PhD position in Linguistics, directed towards Diversity Linguistics
Uppsala University, Department of linguistics and philology

PhD position in Linguistics, directed towards Diversity Linguistics


Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education and to interact constructively with 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 42,000 students, 7,000 employees and a turnover of SEK 6.7 billion.


Research and teaching at the Department of linguistics and philology covers approx. twenty different languages and linguistic subjects as well as computational linguistics. These include many of the important languages and cultures in the Middle East, to which can be added Hindi, Swahili, Chinese, Ancient Greek and Latin. Comparative Indo-European linguistics and general linguistics are also part of the department.


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.


Project description: The project aims to explore the possibilities of dating ancestral stages of language families by a systematic and careful study of the stability and replacement patterns of different types of linguistic data. Toward this aim, the project has chosen to look at the language families Indo-European (Eurasia) as well as Arawakan and Tupí (South America). The ability to date ancestral linguistic stages would be a revolutionary step forward for understanding language and population history, parallel to carbon-14 dating in archaeology. Even a less precise method than carbon-14 would be a significant achievement for linking ancestral linguistic stages to other disciplines such as archaeology, genetics and geoclimatology. Classic glottochronology, which assumes a constant rate of lexical replacement, has long been discredited. However, even if lexical replacement rates are not constant, they are also not totally random. Moreover, other aspects of language may show tighter regularity than lexicon since lexicon is amenable to conscious manipulation; indeed, word taboo is one of the reasons for accelerated lexical replacement, but so far there has been little research into grammatical chronology, which is an important aim of this project. Now, however, the time is ripe for a systematic investigation into linguistic dating. Far more data is available, and large linguistic databases have become practical to use. Similarly, methodological advances, often imported from biology, presently allow for a more thorough exploitation of the data. The project involves collaboration with Lund University. The project is funded by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg foundation (MaW 2017.0050).


Qualifications: We are seeking a candidate with a strong background in linguistic typology, comparative-historical linguistics and/or quantitative linguistics, who is highly motivated and interested in quantitative diversity linguistics. To qualify for a doctoral position a candidate should hold a master’s degree in Linguistics or Computational Linguistics or equivalent.


Application: 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/computational 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 four pages)

•    A copy of your MA thesis (or equivalent)

•    A tentative research proposal which (i) states a research question which falls within the project aims described above, (ii) describes the methodology and work plan, and (iii) contextualises the expected results in relation to the state of the art. The actual dissertation project of the successful candidate will be worked out in collaboration with the supervisor and project team. (four pages including references)

•    Other documents which the applicant would like to adduce.


The application may be written in English or Swedish.


More information about the PhD programme at the department can be found at the following website:


Rules governing Ph.D candidates are set out in the Higher Education Ordinance


Chapter 5, § 1-7 and in Uppsala university´s rules and guidelines




Uppsala University strives to be an inclusive workplace that promotes equal opportunities and attracts qualified candidates who can contribute to the University’s excellence and diversity. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and from people of all backgrounds.


Salary: According to local agreement for PhD students and teaching assistants. The current starting salary is 26100 SEK/month.

Starting date: 1 september 2018 or as per agreement.


Type of position: Full time position.


For further information about the position please contact
Dr Harald Hammarström (
Director of graduate studies Professor Christer Henriksén (, phone + 46 (0)18 471 6845
Senior faculty administrator Lars Hagborg (, phone +46 (0)18 471 1907


Please submit your application by 20 May2018, UFV-PA 2018/1305.


Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? If so, you will find a lot of information about working and living in Sweden at You are also welcome to contact International Faculty and Staff Services at


We decline offers of recruitment and advertising help. We only accept the application the way described in the advertisement.


Placement: Department of Linguistics and Philology


Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position longer than 6 months


Pay: Fixed salary


Number of positions: 1


Working hours: 100 %


Town: Uppsala


County: Uppsala län


Country: Sweden


Union representative: Ellena Papaioannou, Seko 018-471 3315
Suzanne Borén Andersson, TCO/ST 018-471 6251
Per Sundman, Saco-rådet 018-471 1485
Number of reference: UFV-PA 2018/1305


Last application date: 2018-05-20

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Educaloxy


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