Postdoc 'Multilingual Language Processing: Case studies in Belize and Benin'


Are you looking for a Postdoctoral position in an inspiring, dynamic, and international setting in Amsterdam?

The Amsterdam Centre for Language and Communication (ACLC) currently has a vacant Postdoc researcher position as part of the NWO-funded research project Crossing language borders: A quest for the human language capacity in West Africa and Central America, led by principal investigator prof. E.O. Aboh (ACLC) in collaboration with dr María Carmen Parafita Couto (University of Leiden), prof. F. Ameka (University of Leiden), and dr Anne L. Beatty-Martínez (University of California, San Diego). You can find some information about the research group here. The ACLC prioritises diversity (taken in a holistic sense, e.g., ethnicity, social and/or linguistic background, gender, sexuality) and is committed to creating an inclusive research environment. The ACLC is one of the five Research Schools within the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR).

What are you going to do?

We are looking for a talented and creative postdoctoral scholar with a PhD degree in Psychological Anthropology, Cognitive Science, Linguistics, Neuroscience, Psycholinguistics, Psychology, or another related discipline, who is fascinated by the study of language use in a multilingual community, and armed with sophisticated tools for data collection and statistical modelling to describe and analyse code-switching/code-mixing (CSCM) phenomena from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Our project’s aim is to yield an integrated approach to multilingual speech that is both descriptively and explanatorily adequate. Despite extensive research in this area, no clear explanation emerges about the regularities underlying mixed speech. While most existing studies focus on Western communities in which CSCM is socially disfavoured, this project investigates CSCM in multilingual communities, in Belize (Central America) and in Benin (West Africa), where multilingual discourse involving CSCM is the norm, and where speakers use various languages including Spanish (Belize) and French (Benin). We will use a multimethod, comparative approach, linking linguistic, cognitive (e.g., eye-tracking, pupillometry) and social factors to help us understand how multilinguals adapt to communicative and cognitive demands of contexts where CSCM is the norm.

Together with two PhD candidates who have already been in the field, we expect you to conduct fieldwork in multilingual communities in Belize and in Porto-Novo/Cotonou (Benin). You will collect and analyse data on CSCM and publish on those in scholarly articles or book chapters. You will present your results in (inter)national conferences and participate in research activities within the project team and within the ACLC at the UvA as well as with collaborating groups at the University of Leiden.

Your tasks and responsibilities

  • set up and pilot experiments to be conducted during fieldwork in Belize and Benin to collect multilingual language processing data;
  • stimuli creation for speech elicitation tasks;
  • collection of community network data;
  • collection of eye-tracking and pupillometry data during naturalistic CSCM;
  • annotation, coding, and analysis of naturalistic and elicited CSCM data;
  • organising and participating in meetings of the project research group and developing a shared database;
  • publishing peer reviewed articles or book chapters;
  • presenting (intermediate) research results at (inter)national workshops/conferences;
  • organising knowledge dissemination, training activities, and outreach events.

What do you have to offer?

Your experience and profile:

  • a PhD in Anthropological linguistics, Cognitive Science, Linguistics, Neuroscience, Psycholinguistics, Psychology, or another related discipline;
  • excellent research and field or lab work skills demonstrated by your PhD thesis and a demonstrable capacity to develop a track record of publishing in high-ranking journals and/or with leading presses;
  • demonstrated experience with eye-tracking using SR Research hardware (experience with pupillometry would be desirable);
  • experience using statistical procedures such as mixed-effects modelling (experience in the R environment and with generalised additive mixed modelling and/or network analysis would be desirable);

Desirable skills:

  • enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences;
  • interest in mentoring of graduate students and research trainees;
  • knowledge of Spanish and/or French.

What can we offer you?

The Postdoc researcher will be appointed at the Linguistics Department of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam and will conduct the research at the ACLC. The employment contract will be for one year; contingent on a positive performance evaluation the contract will be extended with one year. The employment contract is for 30,4 hours a week. Preferred starting date is 01 September 2024.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and relevant experience, ranges between € 4,036 to € 5,090. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. Favourable tax agreements may apply to applicants moving from abroad. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

What else do we offer?

  • an enthusiastic, inspiring and professional academic team;
  • the opportunity to collaborate with leading researchers at research institutes that - partly as a result of their interdisciplinary approach - are world renowned.

About us

The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 42,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


Do you have any questions, or do you require additional information? Please contact (during office hours):

  • Prof. E.O. (Enoch) Aboh, t: +31 20 525 38 75.

Job application

If you feel the profile fits you, and you are interested in the job, we look forward to receiving your application. You can apply online via the link below. The deadline for applying for this vacancy is 31 January 2024.

Applications should include the following information (submitted in one .pdf by uploading in the required field ‘CV’):

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a two-page research statement including research background, future research directions, and if possible, relevance to code-switching and code-mixing in general;
  • a representative writing sample (e.g., scholarly published article, a chapter of the thesis);
  • a full academic CV;
  • the names and contact details of two references, including your thesis advisor, who may be approached by the selection committee.

Only complete applications received within the response period via the link below will be considered.

We will communicate our decision to you mid-February. The interviews will most likely be held in early March 2024, with a job offer the same month.

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritize diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

No agencies please.

Date de candidature
1 year
Humanités : Anthropologie & Ethnologie, Linguistique
Sciences sociales : Psychologie et sciences cognitives
Autres : Médecine