PhD-Fellowship in descriptive linguistics (Spanish) at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven)

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship in descriptive linguistics (Spanish) starting November 2018 at the Department of Linguistics of the University of Leuven.

The aim of this doctoral project is to describe a relatively recent phenomenon involving the spreading of the conditional form into new territories, semantically and pragmatically, in the variety of Spanish spoken in and around the Río de la Plata Basin. The project will focus on the analysis of structures such as Estarían necesitando una caja de Rivotril’They need a box of Rivotril’ (lit. they would be needing of box of Rivotril), which do not receive a plain conjecture, prospective or attenuation interpretation, but which parody the rumouror ‘journalistic’ conditional in order to express speaker’s subjective stance or judgement. The starting hypothesis of this project is that this recent constructional change follows a cline of sujectification from less subjective over more subjective to intersubjective. The dialogal and dialogic nature of language and the social context in which the construction is used takecenter stage.The phenomena to be analysedinclude morphosyntax, semantics-pragmatics, prosody, and discourse functions. More information about the project can be requested by e-mail.

Applicants are expected to have the following qualifications and attitudes:

  • an MA in theoretical linguistics (or related disciplines), with academic distinction;
  • expertise and (near-)native competence in Spanish and English;
  • a good background in the domains of linguistics relevant to the topic;
  • strong analytical skills and the motivation to pursue descriptively innovative work in linguistics;
  • demonstrable skill in academic writing;
  • willingness to undertake the study of prosody;
  • willingness to acquire the necessary statistical know-how for the analysis of the data;
  • the ability to present research results at international conferences;
  • a cooperative attitude and the capacity to actively participate in activities and in events of the research group and department.

Motivated candidates meeting these criteria are invited to apply online according to the instructions given at

Please include a cover letter, a CV, the names of up to three referees, and a sample piece of academic writing (either the cover letter or the sample piece of writing should be in English). The deadline for applications is 15September2018.

Interviews will be held with shortlisted candidates on 25-26 September(in person or online for overseas applicants). A decision will be communicated by the end of September.

The fellow will receive a salary of approximately 2000 EUR/month (after taxes) for a period of two yearsduring which s/he will be expected to apply for external funding. S/he will also receive all regular provisions for PhD fellows at the University of Leuven. In addition, s/he will be allocated office space and a laptop, and receive funding for research activities like attending conferences abroad and organising workshops and conferences in Leuven or elsewhere.

The successful candidate may be asked to provide (limited) assistance with teaching, student supervision and data management. S/he will join the dynamic research group FunC (Functional and Cognitive linguistics: Grammar and Typology) in the Department of Linguistics.

For further information, you can contact Prof. María Sol Sansiñena  <>.

Starting date: November 2018

End date: October 2020