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Job offer : PhD grant in experimental linguistics

The EFL LabEx is offering a 3 year PhD grant in “Experimental grammar from a crosslinguistic perspective”, full time, about net 1700 euros/month, starting in the Fall 2021 at the University of Paris (Ecole doctorale Sciences du langage).

The candidate must have a Master degree by November 2021, with a specialization in linguistics, computational linguistics or psycholinguistics.

He or she will be affiliated to the Laboratoire de linguistique formelle ( Funds will be available for travelling expenses, equipment and experiments.

He or she will be part of the Doctoral School Sciences du langage (, and of Paris Graduate school in Linguistics (, and will attend doctoral seminars and may be able to teach courses in the Department of Linguistics.


The application should be sent by April 15th 2021 (midnight MET) to

It should comprise:

- a CV (max 5 pages) with transcripts (Master) and diplomas

- a motivation letter with explicit mention of the chosen project /workpackage

- the names and contact of two referees for reference letters

The candidates selected for interviews will send their Master thesis or other written work supporting their qualification for the project.

They will be interviewed (remotely) in May 2021

The application file must target one of the following projects/workpackages:

1) Workpackage Relative clauses : acquisition, typology, description (REL)

dir: Anne Abeillé ( co-dir: Barbara Hemforth

Profile: Evaluating meaning based approaches to locality constraints: The project will be based on previous experiments on English and French ‘subject’ islands which show cross-constructions differences to locality constraints (with it-clefts and wh-questions being subject to the contrainst while relative clauses are not). The goal will be to test other ‘islands’, other constructions and other languages.

2) Workpackage Ellipsis and Fragments

Profile: Evaluating meaning based approaches to elliptic constructions: based on previous corpus studies and experiments, showing acceptable VP ellipsis with nominal antecedents, or acceptable RNR with voice mismatch, the goal will be to test other elliptical constructions and other mismatches, for example gender mismatch in gapping and stripping.

3) Workpackage Pluralities, worlds and events (PLU)

Profile 1: Scalarity and mini/maximisers

Possible topics for a PhD thesis include (i) corpus-based analyses of the role of ' single'---or its counterparts in other languages---in the narrow scope interpretation of indefinite nominals with the function of minimiser, (ii) corpus-based analyses of intensifier uses of 'single' akin to maximisers and possibly inducing exhaustification effects, (iii) a diachronic analysis of the evolution of the Latin singulus to its descendants in Romance languages; (iv) a more theory-oriented research that would attempt a formal characterisation of these types of use, aiming at clarifying the respective roles of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic factors. Profile 2: Superlatives and definiteness

Romance languages do not have a dedicated morphological marker for the superlative (no counterpart of the English -est or most) but instead convey superlative meanings by using comparative markers associated with definiteness. This morphological uniformity corresponds to quite different syntactic configurations, depending on whether the definite article is part of a superlative constituent or instead realizes the determiner of the overall nominal projection. Possible topics for a PhD thesis are: (i) Superlative adverbs and quantity superlatives (i.e., superlatives of MANY/MUCH, FEW/LITTLE) across Romance languages; (ii) Superlatives in predicative positions across Romance languages; (iii) Definiteness marking and the absolute vs relative readings of superlatives.

The candidate is expected to have some previous knowledge of formal syntax and semantics. Expertise in pragmatics and diachronic studies are a plus.

4) Workpackage Language specific prosodic cues in online sentence comprehension (PROCUE)

Profile: Prosodic priming as a window into prosodic and syntactic boundaries

The goal of this PhD project is to investigate language-specific uses of prosodic structure for sentence processing by comparing French and English. Previous work on processing suggests that prosodic boundary plays an important role in syntactic (ambiguity) resolution. Yet, the question remains as to what type of prosodic information guides (and anticipates) listeners’ online sentence interpretation, and how listeners process prosodic information (e.g. incremental type of processing). In the current PhD project, these questions will be tested with a series of experiments on “prosodic priming”, based on EEG and eye-tracking. This thesis will contribute to deepen our understanding on the interaction of language and cognition.


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