The Institute of Romance Studies at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of Cologne is looking to fill a position as Postdoc in the Collaborative Research Centre: SFB 1252 “Prominence in Language” in subproject C01 “Prominence and information structure” (Principal Investigator: Professor Aria Adli).
Starting is December 1st, 2017 with a weekly working time of 39,83 hours. The position is a fixed-term work contract ending on 31st of December 2020. The salary is based on the German E13 TV-L scale if terms and conditions under collective bargaining law are fulfilled.

Area of responsibility:

The focus of this research project is the linkage between prominence and information structure through examining the following: 1) the role of prominent syntactic positions in non-canonical word order, 2) the competition between various prominent topic candidates in canonical word order.

The postdoc supports the PI with regard to project coordination and works on the following scientific issues:

– She/he will examine non-canonical word order phenomena (primarily the sentence periphery and postverbal subjects in Spanish, Catalan and possibly Persian, clefts and others in French). The research will be corpus-based, include language comparison and will employ methods of inferential statistics. The focus is on the linkage between information structure and prominent syntactic positions.
– She/he will explore possibilities of modelling syntactic prominence and information structure (e.g. rule based vs. probabilistic). These are to be discussed in relation to relevant current literature on the linkage between syntax and information structure.
– She/he will refine the annotation structure for the multilingual corpus of spoken language sgscorpus.com (with regard to prominent syntactic positions, information structure, definiteness/specificity, etc.). She/he will instruct and train the student annotators and decide problematic cases of annotation.


University of Cologne


– She/he is able to coordinate day-to-day business with the PI to ensure that project goals and deadlines are met. For this purpose, she/he will implement a time and task management scheme that incorporates the differing areas of work and coordinates all employed personnel. Good communication skills and the ability to work well in a team are required.
– She/he is capable of working with superior efficiency due to her/his result-oriented and well-organized work approach and can proficiently access new fields of study.

Job prerequisites:

– Ph.D. in linguistics
– International research experience in the field of syntax, information structure and at the interface with related fields of linguistics, as documented via publications
– Sound knowledge of corpus linguistics (annotation, corpus queries) and quantitative analysis of corpus data

Language requirements:

– A flawless command of spoken and written English and a high level of proficiency in French and/or Spanish as well as sufficient structural knowledge to perform analytical and corpus-based work in at least one of the other languages examined in the project (i.e. French, Spanish, Catalan, Persian). Knowledge of German is a plus, candidates without knowledge of German should be willing to gain proficiency within a realistic timeframe.

Educational level:

Ph. D.

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