PhD fellowship in Corpus Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition

The Centre for English Corpus Linguistics has an opening for a PhD fellowship for a total period of four years, starting as of October 2018 (later is also a possibility).

The position is part of the UCLouvain FSR-funded research project Particle placement and genitive alternations in EFL learner spoken syntax: core probabilistic grammar and/or L1specific preferences? (Promotor: Dr. Magali Paquot). The project stems from collaborative work between the promotor, Prof. B. Szmrecsanyi (KU Leuven) and Dr. J. Grafmiller (University of Birmingham) (e.g. Paquot, Grafmiller & Szmrecsanyi (2017)).

The PhD student will investigate the extent to which English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners share a core probabilistic grammar (cf. Bresnan, 2007) with users of first and second language varieties of English by analyzing variation in grammatical constraints on the particle placement alternation (for transitive phrasal verbs) and the genitive alternation in corpora of EFL learner spoken language. Methodologically, the candidate will build on annotation guidelines developed by Szmrecsanyi, Grafmiller and colleagues to describe the predictors that may influence speakers’ choice governing the alternations; s/he will also be expected to use a range of variationist analysis techniques.

Job description:

The research project is a joint venture between the Centre for English Corpus Linguistics (CECL) at the UCLouvain and the Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics (QLVL) group at the KU Leuven. The candidate will be affiliated to the Institut Langage et Communication (ILC, UCLouvain) and will also prepare a joint UCLouvain-KU Leuven 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 writing and spoken samples;

–        interpret the results of the analyses and report on the project in conference presentations and academic publications;

–        carry out a research stay at the University of Birmingham (to work in close collaboration with Dr. J. Grafmiller too);

–        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;

–    excellent record of BA and MA level study;

–    excellent 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, Python or R 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 1900 net per month) and full medical insurance.

–    The candidate will be expected to apply for a FNRS position after the first year.

–    The position requires residence in Belgium.

–  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 20 August 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 English 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 September 2018 (or later).


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

Dr. Magali Paquot

Centre for English Corpus Linguistics

Université Catholique de Louvain




Bresnan, J. (2007). Is syntactic knowledge probabilistic ? Experiments with the English dative alternation. In S. Featherston and W. Sternefeld (eds). Roots: Linguistics in Search of its Evidential Base. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 75-96.

Paquot, M, Grafmiller, J. & B. Szmrecsanyi (2017).Particle placement alternation in EFL learner speech vs. native and ESL spoken Englishes: core probabilistic grammar and/or L1-specific preferences? Paper presented at the 4th Learner Corpus Research Conference, 5-7 October 2017, Bolzano, Italy.

IJLCR 4.1 just out!


The third Vocab@ conference will be hosted by KU Leuven from 1 to 3 July 2019.

Previous Vocab@ conferences were held at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo in 2016 and Victoria University Wellington in 2013.

The Vocab@Leuven conference aims to bring together researchers from different disciplines who investigate the learning, processing, teaching, and testing of second/foreign language vocabulary.

Confirmed plenary speakers:

  • Batia Laufer (University of Haifa)
  • Marc Brysbaert (Ghent University)

Organizing committee:

  • Elke Peters
  • Paul Pauwels
  • Maribel Montero Perez
  • Eva Puimège
  • Ann-Sophie Noreillie
  • Thao Duong

The program will consist of paper presentations, poster sessions, invited colloquia and invited plenary speakers.

Types of presentations:

  • individual paper (20 + 10 minutes)
  • poster

We invite abstracts for paper and poster presentations about any topic related to second/foreign language vocabulary:

  1. vocabulary teaching (classroom-based research, technology-based, formal/informal learning, …)
  2. vocabulary assessment
  3. vocabulary and the skills of reading, listening, TV viewing, writing and speaking
  4. formulaic language
  5. corpus approaches to vocabulary
  6. psycholinguistic approaches to vocabulary
  7. neurolinguistic approaches to vocabulary
  8. vocabulary for specialized use (academic, business, technical, etc.)
  9. vocabulary resources (word lists, dictionaries, …)
  10. vocabulary and genre/register

Submission deadline: December 15, 2018

Research Associate – Corpus-computational linguistics and second language acquisition, University of Cambridge

A Post-Doctoral Research Associate position is available at the University of Cambridge to work with Dr Dora Alexopoulou and Professor Ianthi Tsimpli on the Leverhulme Trust grant “Linguistic typology and learnability in second language”.

The project aims to measure the impact of linguistic distance between L1 and L2 on the learning success of learners from different linguistic backgrounds. The empirical research will consist of a comprehensive corpus analysis exploiting the EF-Cambridge Open Language Database (EFCAMDAT) and the International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE). The main responsibility of the postdoctoral researcher is to conduct the corpus investigation and work with the investigators for the analysis of data and research publications.

The ideal candidate will have strong background in corpus linguistics and proven ability to work with NLP tools for extracting grammatical features and structures and to apply statistical analyses to the data. Experience with learner corpora and second language learning research is particularly welcome. Candidates will have completed a PhD in a relevant field.

