Job: PhD position in historical computational linguistics, KU Leuven

A PhD position is offered as part of the FWO-funded project « Population developments co-determine diffusional language change: a close-up view on West-Germanic languages », under the supervision of Prof. Freek Van de Velde and Prof. Hubert Cuyckens (co-supervisor). The project is to be carried out within the research group ‘Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics’ (QLVL), which is part of the Department of Linguistics. QLVL has a strong tradition in language variation and change. The group focuses on advanced quantitative methods for studying lexical and constructional variation.

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This project investigates the relation between urban population developments and morphological changes in three major West-Germanic languages, English, Dutch, German, from the beginning of Early Modernity to the end of Classical Modernity (1500-1900). The main hypothesis is that morphological simplification accelerates when urban populations grow. Put more succinctly: word structure becomes simpler when cities grow. The reason is that the growth in this period is brought about mainly by immigration involving speakers from different dialects and different languages, resulting in what linguists call ‘koineisation’ (dialect leveling) with a decrease in morphological complexity. We take a decidedly quantitative approach, relying on linguistic databases (text corpora) as well as on demographic databases.


An eligible candidate should

  • have successfully completed a Master’s Degree in Linguistics, a Master’s Degree in Language & Literature, a Master’s Degree in Digital Humanities (or equivalent). Students finishing their MA degree in the summer of 2019 are also encouraged to apply.
  • have an interest in and demonstrable background knowledge on the history of the Germanic languages (minimally English and German)
  • have an interest in quantitative approaches to linguistics
  • have hands-on experience with coding in R and/or Python.
  • be proficient in English, including mastery of academic writing
  • be willing and able to deepen their knowledge of theories of language change and language variation.

Familiarity with historical corpora of Early New High German is a plus.


A full-time PhD position is offered for 1 year (starting in October 2019), with the perspective of prolongation with another 3 years. The successful candidate will become part of a small team of researchers investigating language variation and language change. S/he will author international scientific publications. S/he will be able to develop a variety of skills, including programming, statistics, knowledge of earlier stages of English, German, and Dutch, but also writing and presentation skills as well as organizational skills. S/he will be able to attend international meetings and to meet and collaborate with enthusiastic fellow linguists. Teaching load is limited to up to 10% of the time. The starting net monthly salary is about 2000 euros.


For more information and/or a detailed description of the project, please contact Prof. dr. Freek Van de Velde <>. Applicants should include a CV, a letter of motivation and one piece of academic writing demonstrating their skill as a linguist and researcher.

You can apply for this job no later than July 07, 2019 via the online application tool on the website:

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

Summer School: Cognitive linguistic applications to second language teaching: From Theory to Practice

21-24 August 2019, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

The workshop aims to provide interested researchers in the field of applied linguistics (PhD students, PostDocs and others) with a strong methodological background on how to test the effectiveness of cognitive linguistic approaches to language teaching by means of classroom-based studies. To this end, the program of the workshop includes both talks reporting the most recent advances in the field and hands-on sessions, requiring the participants to further their own research. Participants will have the opportunity to receive specialized feedback, become familiar with practice examples and actively engage in discussion. The workshop will be held in English, but pedagogical applications for other foreign languages such as Spanish, German and French will be showcased. Researchers working on any foreign language are strongly encouraged to participate.
Minimum Education Level: Undergraduate

Cognitive linguistic approaches such as cognitive grammar and construction grammar are best suited to elucidate grammar principles that often remain hidden to language learners, since they use imagery and embodied experiences to make grammar’s meaningfulness more transparent to learners. Although their potential is widely accepted, empirical research so far still needs to provide a clear understanding of how these approaches can best be translated into effective teaching practices, especially for languages others than English. In the field of applied linguistics, assessing the effectiveness of such approaches in controlled classroom settings remains an exciting, but challenging endeavor. Therefore, the present workshop addresses some of the questions regarding the testing of cognitive linguistic approaches in the form of interventional studies in classroom settings, such as the following:

– How should the treatment be designed in order to align with the most recent advances in language pedagogy?
– Which study designs are best suited to assess the impact of the treatment?
– How can measurements be constructed and validated?
– Which statistical methods are best suited for the analysis of variables?

