Job opportunity: Postdoctoral research fellow: SignMorph project, University of Birmingham

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow (SignMorph) – Department of English Language and Linguistics (School of English Drama and Creative Studies), University of Birmingham, UK – 96121 – Grade 7 – (2000027C)

Position Details
• English, Drama and Creative Studies in the College of Arts and Law
• University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK
• Grade 7
• Fixed term for 5 years – Anticipated start date: January 2021
• Full time
• Closing date: August 27, 2020

The Department of English Language and Linguistics seeks to appoint a Post-doctoral Research Fellow to work on the ERC-funded project ‘The dynamics of sign language grammar: Morphology, language change, iconicity and social structure in signing communities’ (or ‘SignMorph’) led by Dr Adam Schembri. SignMorph will focus on key aspects of sign language morphology in (1) established macro-community sign languages, (2) established micro-community sign languages, and (3) emerging sign languages. SignMorph aims to better understand similarities and differences in the grammar of sign languages, and how these are shaped by language-internal and language-external factors. The factors to be investigated in the study include (1) the role of iconicity in mapping grammatical meanings onto form, (2) the relatively recent emergence of sign languages, and how their short history has impacted on the processes which create grammatical structure, and (3) the sociolinguistic structure of signing communities,

Main responsibilities
• Design research activities to meet the objectives of the SignMorph project
• Collect research data; this may be through a variety of research methods, such as scientific experimentation and research interviews
• Analyse and interpret sign language data
• Apply knowledge in a way which develops new intellectual understanding
• Disseminate research findings for publication, research seminars etc
• Supervise students and research assistants on research related work
• Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods
• Undertake management/administration arising from research
• Contribute to Departmental/School research-related activities and research-related administration
• Contribute to public engagement activities, often under supervision of a project leader
• Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines
Skills and Experience
• The research fellow will have (or be near completing) a PhD in linguistics or psychology (or related fields)
• High level research skills, high level skills in British Sign Language (or another sign language) as well as a demonstrated ability to work independently
• Experience in range of different approaches to the study of sign languages is welcome (including sign language documentation, typology, corpora, sociolinguistics, ethnography, and/or experimental studies)
• High level analytical capability
• Ability to communicate complex information clearly
• Fluency in relevant models, techniques or methods and ability to contribute to developing new ones
• Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
• Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes
For further information, please contact Adam Schembri (

Apply here:

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