PhD Candidate: “Prosodic cues to syntactic reanalysis: experimentally tracking Jespersen’s cycle in progress”

The project “Prosodic cues to syntactic reanalysis: experimentally tracking Jespersen’s cycle in progress” is opening a fully-funded 4-year PhD position in linguistics at Ghent University, with a monthly salary of approximately € 1900 starting September 2019 (or earlier). The project is embedded in the research group DiaLing (Diachronic and Diatopic linguistics), and forms a multinational collaboration between the universities of Ghent (Belgium), Kent (UK), and Padova (Italy).

The project:
The project explores how prosody interacts with syntactic structure at different stages of an ongoing syntactic change using experimental methods. Concretely, it will study the incipient stages of Jespersen’s Cycle in Northern Italian dialects, testing the hypotheses (i) that the reanalysis of an emphatic reinforcer of the expression of negation as a neutral marker of sentential negation should correlate with greater intra- and inter-speaker variability in the prosodic encoding in both production and perception, and (ii) that unclear prosodic encoding can advance an ongoing syntactic reanalysis. Besides supervision at Ghent University, the project will involve fieldwork at the University of Padova, annotation and analyses of prosody in dialectal production data, and perception experiments with dialect speakers. Parts of this work will be conducted at the University of Kent.

The supervisory team:
The PhD project is a collaboration between the universities of Ghent, Kent and Padova. The supervision is shared between the members of the team as follows:
(i) at Ghent by Prof. Dr. Breitbarth (historical syntax and language change) and Prof. Dr. Crocco (syntax/ prosody interface and prosody of Italian)
(ii) at Kent by Dr. Rathcke (intonational phonology and perception of prosody)
(ii) at Padua by Dr. Garzonio (Italian dialectology and Northern Italian dialects)
Required training will be provided by the team members, the Doctoral Schools at Ghent and the Graduate School at Kent. The project further involves attendance of Summer Schools and conferences.

– A Master degree in Linguistics (candidates due to obtain their degree in autumn 2019 are welcome to apply), specialising in prosody, syntax or Italian dialectology
– Native or near-native knowledge of Italian
– Good knowledge (in speaking and writing) of English
– Good interpersonal skills, which are required for the field work
– A background in any subset of Italian dialectology, fieldwork experience, (historical) syntax, prosody, or phonetics would be an asset
How to apply:

The application (in English) should include:
– An extensive CV
– A covering letter, outlining your background, experience and motivation for this position
– Copies of education certificates, and a transcript of records of the MA (or equivalent)
– One written piece of work (e.g. BA-thesis, MA-thesis, a paper/manuscript submitted for a publication or a PhD exposé)
– Contact information (e-mail) of two academic referees

The envisaged starting date is September 2019 (or earlier). You are welcome to contact Prof. Crocco if you have further questions.

Please send your application by email by 1 June, 2019 to Prof. Dr. Claudia Crocco: The interviews will take place on 4 July in Padua.

Applications Deadline: 01-Jun-2019

Mailing Address for Applications:
Attn: Prof. Claudia Crocco
Ghent University, Dept. of Linguistics
Blandijnberg 2
Ghent 9000

Contact Information:
Prof. Claudia Crocco