Keynote Speakers

Robert Blake (University of California Davis)
Thomas François (Université catholique de Louvain)
Jörg Roche (University of Munich)

Tuition Explanation: Participation is free of charge.

Registration: 10-May-2019 to 15-Jul-2019
Contact Person: Mathieu Lecouvet

Apply here.

Registration Instructions:
Participants will be required to submit a short abstract about their current research project(s).

11th International Conference on Construction Grammar (ICCG11)

Construction grammars in and between minds, communities, computers

ICCG11 will take place at the University of Antwerp (UAntwerpen), Belgium, 20-22 August 2020. ICCG11 will cover a broad range of topics related to constructionist approaches to language. The conference also acts as a forum of discussion between approaches, including cognitive construction grammar, embodied construction grammar, fluid construction grammar, radical construction grammar, sign based construction grammar, frame semantics, or other approaches. The conference theme is: how do constructions model language in minds, communities, or computers? Submissions for presentations, posters, or workshops are particularly welcomed along the lines of this theme, but submissions may also be related to other aspects of constructionist linguistics.


Nick Ellis (University of Michigan) – language learning

Luc Steels (Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona) – computational linguistics

Evelina (Ev) Fedorenko (MIT) – neurolinguistics

Gabriele Diewald (Hannover University) – historical linguistics

Steffen Höder (Kiel University) – language contact


Information on how to submit an abstract is available here.

Job: research assistant in Natural Language Processing (UCLouvain)

The Institute for Language and Communication ( has an opening for a research assistant (part-time 50%) in Natural Language Processing for a max. period of three years, starting 1 October 2019.

The position is part of a large multidisciplinary project that aims to investigate socio-cognitive conflicts in online educational platforms: “MOOCresearch2.0: A mixed-method and multidisciplinary approach to socio-cognitive conflicts in online educational platforms” (Prof. M. Frenay, Prof. F. Lambotte, Dr. Magali Paquot & Prof. V. Swaen) (see for more info). As such, the research assistant will be working with researchers from the Centre for English Corpus Linguistics (, the Social Media Lab (, the Interdisciplinary Research Group in Socialisation, Education and Training (GIRSEF,, the Center on Consumer Relations and Responsible Marketing (CERMA, and the Centre for Natural Language Processing (CENTAL,

Job description

  • The research assistant will provide support to the project team by performing a variety of tasks such as:
  • Data pre-processing: anonymization, normalization
  • Data structuring: linking up different data types (forum posts, user profiles, learners’ questionnaires, logs, etc.)
  • Data enrichment: part-of-speech tagging, language recognition, topic detection, etc.
  • Data analysis and visualization
  • The research assistant will also work in close collaboration with the CENTAL to provide access to the compiled corpus via a user-friendly online concordancer. Another important task of the research assistant will be to implement sustainable solutions for the automated treatment of incoming data.

Requirements and profile:

  • Master degree in Natural Language Processing
  • excellent record of MA level study;
  • programming skills in Python or Perl
  • experience with NLP for social media is an asset
  • knowledge of statistics and statistical software is an asset
  • very good command of French and English
  • excellent and demonstrated analytic skills
  • excellent and demonstrated self-management skills
  • ability and willingness to work in a team

Terms of employment:

  • The contract will initially be for one year, two times renewable, with a total of max. three years.
  • The monthly gross salary is min. 3317 EUR.
  • The position requires residence in Belgium, preferably in or near Louvain-la-Neuve
  • Applicants from outside the EU are responsible for obtaining the necessary visa or permits, with the assistance of UCLouvain staff department.

Application Deadline: 31 May 2019

Please include in your application:

  • a cover letter in French, in which you specify why you are interested in this position and how you meet the job requirements outlined above;
  • a curriculum vitae in French or English;
  • an outline of previous work or research experience in English
  • a copy of your BA and MA degrees;
  • a copy of your master thesis and academic publications (if applicable);
  • the names and full contact details of two academic referees.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview (in situ or via video conferencing) on 24 or 26 June 2019. Please save the dates!

