Three doctoral positions (f/m/d)

(Part time, 65%, E 13 TV-L)

Reference number 2020/057. The positions are available from 1st October 2020 for three years.

The University of Konstanz has been successful in the German Excellence Initiative since 2007.

Three PhD positions are available on the ERC-funded project “Sociolinguistic typology and responsive features in syntactic history” (STARFISH), led by Prof. George Walkden in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Konstanz.

The aim of the project is to find out whether adult second-language acquisition can lead to changes in the syntax of a language in historical time. In particular, we're interested in whether there are syntactic features that are particularly favoured or disfavoured in languages historically characterized by a high proportion of adult second-language acquirers independently of what their first language is, and – if so – what these “responsive” features are. The project takes as a starting point Peter Trudgill's theory of sociolinguistic typology, in particular the idea that different language contact scenarios favour different types of change. The role of the project’s doctoral researchers is to investigate these ideas in the domain of diachronic syntax using evidence from historical corpora. You can read more about the project, its aims and its hypotheses at

Your role

  • Carrying out a PhD project using historical data to investigate the impact of adult second language acquisition on syntactic change in one of the following areas:
    – case
    – grammatical gender
    – negation
    – (null) subjects and agreement

Your profile

  • Complete or near-complete Masters degree in linguistics with a focus on one or more of the following:
    – Historical linguistics
    – Sociolinguistics
    – Syntactic theory
    – L2 acquisition
    – Corpus linguistics
  • Some knowledge of a historically-attested language or language family
  • Very good academic English skills

We Offer

  • the opportunity to conduct independent research in an EU-funded project under the supervision of leading specialists in language change and language structure
  • Collaboration as part of a small, motivated team
  • A family-friendly university as work environment

For information please contact Prof. George Walkden, We look forward to receiving your application, consisting of an academic CV, a writing sample (e.g. an essay), and a short overview of a possible PhD project as part of STARFISH (maximum of 2 pages, including examples and references where relevant), by 8 June 2020 through our Online Application Portal.

DThe University of Konstanz is committed to ensuring an environment that provides equal opportunities and promotes diversity as well as a good balance between university and family life. As an equal opportunity employer, we strive to increase the number of women working in the field advertised ( Persons with disabilities are explicitly encouraged to apply. They will be given preference if appropriately qualified (contact + 49 7531 88–4016).



Back to overview Online application