The postdoctoral researcher will join the EF Research Lab for Applied Language Learning, the Processing and Language Acquisition Group and the Language Technology Group and become part of a multidisciplinary research community within Linguistics, and, more widely, within Cambridge Language Sciences.

This position is 100% FTE and funds for this post are available for 30 months in the first instance, starting on 16th of July 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter. The successful candidate will be a member of the Linguistics Section of the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Language.

The closing date for applications is midnight (BST) on 31st May 2018. Interviews will be held on 18 June 2018 at the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages, University of Cambridge, subject to confirmation.

For further information please visit


We are inviting applications for a three-year 0,5 PhD student position (E 13 TV-L on the German salary scale) in English linguistics the University of Bremen to be filled by 1 July 2018 or later.

Applicants have an MA in English (Applied) Linguistics (or a teacher degree with a focus on and final thesis in English linguistics) and a strong background and interest in either (learner) corpus research, Second Language Acquisition or varieties of English. Successful applicants are expected to carry out research on a dissertation in (applied) English linguistics. The teaching load comprises 2 hours per semester.

Further information about the research unit can be found online at For further enquiries write to the e-mail address specified below.

Non-native speakers of German should have at least a working knowledge of German. Detailed information about the German salary scale can be found here:

Applications deadline: 15 June 2018

Mailing address for applications (e-mail applications with letter of motivation, dissertation proposal, CV, and diplomas attached as a single PDF are preferred):

Prof. Dr. Marcus Callies
University of Bremen, Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies
English-Speaking Cultures
Bibliothekstraße 1, GW 2
D-28359 Bremen

Prof. Dr. Marcus Callies
Universität Bremen
FB 10 – Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften
English-Speaking Cultures – Arbeitsbereich Anglistik/Sprachwissenschaft
Bibliothekstraße, Gebäude GW 2, Büro A 3400
28359 Bremen
Tel.: +49-421-218-68150


Marie Curie Individual Fellowship (postdoc): Joint application at the University of Granada. Learner Corpora, SLA, anaphora resolution

Please advertise among colleagues/students who may be interested. Por favor, anunciar entre académicos/colegas que pudieran estar interesados. Gracias. Cristóbal

MSCA-IF: Joint application at the University of Granada. Department of English and German Philology.

    01/09/2018 12:00 – Europe/Brussels
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
    Spain, Granada
    International Research Projects Office
    Promotion and Advisory Unit


Professor Cristóbal Lozano, from the Department of English and German Philology at the University of Granada, welcomes postdoctoral candidates interested in applying for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (MSCA-IF) in 2018 at this University. Please note that applicants must comply with the Mobility Rule (more information:

Brief description of the institution:

The University of Granada (UGR), founded in 1531, is one of the largest and most important universities in Spain. It serves more than 60000 students per year, including many foreign students, as UGR is the leader host institution in the Erasmus program. UGR, featuring 3650 professors and more than 2000 auxiliary personnel, offers a total of 75 degrees through its 112 departments and 28 centers.

UGR is also a leading institution in research, located in the top 5/10 of Spanish universities by a variety of ranking criteria, such as national R&D projects, fellowships awarded, publications, or international funding. UGR is one of the few Spanish Universities listed in the Shanghai Top 500 ranking (, and it is also well recognized for its web presence (

Internationally, we bet decidedly by our participation in the calls of H2020, both at partner and coordination. For the duration of the Seventh Framework Programme, the UGR has obtained a total of 66 projects, with total funding of 17.97 million euros, and for H2020, until 2015, more than 25 projects with total funding of more than 6 million euros. Our more than 3,000 researchers are grouped into 365 research groups covering all scientific fields and disciplines.

Brief description of the Centre/Research Group

Research group members: The researh group is made of a group of linguists, mostly based at the Universidad de Granada, while the rest are in different European universities. A few postgraduate students (MAs and PhDs) also participate in the project.

· Universidad de Granada (UGR) team:

Madrid team (UAM: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid): Amaya Mendikoetxea (PhD): learner corpora, SLA, generative grammar.

· Balearic team (UIB: Universidad de las Islas Baleares): Pedro Guijarro-Fuentes (PhD): SLA.

· Bremen team (University of Bremen, Germany): Marcus Callies (PhD): Learner corpora and SLA.

· Thessaloniki team (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki): Despina Papadopoulou (PhD): SLA, learner corpora and psycholinguistics.

· PhD students Granada: there are currently 3 PhDs working on topics related to the project (Teresa Quesada, UGR; Fernando Martín-Villena, UGR; Kim Collewaert, VUB-UGR)

Project description


Research project title: ANACOR (A corpus-based approach to anaphora resolution in second language acquisition: beyond the interfaces).

