Deadline for applications is 16 February, 2022.
The Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution (DLCE) at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (MI-EVA) invites applications for a a three-year PhD position, associated with the project "Beyond CALC: Computer-Assisted Approaches to Human Prehistory, Linguistic Typology, and Human Cognition (CALC³)", funded by the Max Planck Society in the form of a Research Grant that extends the ERC Starting Grant “Computer-Assisted Language Comparison (CALC)” awarded to Johann-Mattis List and the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution.
The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology unites scientists with various backgrounds (natural sciences and humanities) whose aim is to investigate the history of humankind from an interdisciplinary perspective with the help of comparative analyses of genes, cultures, cognitive abilities, languages and social systems of past and present human populations as well as those of primates closely related to human beings.
The Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution aims to answer big picture questions about human history. Our focus is on describing and explaining the major patterns of linguistic and cultural variation across the globe. We tackle these questions by developing novel language documentation methods, global linguistic and cultural databases, and analyses using evolutionary theories and computational methods.
CALC³ aims at applying the newly established framework of computer-assisted language comparison (https://digling.org/calc/) to tackle new research questions in the domains of historical linguistics, linguistic typology, and human cognition. In the subproject on historical linguistics, the project will focus on the reconstruction of phylogenies for language families in South-East Asia (such as Hmong-Mien) and South America (such as the Panoan languages) using new methods for the consistent annotation of cognate sets in lexical wordlists (List 2017, Wu et al. 2020, https://digling.org/edictor/). In the subproject on linguistic typology, we will investigate and expand methods for the inference of colexification networks from multilingual wordlists by expanding the data basis of the Database of Cross-Linguistic Colexifications and by designing new methods for the inference of colexifications networks (List et al. 2018, Rzymski et al. 2020, https://clics.clld.org). In the subproject on human cognition, we will investigate the relation between language and thought by comparing the cross-linguistic coding of concepts as reflected in colexification networks for various semantic fields (Jackson et al. 2019).
As a researcher in this project, you will have the chance to explore human prehistory, to actively assist the development of new methods for computer-assisted language comparison, and to shed light on the interaction between language and thought as reflected in cross-linguistic data.
Possible topics include:
- The evolution of one particular language family from South-East Asia or South America.
- The development and exploration of new methods for the inference of colexification networks.
- The investigation of cross-linguistic patterns of lexical coding from a typological and cognitive perspective.
- A Master’s degree in comparative linguistics, psycholinguistics, cognitive science, evolutionary biology, computer science, statistics, anthropology, or related field with an outstanding academic record.
- Good computational skills with a knowledge of Python or other programming languages and the commitment to learn or advance programming skills during the project duration.
- Strong proficiency in both spoken and written English.
- Strong analytical skills and proven self-motivation to complete independent work.
- Strong team player qualities (you will work in an interdisciplinary and international team where communication is crucial for the success of the project).
- Research experience in the field of historical linguistics, linguistic typology, or cognitive science/psycholinguistics is beneficial.
- Full-time position, starting on April 1st (or later), 2022, limited to 3 years with the possibility of an extension up to 4 years.
- Salary based on experience according to the German TVöD (E13, 65%).
- According to German labor laws, benefits include 30 days holiday per annum plus Bank Holidays as well as an attractive pension proposition.
- An inspiring, international, interdisciplinary environment with leading domain scientists at our department and in various Max Planck Institutes and universities.
- Space, freedom, support and resources to do all the things described above.
Please submit your application in English, including the following:
- Cover letter, explaining research experience and reason for interest in this project, along with a proposed research project (max. two pages).
- Your CV and copies of degree certificates (Bachelor’s/Master’s diplomas and/or transcripts).
- Names and contact information (including e-mail and phone) for 1-2 referees.
Please apply online (see link below). Only complete submissions via this link will be taken into consideration.
The Max Planck Society is committed to employing individuals with disabilities and especially encourages them to apply. Additionally, we seek to increase diversity of our workforce in areas where it is underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage women and members of underrepresented groups to apply.
More information regarding the CALC project can be found at https://digling.org/calc/
For the references cited, please see the tab “publications” at https://digling.org/calc/
For queries, please contact: iren_hartmann@~@eva.mpg.de and mattis_list@~@eva.mpg.de
using “[CALC³] Questions” as the subject of your email.
We look forward to receiving your completed online application at https://www.eva.mpg.de/ career .
Further information on the research agenda of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology is available on our website : www.eva.mpg.de.