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LINGUIST List 19.1210

Wed Apr 09 2008

Support: Phonetics: Six Chinese Dialects: PhD Student, Leiden University

Editor for this issue: Bethany Townsend <bethanylinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Jeroen van de Weijer, Phonetics: Six Chinese Dialects: PhD Student, Leiden University, Netherlands

Message 1: Phonetics: Six Chinese Dialects: PhD Student, Leiden University, Netherlands
Date: 09-Apr-2008
From: Jeroen van de Weijer <j.m.van.de.weijerlet.leidenuniv.nl>
Subject: Phonetics: Six Chinese Dialects: PhD Student, Leiden University, Netherlands
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Institution/Organization: Leiden University
Department: LUCL
Web Address: http://www.lucl.leidenuniv.nl

Level: PhD

Duties: Research

Job Rank: PhD

Specialty Areas: Phonetics


Application Number: 8-093

Within the VIDI project "An experimental approach to the interaction of tone
sandhi and focus expression in six dialects of Chinese," we are looking for

One PhD candidate with expertise in Chinese linguistics.

Project Description:
The way sentences are pronounced signals listeners how they should relate
information in the sentence to the preceding discourse, a phenomenon known as
'focus' or 'information structure.' As in many languages, expression of focus in
English is determined by how constituents are grouped into domains and how pitch
accents are realized within domains.

For instance, if 'She teaches in China' is an answer to the question 'What does
she do ?,' pitch accents give prominence to both teaches and China, but if the
same question is answered 'She teaches linguistics,' only linguistics is
accented, though teaches is also focused as part of the answer. The difference
here is due to verbs and objects forming different phrasal constructions from
verbs and prepositions.

Language differ in the way phrasing and prominence interact to signal focus.
Chinese dialects present a challenging and revealing research area for this
interaction. These dialects use pitch changes (tone) to indicate word meanings
in isolation, but tonal realization of words in phrases is determined by domain
formation (i.e. phrasing effect) within the domain, together known as tone
sandhi. Crucially, focus effects tone sandhi.

Thus far, studies on tone sandhi, however, rarely consider the effect of
different focus conditions. Work on focus realization has also been limited to
simple morpho-syntactic constituents in few dialects. I propose a systematic
experimental approach to examining the interaction of these two hitherto
independent lines of research (tone sandhi and focus realization) in six
dialects of Chinese, which lie on a continuum between dialects with dense tonal
distributions and sparser distributions. In so doing, I hope to contribute to
the understanding of the phonetics and phonology of tone sandhi, and to a
cross-linguistic theory of focus realization, which has largely been based on
European and African languages.

- Reporting the results in international journals and a dissertation;

For more details, please contact dr. Yiya Chen.

For more details of the project please consult:

- a solid background in linguistics, psycholinguistics, or other relevant
fields, preferably with training in acoustic phonetics and/or syntax-phonology
- a sound knowledge of and a demonstrable interest in Chinese and Chinese dialects;
- a strong commitment to working on both empirical corpus data and theoretical

Conditions of employment:
The successful applicant will be appointed at LUCL for one year and after a
positive evaluation, followed by a fixed-term period of three years.

Gross salary will be € 2000,- per month in the first year, gradually rising,
also depending upon evaluation, to € 2612,- per month in the final year conform
the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

Please send your letter (in Dutch or English) within two weeks after the
publication of these vacancy, including a cover letter, a CV, sample academic
writings ( such as a copy of BA, MA, or M.Phil thesis, and/or published articles
if available), and two letters of recommendation. Send the letter, indicating
the vacancy number on letter and envelope to:

Afdeling P&O, t.a.v. E.M. Bakker
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands

Reference application number 8-093.

Applications Deadline: 15-May-2008

Mailing Address for Applications:
        Attn: Ms E.M. Bakker
        Faculteit der Letteren
        Postbus 9515
        Leiden 2300 RA

Contact Information:
        Dr. Yiya Chen
        (+31) (0)71-5271688

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