Job opportunity: 4-year PhD research assistantship in Sign Linguistics (LSCLab, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)

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The LSCLab unit, part of research group GLiF (Formal Linguistics Group) at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona), announces an opening for a 4-year research assistantship associated to the project Clause combining in sign languages: the grammar of complex sentences in Catalan Sign Language in a crosslinguistic and crossmodal perspective 2 (ClauseCombiSL2, FFI2012-36238), funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

Clause combining, i.e. the grammatical mechanisms that integrate clauses into bigger sentential units, has received little attention to date in sign languages (SLs). This project builds and expands on the previous one, ClauseCombiSL1. After having described and analyzed several prototypical cases of subordination in Catalan SL (LSC) such as relatives, embedded declaratives and conditionals, the new phase of this project intends to cover a broader range of structures by addressing two main questions: (a) what are the morphosyntactic properties of the Complementizer Phrase region of complex sentences, also known as left (and right) periphery, and how does it interact with the syntactic derivation in the inflectional domain?; (b) what are the core interface properties of syntax and prosody and to what extent and how do the two modules interact in human language? We try to answer them on the basis of original descriptive work in LSC and from now on also in Spanish SL (LSE), thus allowing for comparative analysis of two closely related SLs. The answers are formulated against the background of Linguistic Typology, by using the analytical tools provided in Linguistic Theory and they should therefore contribute to a better understanding of clause combining mechanisms of human language, irrespective of the modality (visual-gestural vs. aural-oral).

This project follows up on three previous projects that focused on research into SLs, and more extensively into LSC, from the point of view of Theoretical Linguistics. At present it involves three senior researchers, one postdoctoral researcher, three Deaf LSC research assistants and two PhD students and it is based at the Department of Translation and Languages Sciences (Universitat Pompeu Fabra). The project includes members from the Department of General Linguistics (Universitat de Barcelona), the Department of Spanish, Linguistics and Literary Theory (Universidad of Sevilla) and UMR 7023 (CNRS & Paris 8).

The basic eligibility requirement for this research assistantship is a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent by the end of June 2013. An MA degree in Linguistics will be considered an asset.

The interested candidates should:

-have a background in Sign Linguistics, especially in formal syntax and semantics,

-be proficient in a sign language and, if it is not LSC, be ready to learn it,

-be ready to carry out his/her own research on a topic related the group’s project, leading to a PhD,

-be willing to conduct fieldwork and contribute to the research activities of the group and the Department,

-be ready to teach a limited amount of hours, if required by the Department,


-have a good command of English and some knowledge of Catalan or Spanish, or be ready to acquire it.

The position includes a monthly stipend, coverage by the Social Security system, and university fees related to doctoral study. The assistantship also includes the possibility of applying for grants for short-term stays abroad.  Annual renewal of the assistantship will depend on successful progress in the doctoral program and collaboration on the research project. The first 24 months have the status of a scholarship and the following 24 months have a work-contract form.

As the application for these assistantships will be handled through the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, individuals who are interested in applying should contact Josep Quer ( as soon as possible, and in any case no later than August 21st, 2013. Interested candidates are requested to send him their CV and a sample writing or a brief expression of interest.

The Ministry’s application period will be open in the beginning of September just for 10 days. Since the details have not been made public yet, the official documents required for the application (typically, a copy of a valid passport, a certificate of the degree, a CV and a document of admission to our Postgraduate Program) should be prepared in advance.

Contact information:

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( is a small, research-oriented university located in the center of Barcelona, with a highly international faculty and student body.

For more information about LSCLab and GLiF, as well as about our Postgraduate Programs, visit our websites:



MA Programme in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics:

Doctoral Programme in Translation and Language Sciences:

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Written by Josep Quer