PhD Position in Language Acquisition

University of Zurich


NCCR Evolving Language

PhD Position in Language Acquisition
60 %

With the launch of a new National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) Evolving Language, which involves nearly 40 different research groups from a large variety of disciplines across Switzerland, we seek to hire a PhD student (four-year) specialized in first language acquisition. The position is part of the Work Package (WP) Joint action. The goal of this WP is to understand how adults, young children from different cultures learning a variety of maximally diverse languages and non-human primates engage in joint actions and how they perceive or experience commitment, and the role of language in this process. To this end we plan to analyze bodily and linguistic involvement in joint actions both in large cross-linguistic corpora and in experimental settings, and, potentially, via fieldwork.

Your responsibilities

The successful PhD student will become part of a large interdisciplinary team tackling the topic of language evolution. They will be responsible for conducting investigations focused on young children within the WP, under the joint supervision of Professors Adrian Bangerter (University of Neuch√Ętel), Judith Burkart (University of Zurich) and Sabine Stoll (University of Zurich). Empirical avenues for investigation will involve a combination of existing corpora (e.g., ACQDIV corpus, videotaped social interactions), fieldwork (if possible) and experimental research.

Your profile

The ideal candidate has an MSc or MA degree in developmental psychology, psycholinguistics or linguistics with specialization in language acquisition or social interaction in young children. She/he has a strong interest in corpus linguistics, a solid background in statistics and in at least one scripting language (e.g., R, Python), or a background in experimental research. Familiarity with conversation or interaction analysis or fieldwork experience is a plus.

What we offer

We offer varied and interesting work in an inspiring and socially relevant environment. Diversity and inclusion are important to us. The NCCR places great emphasis on gender balance; we particularly encourage women to apply.

Place of work

The successful candidate will be primarily based either at the University of Zurich or the University of Neuch√Ętel, and will move between both institutions.

Start of employment

Review of applications starts November 1 and applications are accepted until the position is filled. Applications should include the following:
  • a cover letter stating your motivation and vision for the position (1 page max)
  • a CV
  • a copy of the highest degree obtained
  • the names of two referees
Please submit your application as a single PDF file labelled "FamilyName-JointAction.pdf" via this job portal. Please also attach a pdf copy of your MSc/MA thesis.
Questions can be addressed to Profs. Bangerter or Stoll.

Further information

Prof. Adrian Bangerter
Prof. Sabine Stoll

Apply now

In your application, please refer to


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