Enquiries and applications should be addressed by email to Dr. Magali Paquot (

Job: computer scientist with NLP background, CENTAL, UCLouvain

  • full time (100%) for an indefinite period
  • for the Centre for Natural Language Processing (CENTAL) of the Institute for Language and Communication (ILC) in the Human Science Sector
  • in Louvain-la-Neuve
  • starting date: 1 August 2019


CENTAL is a technology platform associated with UCLouvain’s Institute for Language and Communication and specialising in the study of computerised language processing. The platform’s tasks cover both research and teaching. CENTAL collaborates on projects at several research centres within UCLouvain and various industry partners by offering its expertise in natural language processing (NLP). It also organises expert training in text data analysis. Its skills can be grouped into two main areas of activity: “NLP for information processing” (which includes projects connected with information extraction, information retrieval, text classification, etc.) and “NLP for language learning” (which includes projects related to computer-assisted language learning, readability, etc.).

Job description

  • Project management (50%): you will be responsible for IT development and will coordinate various projects of the Centre involving automatic text data processing (collection, standardisation, analysis, labelling, etc.)
  • System administration (25%): you will assist with the installation, configuration and maintenance of computer infrastructures and will identify future needs
  • Monitoring of technological developments: (10%) you will monitor emerging NLP technologies in order to provide an optimum response to the issues raised
  • Interface development (15%): you will develop user interfaces for the tools developed by CENTAL

Qualifications and skills required

Applicants must have the following:

  • Master’s degree in Computer Science, Linguistics or equivalent (specialising in natural language processing, machine learning or artificial intelligence)
  • computer skills:
    • programming languages: Python, knowledge of C and/or C++ is a plus
    • web technologies: HTML, Javascript, CSS
    • editing language: XML
    • databases: SQL Server, MySQL and PostgreSQL
    • systems: Linux and Windows
    • virtualisation environments: VMWare and/or Proxmox (or a willingness to learn how to manage them)
  • knowledge of the main NLP tools and algorithms
  • knowledge of French and English (at least level B2)
  • ability to work as part of a team, excellent listening skills and ability to analyse needs, adaptability

For more info,

Application deadline: 19 May 2019

Job: Native Spanish linguist, Acapela (Mons)


The candidate is a native Spanish speaker with a training in linguistics and phonetics. He/she will be part of a team that designs, develops, tests, and deploys Text-To-Speech technologies supporting a range of products and services in a large portfolio of languages. With other members of the team, he/she will participate in the development of a new Spanish voice that will help a large number of people around the world.

Job description

  • Assist computer scientists in the development of a new Spanish voice
  • Native Spanish speaker
  • Fluent in English or French to communicate with the team
  • Checking audio recordings versus text script (word mistakes, erroneous pronunciations…)
  • Validate phonetic lexicons
  • Phonetic validation of audio recordings
  • Curiosity about phonetics and languages
  • Working knowledge of Windows or Linux
  • Team player with good interpersonal skills


8 weeks


1-week training session in Mons (Belgium), possibility to work partly from home

Hourly rate

30 EUR/h

Start date

 As soon as possible


Vincent Pagel

Acapela Group R&D and Linguistic Resources Manager

Address: bvd Dolez, 33 B7000 MONS

About Acapela Group

Acapela Group brings together talented people from very different backgrounds and areas of expertise, resulting in a rich cultural and multilingual environment. We work on voices and languages, we look at the whole world and all application fields to help us create authentic and genuine voices that change or simplify people’s daily live

Linguistique générale 101. Réflexions sur l’enseignement de la linguistique

3 mai 2019, Namur, Belgium

Journée organisée par le Département de Langues et littératures romanes et par l’Institut NaLTT.

