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2 PhD Fellowships in Interactional Linguistics/conversation Analysis

12 days ago | Closing on Feb 28
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KU Leuven
2 PhD Fellowships in Interactional Linguistics/conversation Analysis
KU Leuven
KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.
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Published: 12 days ago
Application deadline: Feb 28
Location: Leuven, Belgium
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2 PhD Fellowships in Interactional Linguistics/conversation Analysis

(ref. BAP-2019-53)

A new research project funded by the Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) is looking for applicants for a fully funded four-year PhD fellowship in interactional linguistics/conversation analysis (starting date April/May 2019). The PhD fellowship is part of a larger collaborative project entitled "The first five words: Multilingual cities in Switzerland and Belgium and the grammar of language choice in public space", with 2 PhD positions in Belgium and 2 PhD positions in Switzerland. The team heading the project is composed of Elwys De Stefani (KU Leuven) and Lorenza Mondada (University of Basel). For the Flemish part of the project, the PhD fellows will be based at KU Leuven (Department of Linguistics).

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This project studies how unacquainted persons engage in interaction in public space in multilingual cities in Belgium and Switzerland. The research will be based on video-recordings collected in various locations and address the following questions: 

  • How do people engage in pro-social encounters with strangers?
  • How do speakers orient to the multilingual setting in encounter openings? How do speakers engage in a new encounter with unacquainted persons without knowing in advance which language the other speaks? How do they decide, in the very first moments of the encounter, which language(s) they are going to use? How do they align or disalign with a “basic code” proposed in the greeting?
  • Do urban public spaces represent “territories of multilingualism” in the speakers’ actual practices? 
  • In public space, the beginning of an encounter emerges first of all through visible embodied behaviour; what is the relation between the organisation of visible embodied conduct and the politics of multilingualism? 

The above questions are crucial for research on linguistic choices, on multilingualism, and on social order. They also address more general issues regarding public space, interaction in urban settings, and the foundations of otherness, trust and sociality in contemporary cities.


Applications are invited from candidates with the following qualifications:

  • An MA in linguistics (or related disciplines), with academic distinction;
  • training in interactional linguistics, conversation analysis, ethnomethodology; 
  • strong analytical skills and the motivation to pursue innovative work in linguistics;
  • a (near-)native competence of Dutch, French and a good command of English; any additional language (e.g. German, Arabic) is a plus;
  • a cooperative attitude and the capacity to actively engage in collective project activities (e.g. fieldwork, data sessions);
  • the ability to present research results at international conferences, and to publish in peer-reviewed journals.

Motivated candidates meeting these criteria are invited to apply. Please include a cover letter, a CV, the names of up to three referees, and a sample piece of academic writing. The deadline for applications is 28 February 2019.

Interviews will be held with shortlisted candidates on 4-5 March (in person or online for overseas applicants). A decision will be communicated by mid-March.


The fellow will receive a salary of approximately 2000 EUR/month (after taxes) for a period of four years and all regular provisions for PhD fellows at KU Leuven. In addition, s/he will be allocated office space and a laptop, and receive funding for research activities like attending conferences abroad and organising workshops and conferences in Leuven or elsewhere.

The successful candidate may be asked to provide (limited) assistance with teaching, student supervision and data management. S/he will join a dynamic research team (faculty members, postdoctoral fellows and PhD students). 


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Elwys De Stefani, tel.: +32 16 32 47 96, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than February 28, 2019 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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