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Five Year Postdoctoral Position, Australian National University: The Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity

This is a job advert for a computational linguist/cultural evolutionist at the Australian National University in Canberra.  It's basically the dream job for a modeller - you'll get to help design the data that a team of field linguists collect, then be handed loads of linguistic and demographic data to model.   And 5 years is a huge amount of job security for an early career researcher.  

The official advert follows:

This position is being re-advertised with a new deadline of March 2nd 2014.

Applications are invited from suitably qualified scholars for a postdoctoral fellowship to work with Prof Nick Evans' Laureate Fellowship project, ‘The Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity’. The role of this position will be to develop appropriate computationally-based models of language change and diversification in small-scale and multilingual language communities, in close collaboration with a team of field linguists who will be gathering on-the-ground data from field sites in Aboriginal Australia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa, and small-scale communities in Australia (English) and Latin America (Spanish or Portuguese). Full details of the position and a background description of the project can be found at:

This is a five year fixed term research position within the School of Culture, History and Language, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, commencing June 30th, 2014.

The successful applicant will have a PhD in a relevant discipline. S/he will carry out independent and team based research as per project plan and focus on computational modelling of language evolution within the overall team, who will be collecting data and feeding that data back into the models being developed. The appointee will work under the supervision of the Laureate Project Leader and work closely with other team members and PhD students working on the project in the design and analysis of linguistic data to be gathered across a range of small-scale speech communities, since the goal of the project is to achieve a new type of interaction between detailed sociolinguistic field research on small-scale communities and computational approaches to modelling linguistic change and diversification. They will interact informally with a wide range of scholars in Linguistics and neighbouring disciplines.

The purpose of this position is to provide computational modelling expertise within the overall team, so as to (a) develop models of how micro-variation iterates over many generations to produce linguistic change (b) model the effects of multilingualism and societal scale and structure on the evolution of linguistic diversity and disparity (c) work with project members gathering linguistic and social data in a range of small-scale speech communities to design appropriate data structures for the representation and analysis of linguistic, cultural and demographic data (d) test theoretical models against the actual linguistic data collected by project members, and feed that data back into the models being developed. Ample opportunities for publication will exist, both individually and with various combinations of project members.

For further information, please contact:

Prof Nick Evans

Ph: +61 (0)2 6125 0028