Contact et inscription (souhaitée pour le 26 avril) :

Affiche et programme <


Mot d’accueil de David Vrydaghs, Doyen de la Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres de l’UNamur

9h15-9h30 Mot de présentation par Jean-Louis Vaxelaire (UNamur)


Philippe Blanchet (Université Rennes 2)
« Monter un cours magistral d’introduction aux sciences du langage en 1ère année de licence d’information-communication : quelles orientations ? quelles modalités ? Réflexions sur une expérience à l’Université Rennes 2, en Bretagne »

10h30-11h00 Sami Mabrak (Université Lyon 2), Djamel Boukhalet et AbdessamedLamiche (Université Med Boudiaf de M’sila)
« De la convergence à la divergence dans l’enseignement de la linguistique »
11h00-11h30 Pause-café


Borko Kovačević, Maja Đukanović & Vesna Polovina (Université de Belgrade)
« Les expériences et les directions possibles du développement de l’enseignement de la linguistique générale »

12h00-13h00 Patrick Charaudeau (Université Paris 13)
« Les possibles raisons de l’invisibilité de la linguistique dans les sciences humaines et sociales »




François Rastier (CNRS)
« Linguistique et littérature : « énonciation » ou création ? »


Vince Liégeois (Université de Gand) « Vers un Cours de grammaire générative »

15h30-15h45 Pause-café


Aurélie Sinte (Université de Namur)
« L’analyse du discours oral au service de l’enseignement universitaire »


Laurence Meurant (Université de Namur, LSFB-lab)
« La linguistique générale à l’épreuve des langues signées »


CfP: Sixth Ghent Colloquium on Afrikaans

16-18 October 2019, Ghent, Belgium

The Ghent research group on Afrikaans and the study of South Africa organises an annual colloquium on the linguistics and literature of Afrikaans. The overall theme of the linguistic component of this year’s edition is ‘Language Variation in Afrikaans’, broadly construed (i.e. including geographical, social, stylistic, etc. variation in present-day Afrikaans as well as diachronic variation). The plenary speaker is Gerald Stell (The Polytechnic University of Hong Kong), who will present new research on Namibian Afrikaans.
The conference languages are Afrikaans and Dutch.

Call for Papers:

We invite abstracts for original research papers on any aspect of language variation in Afrikaans, past or present. Possible topics include — but are definitely not limited to:

– the relations between Standard Afrikaans and other varieties of the language;
– the status, use and linguistic characteristics of Cape Afrikaans;
– the restandardisation debate;
– the emergence of new sociolects;
– the use of Afrikaans outside South Africa and the properties of expat Afrikaans;
– the use of Afrikaans in specific text types or contexts.

In addition, we also welcome papers dealing with variation along geographical, social, ethnic, stylistic, etc. lines in the use or properties of specific lexical or grammatical items or phenomena, as well as papers which shed new light on the diachrony of Afrikaans in general or of specific linguistic phenomena.

Please send your anonymous abstract as an attachment in pdf- and doc(x)-format to by April 15 and include name(s) and affiliation(s) in the body of the abstract. The maximal length is 500 words, including examples and references. Abstracts are preferably in Afrikaans or Dutch. Abstracts in English are welcome, too, but please note that speakers will be expected to give the actual presentation in Afrikaans or Dutch.

Notification of acceptance will be sent by mid-May.

CFP: Novel Perspectives on Communication Practices in Antiquity Towards a Historical Social-Semiotic Approach

03-05 Oct-2019, Ghent, Belgium

We are delighted to invite interested scholars and colleagues to participate in the opening event of the ERC-project ‘Everyday writing in Graeco-Roman and Late Antique Egypt. A socio-semiotic study of communicative variation’ (2018-2023).

The main aim of the conference is to explore to what ex­tent it is possible and desirable to found a discipline such as historical social-semiotics, parallel to historical socio-linguistics. This novel, interdisciplinary approach is particularly relevant for ‘everyday’ documentary texts: since these texts represent autographs, their external characteristics can also be brought into interpretation. Some of the characteristics to be considered as expressions of social meaning (functioning as ‘semiotic resources’) are – but are not limited to – writing material, document format, and language choice.
The conference will mainly focus on documentary texts from the Mediterranean region, roughly spanning the period from the first millennium BCE to the first millennium CE.

