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LINGUIST List 19.2568

Thu Aug 21 2008

Support: Phonology: PhD Student, University of Alberta

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

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        1.    Robert Kirchner, Phonology: PhD Student, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Message 1: Phonology: PhD Student, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Date: 20-Aug-2008
From: Robert Kirchner <kirchnerualberta.ca>
Subject: Phonology: PhD Student, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
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Institution/Organization: University of Alberta
Department: Linguistics
Web Address: http://www.uofaweb.ualberta.ca/linguistics

Level: PhD

Duties: Research

Job Rank: PhD

Specialty Areas: Phonology
Phonetics, Computational Linguistics


Assistantship in Exemplar-based Phonology

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta is inviting
applications for a PhD student research assistantship position, beginning
January or September 2009, on exemplar-based approaches to phonology.

A fundamental question of linguistic theory is how spoken language is
encoded in the mental lexicon. The standard view, that phonological patterns
are learned over symbolic representations, has increasingly come into
question, as failing to provide a natural account of frequency effects and
gradient sound change. An alternative view is that words and phrases are
stored as clusters of exemplars, including detailed, individuated memories of
the speech signal. Speech processing, under this view, involves massive
comparison of exemplars, with phonological patterns (as well as low-level
patterns of gradient phonetic variation) emerging as abstractions over the
raw data.

A cutting-edge area of inquiry, then, is the development of explicit
computational models which perform this sort of comparison on real,
variable-length speech signals. Students will be expected to participate
actively in the conceptualization, implementation, and testing of such
models. Further details of this project, part of an international collaboration
with computer scientists at University of Sheffield (Speech and Hearing), can
be found at http://www.ualberta.ca/~kirchner/PEBLS.html.

This assistantship is designed to provide talented PhD student applicants
with stable funding for the duration of their studies and to facilitate their
involvement as junior colleagues in the academic life of the Department.
Students will have the opportunity to present the results of individual
research at conferences and, where appropriate, will be encouraged to
publish their results in professional venues.

The assistantship will be at the rate of $15,000 per 8 month academic
term (September - April). [There may also be opportunities for other
summer employment through other Linguistics research projects or through
Linguistics summer session teaching.]

Preference will be given to applicants with a strong background in phonology
and phonetics, preferably at the graduate level, with good programming
skills, including some familiarity with (or willingness to learn) Matlab/Octave.

The initial application should include: a) a letter that summarizes past
experience and outlines the candidate's research interests and proposed area
of study, b) an academic writing sample (a recent paper, thesis chapter, or
article), and c) the names and email addresses of three referees. These
materials may be sent electronically or by surface mail.

Taking up this position is normally contingent upon admission to the PhD
Programme in Linguistics; applicants are encouraged to meet Departmental
deadlines for applications, as outlined on the UofA Linguistics Website at

Initial applications for the assistantship should be sent to Robert Kirchner at
the application address listed below.

Applications Deadline: 15-Oct-2008

Mailing Address for Applications:
        Attn: Dr. Robert Kirchner
        Department of Linguistics
        University of Alberta
        Edmonton, AB, T6G 2E7

Contact Information:
        Dr. Robert Kirchner
        Phone:780 492-3480
        Fax:780 492-3480

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