Students Worldwide)

Profile Description

Background:

The Department of Modern Languages at The University of Birmingham invites applications for one funded PhD studentships to commence in February 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is open to applicants who hold (or will hold by the start date) an MA qualification in the areas of English Language or Linguistics, with interests in Psychology and Computer Science. They are intended for writing a PhD dissertation in the framework of a Leverhulme-funded project led by Professor Dagmar Divjak in collaboration with Dr Petar Milin.

Over five years, the award from the Leverhulme Trust will allow us to develop new, accurate ways of describing speakers' linguistic knowledge, by using machine-learning techniques that mimic the way in which humans learn. The patterns we find will be verified in laboratory settings and then tested on adult foreign language learners to see if such patterns can help them learn a foreign language in a way that resembles how they learned their mother tongue.

The aim is to lead a step-change in research on language and language learning by capturing the linguistic knowledge adult speakers build up when they are exposed to a language in natural settings. These insights will help with the development of strategic language teaching materials to transform the way in which we teach foreign languages.

More information about the project can be found here: https://outofourminds.shef.ac.uk

The project involves interdisciplinary research in linguistics, psycholinguistics and computational modelling and we are recruiting one PhD student to assist the team with the collection and analysis of English data and the dissemination of the results through conference presentations and journal publications. Details and requirements for the vacancy can be found below. The post offers the opportunity to join a multidisciplinary team consisting of linguists, psychologists and computer scientists. You will receive training and development in corpus linguistics and psycholinguistics, in advanced statistical data analysis as well as in computational modelling and software engineering, according to your interests and future career plans.

Eligibility:

The successful candidate must document proficiency in English, as well as hold a postgraduate degree in English Language and/or Linguistics. In addition, it is an advantage but not a requirement that the candidate has one or more of the following qualifications:
• a background in (Cognitive) Linguistics, Cognitive Science (language-related studies), or Psycholinguistics
• experience in designing and running language experiments, using a range of designs and technologies
• functional knowledge of Corpus Linguistics and some experience using a range of electronic text corpora and/or language-research resources (e.g., ELP/BLP, LSA, HAL, HyDEx)
• knowledge of statistics for data analysis

Apply:

Applications for this studentship should be sent to the College of Arts and Law Graduate School:

Applicants are required to submit the following:

• A CV listing any publications
• A max 1500-word project proposal that describes how you would investigate the knowledge users of English have of the morphology or syntax of their language [https://outofourminds.shef.ac.uk]. Examples include, but are not limited to, articles (a(n), the), tenses, aspect, prepositions. We are interested in data-driven approaches to this question that fit within a wider usage-based framework.
• A copy of your MA certificate and transcripts; if these are not yet available, please attach a letter from your MA supervisor
• An electronic copy of your MA dissertation or of the most current draft
• The names and contact details of two academic references
• If English is not your official language, evidence of English proficiency needs to be submitted (an IELTS score of at least 7 overall, with 6.5 in each component part)

Only complete applications submitted before the deadline will be considered.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by Skype in mid-January 2019.

Funding Notes

Successful candidates will commence study on 1 February 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The studentship is available for three years full-time and will cover PhD tuition fees for UK/EU students, plus a stipend £14,777 per annum (2018/19 Research Council rate). International students are also eligible to apply, and will receive a reduction in tuition fees equivalent to the Home/EU rate if successful. International students would be expected to cover the difference between international and UK/EU tuition fees.

The grant also includes an annual allowance to attend conferences.

Further information can be found here:
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