Experimental and Computational approaches to Semantics and Pragmatics

Updated: 7 months ago
Deadline: ;

Experimental and computational approaches have become prominent in the linguistic study of meaning over the past two decades. Experimental methods have made it possible to obtain more detailed empirical insights, not only concerning categorical distinctions (e.g., whether a given construction is felicitous in a given context) but also more fine-grained quantitative patterns. Computational methods have been used to develop new models of semantic composition and pragmatic reasoning, as well as the cognitive processes underlying linguistic interpretation and the evolutionary processes underlying semantic change over time and prevalent typological patterns. The rise of experimental and computational methods has also allowed the field to adopt a more holistic and comprehensive view on language—for instance, while the focus is still predominantly on written text, ever more attention is paid to the semantic contribution of intonation and visual linguistic elements such as hand gestures and facial expressions.

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam is looking for an Assistant Professor to conduct research on Experimental and Computational approaches to Semantics and Pragmatics, andto contribute to our educational programmes in linguistics and closely related disciplines. We are particularly interested in candidates whose research agenda is driven by fundamental scientific questions as well as important societal issues, with a proven track record of achieving both scientific and societal impact.

What are you going to do?

Your research will be part of the research programme Language Sciences for Social Good (https://projects.illc.uva.nl/LSG/ ). You will either join one of the labs within this research programme or initiate your own lab, ideally with strong connections to one or more other labs within the programme. More broadly, you will be a member of the Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation , one of the five research schools of the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research at the Faculty of Humanities.

You will provide education in a dynamic context with ample opportunities for the development of innovative teaching methods. You will teach in some of our undergraduate and graduate programme, such as the BSc Cognition, Language and Communication, BA Linguistics, MA General Linguistics, RMA Linguistics and Communication, MSc Logic, RMA Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and the MSc Artificial Intelligence.

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • actively contributing to the research activities of the Language Sciences for Social Good research programme;
  • designing and conducting research in Semantics and/or Pragmatics driven by fundamental scientific questions as well as important societal issues, resulting in academic publications and societal impact;
  • actively pursuing external funding for research, notably funding from research councils, national as well as European;
  • actively contributing to and developing national and international research networks and other forms of cooperation;
  • developing, coordinating and teaching courses in our undergraduate and graduate programmes;
  • supervising Bachelor, Master and PhD theses;
  • actively contributing to the collaborative development and improvement of the broader teaching programmes that the institute is involved in;
  • taking part in committees and working groups and carrying out departmental administrative tasks.

What do you have to offer?

You are a dynamic and ambitious researcher with an excellent track-record of academic publications in Semantics and Pragmatics, demonstrating strong expertise in experimental and computational methods. Preferably, your research interests are not restricted to the interpretation of written text, but also extend to intonation, co-speech gesture and/or sign language. Experience with obtaining grants is an advantage as well.

You are able to develop and teach courses on Semantics and Pragmatics, Experimental Methods, and Computational Modelling. You are also open to teach topics that are not completely within your own research focus. You are able to offer inspiring lectures that appeal to a wide range of students with different educational and cultural backgrounds, and you are excited to supervise interdisciplinary theses and other student research projects. You are committed to developing your skills and didactic toolbox as an educator and value collaborative, curiosity-driven teaching in which ongoing research plays an integral role.

Your experience and profile:

  • PhD in Linguistics or a closely related field;
  • Strong expertise in Semantics and Pragmatics, Experimental Methods, and Computational Modelling;
  • Active and ambitious researcher with a strong publication record;
  • Demonstrable ability and ambition to obtain external research grants;
  • Demonstrable interest in performing scientific research with societal impact;
  • Relevant teaching experience at undergraduate and master's level;
  • Excellent organisational skills;
  • University Teaching Qualification (UTQ), or willing to acquire this within the first two years of employment;
  • Near-native command of English. If you do not speak Dutch, an active and passive command must be acquired within the first two years of employment and the state examination for Dutch as a Second Language programme II must be passed.

What can we offer you?

We offer permanent employment upon a satisfactory evaluation following a temporary employment contract of a maximum of 18 months with a probationary period of two months. If you already have an employment contract with the UvA, we offer permanent employment upon a satisfactory evaluation following a temporary employment contract of a maximum of 12 months. The employment is for 38 hours per week. Preferred starting date is before 01 August 2023.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week, ranges between €3,974 (scale 11) to €6,181 (scale 12) dependent on relevant experience. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

We additionally offer:

  • the opportunity to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams;
  • excellent opportunities for study and personal development;
  • an inspiring academic and international working environment in the heart of Amsterdam

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

The Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) is an interdisciplinary research institute

at the University of Amsterdam in which researchers from the Faculty of Science and the

Faculty of Humanities collaborate. Its central research area is the study of fundamental principles

of encoding, transmission and comprehension of information. Research at ILLC is interdisciplinary,

and aims at bringing together insights from various disciplines concerned with information and

information processing, including linguistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and philosophy. ILLC offers an international research environment with world-class faculty in all of its areas of specialization.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions or do you require additional information? Please contact (during office hours):

T: +31 642478627

Job Application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the link below. The deadline for applying for this vacancy is 12 March 2023.

Applications should include the following information (submitted in one .pdf ):

  • CV, including a list of publications;
  • Motivation letter;
  • Two writing samples directly relevant for the position (max. 10.000 words each);
  • Names and email addresses of two references who can provide letters of recommendation.

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

The interviews will be held in the course of April 2023. A trial lecture may be part of the application procedure.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

No agencies please.

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