PhD student in Linguistics subfield language description

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 14 Apr 2023

Published: 2023-03-27

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our ultimate goal is to conduct education and research of the highest quality and relevance to make a long-term difference in society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has over 54,000 students, more than 7,500 employees and a turnover of around SEK 8 billion.

The Department of Linguistics and Philology is involved in research and education in a number of languages and language-related subjects and provides an international work environment. The department’s activities cover many of the classical and modern languages and cultures in large areas of Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as computational and general linguistics. Education is offered at the Bachelor, Master and PhD levels.

Doctoral studies extend over a 4-year period during which the PhD-student will receive a salary as an employee of the department. Doctoral students are expected to engage in full-time study and research, and contribute to and participate in the department’s activities. Teaching and/or administrative tasks may be involved up to a maximum of 20%, which is carried out against an appropriate prolongation of the contract.

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Project description
The aim of the project is a modern documentation/description of the Sumuri language [ISO 639-3 tcm; Glottocode tana1288] in the form of a grammatical description, audio and video corpus along with a lexical database and transcribed text collection. Sumuri is spoken by approximately 500 adults in twelve villages villages near the Tofoi, Otawiri (upper reaches) and Aroba rivers in Teluk Bintuni regency on the north of the Bomberai peninsula in Papua, Indonesia (lat: -2.5523, lon: 133.17979). Sumuri is being replaced by Malay/Indonesian and is no longer being passed on to the next generation. Although links to the Mairasic languages and further to Trans New Guinea languages have been suggested, Sumuri appears to be a language isolate.  The successful PhD candidate will bring the project to fruition through fieldwork in situ, supported by the PI. The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR 2022-02378).

To meet the entry requirements for doctoral studies, you must

  • fulfil the requirements for a master’s degree in Linguistics or equivalent
  • have completed at least 240 credits in higher education, with at least 60 credits at Master’s level including an independent project worth at least 15 credits, or
  • have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way.
  • have a background in linguistic typology, field linguistics and/or language documentation/description.

Additional qualifications
Experience from fieldwork (either actual fieldwork or from courses) and ability in speaking Malay/Indonesian are seen as additional qualifications. Personal suitability for work on this languages/this area and analytic strength as demonstrated in written work with be considered. 

The application should contain:

  • A letter of intent describing your research interests and motivation for PhD studies (maximum one page)
  • A CV containing (i) a description of your education in linguistics and other relevant areas including a transcript of finished courses and their grades/dates, (ii) a list of any academic publications, (iii) professional experience relevant to academic research (maximum three pages excluding lists of courses/publications)
  • A copy of the applicant’s MA thesis (or equivalent)
  • A tentative research plan which (i) outlines a possible time plan throughout the 4-5 years for fieldwork/work at home, (ii) concisely describes the proposed methodology, and (iii) contextualises the expected results in relation to the state of the art. The actual plan for dissertation project of the successful candidate will be worked out in collaboration with the supervisor and adaptable to changing circumstances (maximum three pages excluding references)
  • Other documents which the applicant would like to adduce.

Rules governing PhD students are set out in the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5, §§ 1-7 and in Uppsala University's rules and guidelines .

About the employment
The employment is atemporary position according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7. Scope of employment 100 %.Starting date 2023-05-01 or as agreed. Placement: Uppsala

For further information about the position, please contact: Professor Harald Hammarström (

Director of graduate studies Professor Ingela Nilsson (, phone + 46 (0)18 471 6845

Senior faculty administrator Lars Hagborg (, phone +46 (0)18 471 1907

Please submit your application by 14th April 2023, UFV-PA 2023/1123.

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Placement: Department of Linguistics and Philology

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position

Pay: Fixed salary

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100 %

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: ST/TCO
Seko Universitetsklubben

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2023/1123

Last application date: 2023-04-14

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