Confirmed speakers include:

James Clackson (Cambridge)
Mark Depauw (Leuven)
Jean-Luc Fournet (Paris)
Antonella Ghignoli (Rome)
Tonio Sebastian Richter (Berlin)
Petra Sijpesteijn (Leiden)

Call for Papers:

Please submit a one-page English abstract to by April 30, 2019. Notification of acceptance will be given by June 1, 2019.

A full version of the CfP can be found here:

CFP: European Symposium Series on Multimodal Communication

09-10-Sep-2019, Leuven, Belgium

The 6th European and 9th Nordic Symposium on Multimodal Communication aims to provide a multidisciplinary forum for researchers from different disciplines who study multimodality in human communication as well as in human-computer interaction. The 2019 edition of the MMSYM symposium is organized by the MIDI research group (Multimodality, Interaction & Discourse) based at the Linguistics Department of the University of Leuven, Belgium.

The symposium follows up on a tradition established by the Swedish Symposia on Multimodal Communication held from 1997 until 2000, and continued by the Nordic Symposia on Multimodal Communication held from 2003 to 2012. Since 2013 the symposium has acquired a broader European dimension, with editions held in Malta, Estonia, Ireland, Denmark and Germany. This year the symposium will be held in Belgium for the first time.

The past ten years have witnessed a spectacular increase in research on multimodal communication from a variety of perspectives and (sub)disciplines, including (corpus) linguistics, conversation analysis, human-computer interaction research, and (critical) discourse analysis. This has not only led to a range of novel insights into the dynamics of embodied and situated communication (see e.g. Müller et al. 2013, 2014 for an overview), but has also been the catalyst for the development and implementation of methodological innovations, including the use of high-quality (including multi-angle) video recordings, the integration of input from motion capturing systems, biometric sensor systems and eye-tracking into a multimodal analysis pipeline, the exploration of (semi-)automatic annotation techniques for large-scale corpora, and the implementation of multimodal interaction in computer interfaces. Despite the rapid development of the fields involved, many questions still need to be resolved and new challenges emerge for research on multimodal communication. The MMSYM symposium aims to provide a forum for the discussion of these challenges.

Confirmed invited speakers:

Federico Rossano
University of California San Diego, Cognitive Science – Comparative Cognition Lab

Lindsay Ferrara
NTNU Trondheim, Department of Language & Literature

The 2019 edition of the MMSYM Symposium zooms in on the theme of Multimodal Interaction, with a specific focus on corpus-based and experimental approaches to multimodal interaction in spoken and signed language. Recent corpus-linguistic as well as experimental work has provided evidence for multimodal patterns in face-to-face communication as the most basic form of human interaction. The MMSYM aims to provide a forum for this particular line of research.

Apart from this specific theme, the symposium is open for contributions covering all aspects of multimodal communication, including but not limited to:

Speech, gestures and signs in human communication
– Intercultural aspects of multimodal behaviour
– Multimodality aspects of language acquisition (both L1 and L2)
– Multimodal human computer interaction and conversational agents
– Multimodal systems for sign language users
– Multimodal health communication
– Multimodal communication, communication disorders and communication support
– Multimodal dialogue systems
– Multimodal corpora
– Sign language corpora
– Annotation schemes and tools for multimodal corpora
– Automatic recognition and interpretation of different modalities and their interaction
– Machine-learning techniques applied to multimodal data
– Evaluation methods for multimodal systems

Submission Guidelines:

We invite proposals for paper presentations of up to 500 words, including references. If relevant, links to multimedia clips that are made available online can be included in the abstract. All references to authors should be omitted for purposes of blind review.
Abstracts should be submitted as pdf files and sent to before 25 April 2019. Please make sure to add the following information in the body of that e-mail:

– names of authors
– title
– preferred presentation format (i.e. presentation or poster)

Important Dates:

– Deadline for abstract submissions: 25 April, 2019
– Notification of acceptance: 15 May, 2019
– Revised abstracts: 15 August, 2019
– Symposium dates: 9-10 September, 2019