Research project length: Jan 2017 – Dec 2020

Main goals: To understand how learners of a second language (L2) use anaphoric forms (overt/null pronouns, and also NPs) to refer to their antecedents in previous discourse. We will use large corpora and fine-grained annotation to investigate this in several language combinations: L1 English/Greek/Japanese – L2 Spanish as well as L1 Spanish/German – L2 English. Our ultimate goal is (i) to better understand the mechanisms underlying the language of adult bilingual learners of a second language (in relation to anaphora resolution); (i) to create new electronic resources (corpora) like COREFL (L1 Spanish/German-L2 English) and enlarge existing corpora like CEDEL2 (L1 English/Greek/Japanese/German-L2 Spanish) to investigate anaphora resolution.

Candidate’s profile: The candidate will be working in the following lines of research within the project:

  • Second Language Acquisition (SLA) / Bilingualism
  • Learner corpora
  • Anaphora resolution

Project website and details:

Corpora of the research team:


Research Area

  • Economic Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities (ECO-SOC)

For a correct evaluation of your candidature, please send the documents below to Professor Cristóbal Lozano ( ):

  • CV
  • Letter of recommendation (optional)


A fully-funded PhD studentship in Linguistics at Lancaster University

We are pleased to announce that a full funding is available for a three-year PhD in Linguistics at Lancaster University, beginning in October 2018 on the topic of “Phraseological competence in spoken L1 and L2 English: Using corpus methods to inform language testing”.


The PhD studentship is funded by the ESRC North West Social Science Doctoral Training Centre (NWSSDTP) and will be undertaken in collaboration between Lancaster University (the Department of Linguistics and English Language) and Trinity College London. The studentship covers full-time academic fees and provides a yearly stipend (£14,553). It also includes access to a Research Training Support Grant (RTSG) for reimbursement of research related expenses including – but not limited to – conference attendance and training courses. The PhD studentship offers an excellent opportunity to work with a team of experts at a world-leading Linguistics department.

The application deadline is 9th April 2018.

To read more about the project, the eligibility criteria and the application process, please visit

Summer School: Learner Corpus Research – Theory and practical applications

The faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies at the University of Bremen, Germany, is pleased to announce that it will host a summer school on Learner Corpus Research in August 2018, organised under the aegis of the Learner Corpus Association.

The aim of the event is to introduce researchers into the field of Learner Corpus Research through a series of overview lectures and hands-on sessions. The summer school is targeted at both young researchers, e.g. PhD students who have recently embarked on a learner corpus project, but also more experienced researchers from neighbouring fields such as corpus linguistics, SLA or LTA who want to know more about this dynamic, interdisciplinary field of research.

The following topics will be covered:
– an overview of the field of LCR and its resources
– learner corpus methodology and annotation
– statistics for the analysis of learner corpus data
– combining learner corpora with other data types in SLA research
– a selection of elective modules (consisting of a lecture and hands-on session) depending on the needs and interests of the participants

The classes are taught by an international team of leading experts in the field. Participants will also have the opportunity to give a brief presentation on their project and meet one of the teachers to discuss their projects individually.


– registration fee: EUR 55
– no tuition fees
– small bursary for international PhD students towards their travel expenses

Online registration opens on Friday, January 26th, at noon. For practical reasons, the number of participants is restricted to 22 people. In order to register, download our application form, fill it in and sent it by e-mail to Mrs. Reinhilt Schultze at

Best wishes
Marcus Callies

2018 Duolingo Shared Task on Second Language Acquisition Modeling (SLAM)

Duolingo invites research teams to participate in the first SLA Modeling (SLAM) Shared Task, in conjunction with the 13th BEA Workshop and the NAACL-HLT 2018 conference. You can access the detailed task description at: .

The goal of this task is to predict future mistakes that learners of English, Spanish, and French will make, based on a history of mistakes they have made in the past. The data set contains more than 2 million tokens (words) from exercises submitted by 6,000+ students over the course of their first 30 days using Duolingo (

New and interesting research opportunities in this task:

– There are three tracks for learners of (1) English, (2) Spanish, and (3) French. Teams are encouraged to explore features which generalize across all three languages.
– Anonymized learner IDs and time data will be provided. This allows teams to explore various personalized, adaptive SLA modeling approaches.
– The sequential nature of the data also allows teams to model language learning (and forgetting!) over time.

Training and development data, baseline code, and evaluation scripts are now ready and available for the task. Test data will be release in February 2018, with final evaluations taking place in March. For more details, please consult the task website.

Shared Task Website:

Shared Task Discussion Group:!forum/sla-modeling

Important Dates:

Jan 10, 2018 – Data release (phase 1): TRAIN and DEV sets
Feb 19, 2018 – Data release (phase 2): blind TEST set
Mar 19, 2018 – Final predictions deadline
Mar 21, 2018 – Final results announcement
Mar 28, 2018 – Draft system papers due
Apr 16, 2018 – Camera-ready system papers due
Jun 05, 2018 – Workshop at NAACL-HLT in New Orleans!

Task Organizers:

Burr Settles (Duolingo), Chris Brust (Duolingo), Erin Gustafson (Duolingo), Masato Hagiwara (Duolingo), Bozena Pajak (Duolingo), Joseph Rollinson (Duolingo), Hideki Shima (Duolingo), Nitin Madnani (ETS)

Best regards,
SLAM Shared Task Organizers