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Job offer: PhD contract Experimental Grammar - Strand 2

Updated: May 19, 2022

The EFL LabEx is offering a 3 year PhD grant in “Experimental grammar from a crosslinguistic perspective”, full time, about net 1700 euros/month, starting in the Fall 2022 at the University of Paris (Ecole doctorale Sciences du langage).

The candidate must have a Master degree by November 2022, with a specialization in linguistics, computational linguistics or psycholinguistics.

He or she will be affiliated to the Laboratoire de linguistique formelle ( Funds will be available for travelling expenses, equipment and experiments.

He or she will be part of the Doctoral School Sciences du langage (, and of Paris Graduate school in Linguistics (, and will attend doctoral seminars and may be able to teach courses in the Department of Linguistics.


The application should be sent by June 16th 2022 (midnight MET) to and

It should comprise:

- a CV (max 5 pages) with transcripts (Master) and diplomas

- a motivation letter with explicit mention of the chosen project /workpackage

- the names and contact of two referees for reference letters

The candidates selected for interviews will send their Master thesis or other written work supporting their qualification for the project.

They will be interviewed (remotely) early July 2022

The application file must target one of the following projects/workpackages:

1) Workpackage Meqtam : experimental methods on evidentiality, aspect and modality

Profile: The present project aims at promoting a corpus-based, quantitative approach to the description and formal analysis of the TAME system of an under-described language – preferably an Australian, Amazonian, Niger-Congo or Bantu language, with a fieldwork component (combining several types of data collection: ordinary narratives and dialogues, complemented with questionnaire-based grammatical elicitation, and tightly constrained experimental fieldwork).

2) Workpackage Ellipsis and Fragments

dir: Anne Abeillé ( codir Philip Miller (

Profile: Syntax and semantics of sluices

The research will be based on new empirical data (corpus data and/or experiments), and target the following research question: whether the elliptical question (sluice) is a directly interpreted fragment or has an underlying syntactic structure.

Some references: Abeillé & Hassamal (2019), Kim & Abeillé (2019), Smirnova & Abeillé (2021)

3) Workpackage Pluralities, worlds and events (PLU)

Profile : Superlatives and definiteness

Heim’s (1999) analysis of the English dedicated morphological marker -est for the superlative (a universally quantified version of the comparative -er proposed by Seuren) suffers from a problem regarding the contribution of the definite article, which is not compositionally explicit and sometimes corresponds to an indefinite, as noted by Szabolcsi. Romance languages do not have a dedicated morphological counterpart of the English -est; instead, they convey superlative meanings by overtly using comparative markers associated with definiteness. These languages may allow one to investigate the role of definiteness more clearly. Their seemingly morphological uniformity corresponds to quite different syntactic configurations, depending on whether the definite article is part of a superlative constituent or instead realises the determiner of the overall nominal projection.

4) Experimental Pragmatics (XPrag)

dir. Ira Noveck (

Profile: a new look at idiom processing

The particularity of this research is to investigate how context is critical to the felicitous use of idioms; this an area that has been generally overlooked in the pragmatic literature. For example, the utterance Mary broke the ice would appear minimally felicitous if some kind of social tension were absent from the context. We intend to use multiple methods, including online reading times and EEG, as well investigate different age groups, including school-aged children. The PhD would also need to consider the way prior accounts integrate context into idiom processing.

5) DIA : Dialog

dir. Jonathan Ginzburg (

Profile : Language Acquisition: What comes after the one word stage?

Taking formal grammars for the one word stage developed by Moradlou and Ginzburg, the thesis (building on an extensive corpus study in M2) considers how such grammars evolve into the 2 and 3 word stage using a probabilistic semantics approach (see paper above by Cooper, Ginzburg and Larsson) and HPSG grammars for the grammar writing. It will develop a more grammar oriented developmental notion than MLU which is shown to be too coarse grained; it will develop computational methods (in partnership with Timothée Bernard) for classifying early utterances to scale up the corpus work to many subjects.


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