With the launch of a new ?NCCR Evolving Language? (http://www.snf.ch/SiteCollectionDocuments/nfs/Faktenblatt_NCCR_evolvinglanguage_en.pdf <http://www.snf.ch/SiteCollectionDocuments/nfs/Faktenblatt_NCCR_evolvinglanguage_en.pdf>), which involves nearly 40 different research groups from a large variety of disciplines across Switzerland, we seek to fill two fully funded PhD student positions for a four-year project starting in May 2020.

Our goal is to understand how hierarchical syntactic structures are generated during speaking in the brain. The tools that we use in the Work Package ?Structure Planning? to this end are neural oscillatory power analyses and eye tracking. PhD student 1 will investigate the planning and production of syntactic structures of varying complexity in EEG and eye tracking experiments on German and French. PhD student 2 will use intracranial EEG data to study the neural underpinnings of syntactic planning processes in French narrative speech, integrating methods from computational linguistics (e.g. corpus-based information theoretic measures) and machine learning (e.g. bringing together EEG signals and speech patterns).

The PhD students will be based at the University of Zurich (Prof. Martin Meyer, Prof. Balthasar Bickel, Dr. Sebastian Sauppe) and will closely collaborate with the Auditory, Speech and Language Neuroscience group (Prof. Anne-Lise Giraud) and the Brain and Language Lab (Prof. Narly Golestani) at the University of Geneva. The working language in the project is English.


University of Zurich


The ideal candidate holds an MA/MSc in (computational) linguistics, cognitive science, psychology, computer science or a related field, has a basic knowledge of syntax and linguistics, and has an interest in the experimental study of language processing and production. The ideal candidate also possesses experience with programming (R, Python), machine learning techniques and computational linguistics tools; experience with EEG is an advantage. Fluent French in speaking and writing is an essential requirement.

Educational level:

Master Degree

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