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PhD candidate Cross-linguistic semantics

Vacancy number
22-751 13185
Job type
PhD positions
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
15 November 2022
Closing date
6 December 2022 Vacancy closed

The Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) is looking for a:

PhD candidate Cross-linguistic semantics (1,0 FTE)
Vacancy number: 22-751 13185

Project description
The NWO Open Competition project On the representation of quantities: how our brains shape language will investigate properties of quantity expressions in human language from the perspective of how quantity is represented in the brain. It aims to identify how and to what extent the mental representation of quantity determines its linguistic expression, thus seeking to connect results from cognitive research on quantity representation to properties of quantity expressions in languages of the world. The project includes large scale data collection from a typologically representative sample of languages using different methodologies.

For this project, we are currently looking for a PhD candidate (this vacancy) and a Postdoctoral Researcher (see vacancy number 22-753).

Key responsibilities

  • Creating a cross-linguistic database with detailed information on quantity expressions in a typologically representative sample of languages
  • Testing and refining hypotheses that connect cross-linguistic generalizations to existing knowledge of mental quantity representations
  • Presenting research results at international conferences and workshops
  • Publishing research results and write a PhD-thesis
  • Participating in the research group of the project (including outreach activities)

Selection criteria

  • Completed (Res)MA degree in linguistics
  • Demonstrable affinity with data driven, cross-linguistic research
  • Experience with data collection
  • Affinity with semantics and theoretical linguistics
  • Good command of English
  • Preferred qualifications include experience with database design and programming skills

Our organisation
Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) is one of seven Institutes that falls under the Faculty of Humanities. With over 120 linguists working at the Institute, it is a rich research environment that prides itself on fostering scientific excellence. At LUCL we offer extensive research support to our researchers. For example, our in-house grant officer will advise and help you apply for grants, a dedicated project officer will guide you with project finances and a communications advisor is on hand to assist you in publicising your research. 
LUCL has a longstanding tradition in the study of the world’s languages and features unique linguistic expertise. Current theoretical insights are combined with modern experimental methods in its research profile area ‘Language Diversity in the World’. Researchers from our six umbrella research groups are experts in their respective fields but equally find innovative ways of collaborating with other fields and disciplines. 

The Faculty of Humanities is rich in expertise in fields such as philosophy, religious studies, history, art history, literature, linguistics and area studies covering nearly every region of the world. With its staff of 995, the faculty provides 27 master’s and 25 bachelor’s programmes for over 7,000 students based at locations in Leiden and in The Hague. For more information: https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/humanities.

Terms and conditions

Appointment will be according to the terms of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten). The employment will be for a period of four years (first a contract of 18 months with an extension of 30 months after positive evaluation of capabilities and compatibility), starting 1st February 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter. The appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis.

Salary range from €2541.- to €3247.- gross per month (pay scale P), in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. More at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at/job-application-procedure-and-employment-conditions.

Diversity and inclusion
Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

For further information on this project please contact Prof. dr. Jenny Doetjes, email j.doetjes@hum.leidenuniv.nl, or on practical matters Mr. Maarit van Gammeren LLM, email m.s.k.van.gammeren@hum.leidenuniv.nl.

Please submit online your application no later than 12/06/2022 via the blue button in our application system.

Applicants should submit online:

  • A motivation letter;
  • A detailed curriculum vitae;
  • A (link to a) pdf of your MA thesis and a pdf of an article or a term paper that you wrote;
  • A list of all Master-level modules you have taken, with an official transcript of grades;
  • Names, positions and contact information of two referees (no reference letters).


Interviews are planned between 12th and 22nd December.

Enquiries from agencies are not appreciated.

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