PhD fellowship in Corpus Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition (L2 French)

The Centre for English Corpus Linguistics has an opening for a PhD fellowship for a total period of four years, starting February – June 2018.

The position is part of the FNRS-funded research project entitled Lexicogrammatical complexity in French as a Foreign Language: the impact of mode. The project is supervised by Magali Paquot (UCLouvain), with Alex Housen (VUB) as co-supervisor.

The project is part of a larger research programme that aims to define and circumscribe the linguistic construct of lexicogrammatical complexity, i.e. the complexity that arises from the (native-like) preferred co-selection of syntactic structures and lexical items in language use, within the framework of usage-based theories of language, and to theoretically and empirically demonstrate its relevance for L2 complexity research, and more generally for theories of L2 use and development (see Paquot, 2017; in press).

The main objective of the PhD project is to investigate the impact of mode (speech vs. writing) on lexicogrammatical complexity, with a focus on L2 French performance data.

Job description:

The research project is a joint venture between the Centre for English Corpus Linguistics (CECL) at the UCLouvain and the Center of Linguistics at the VUB. The candidate will be affiliated to the Institut Langage et Communication (ILC, UCLouvain) and will also prepare a joint UCLouvain-VUB PhD in Linguistics.

Activities that the candidate will perform include:

  • develop and implement (i) theoretical concepts in line with the focus of the research project and (ii) appropriate methodological procedures for investigating these concepts;
  • conduct corpus-based analyses of L1 and L2 French writing and spoken samples;
  • interpret the results of the analyses and report on the project in conference presentations and academic publications;
  • by the end of the four-year term, submit and defend a PhD dissertation based on the project.

Requirements and profile:

  • Master degree in Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Language & Literature, Natural Language Processing or in Language Learning and Teaching, with a master thesis on a topic relevant to the project (note: a degree in French Linguistics is an asset, not a requirement);
  • excellent record of BA and MA level study;
  • excellent command of French, very good command of English.
  • excellent and demonstrated analytic skills;
  • ability to work with common software packages (including MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint);
  • basic knowledge of corpus-linguistic techniques is a requirement
  • knowledge of statistics and statistical software is an asset;
  • programming skills in Perl or Python are also an asset;
  • excellent and demonstrated self-management skills, ability and willingness to work in a team;
  • willingness to live in or near Louvain-la-Neuve and to travel abroad (for short-term research stays and to attend international academic conferences).

Terms of employment:

  • the contract will initially be for one year, three times renewable, with a total of four years.
  • the candidate receives a doctoral fellowship grant (starting at approx. EUR 1868 net per month) and full medical insurance.
  • 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: Review of applications will begin on 1 February 2018, and continue until the position is filled

Please include with your application:

  • a cover letter in English, in which you specify why you are interested in this position and how you meet the job requirements outlined above;
  • a curriculum vitae in English;
  • a concise academic statement in French, in which you outline your expectations about and plans for graduate study and career goals;
  • a copy of BA and MA diplomas and 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) in the second half of February 2018.

Applications (as an email attachment) and inquiries should be addressed to:

Dr. Magali Paquot

Centre for English Corpus Linguistics

Université Catholique de Louvain

Email: magali.paquot@uclouvain.be

References

Paquot, M. (2017). The phraseological dimension in interlanguage complexity research. Special issue of Second Language Research on ‘Multiple approaches to L2 Complexity’ (guest editors: Alex Housen and Bastien De Clercq). 10.1177/0267658317694221

Paquot, M. (in press). Phraseological competence: a useful toolbox to delimitate CEFR levels in higher education? Insights from a study of EFL learners’ use of statistical collocations. Special issue of Language Assessment Quarterly on ‘Language tests for academic enrolment and the CEFR’.

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