Doctoral Research Fellowship in Language Technology and Russian Linguistics at the Department of Language and Linguistics

Application Deadline: 17. August 2015
Ref. 2015/2690
Website for application on jobbnorge.no.
One Doctoral Research Fellowship (PhD) in Language Technology and Russian Linguistics is available in the Department of Language and Linguistics at the University of Tromsø — The Arctic University of Norway (UiT). The position is affiliated with the CLEAR (Cognitive Linguistics: Empirical Approaches to Russian) and Giellatekno (Center for Saami Language Technology) research groups.
The appointment is a fixed term position for a period of four years.
The purpose of the PhD Research Fellowship is research training leading to the successful completion of a doctoral degree. Admission to a PhD program is a prerequisite for employment, and the program period starts on commencement of the position.The candidate will be affiliated with the Faculty’s organized research training, and the academic work must result in a doctoral thesis aiming to obtain the degree of PhD within the period of employment.
The successful candidate must meet the requirements for admission to the Faculty’s PhD program, cf. § 6 of UiT PhD regulations. Moreover, the applicant must prove English language proficiency equivalent to the standards of Norwegian Higher Education Entrance Qualification. Information about the application process for admission to the PhD programme, application form and regulations for the degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) is available at PhD Regulations UiT. See also uit.no/hsl/PhD.
For further information about the position (and the project), please contact Professor Laura A. Janda, tlf. +47 77 64 56 80, e-post: laura.janda@uit.no.
Affiliation
The Department of Language and Linguistics (IS) http://uit.no/om/enhet/forsiden?p_dimension_id=88149 is one the strongest and most diverse departments of its type in Norway. IS has approximately 40 permanent faculty members and 20 PhD students, in addition to administrative personnel and part-time instructors and researchers. The faculty of the Department are actively engaged in a broad range of research topics and have research groups representing cognitive linguistics (CLEAR), Saami language technology (Giellatekno and Divvun), sociolinguistics (LAIDUA), language acquisition (LAVA) and theoretical linguistics (CASTL-FISH). Courses are taught in general linguistics, English, French, Kven, Finnish, Scandinavian languages, Russian, Saami, Spanish at both the BA and MA levels, and PhD study is available in linguistics.
The position’s field of research/research project and other duties
The position is entitled “Ambiguity”. Morphologically induced ambiguity has proven a real hardship for corpus linguists. For example, Russian abstract nouns like radost’ ‘joy’ have a form radosti that is ambiguous, with five possible morphological readings: genitive singular, dative singular, prepositional singular, nominative plural and accusative plural. We can call these forms intraparadigmatic homonyms. Ambiguity can occur across parts of speech, which we call “morphosyntactically incongruent” because they cannot have the same role in a sentence. In Russian, the singular imperative form of ‘drink up’ is vypej, which is also the genitive/accusative plural of vyp’ ‘bittern’. Less common but more onerous for disambiguation is “morphosyntactically congruent” homonymy where the grammatical interpretation is the same but the lemma is different, as in Russian leču, which is the first person singular form either of the verb letet’ ‘fly’ or of the verb lečit’ ‘treat (medically)’. Results of our pilot study in Table 1 show the percent of words in a corpus of Russian that exhibit the three types of morphological homonymy described above. Added together, the various kinds of homonymy result in ambiguity for over 45% of Russian words in a corpus.
example
percent of words in a corpus that exhibit ambiguity
intraparadigmatic homonyms
radosti = ‘joy’ [gen. sg.]; [dat. sg.]; [loc. sg.]; [nom. pl.]; [acc.pl]
34.8%
morphosyntactically incongruent homonyms
vypej = ‘bittern’ [gen. pl.]; acc.pl]; ‘drink’ [imperative sg.]
9.6%
morphosyntactically congruent homonyms
leču = ‘fly’ [1sg]; ‘treat (medically)’ [1sg]
1.3%
Table 1: Ambiguity induced by morphological homonymy in Russian
Ambiguity is not a rare phenomenon and it is not peculiar to Russian. This PhD position will investigate the use of weights in a finite state transducer (FST) to address disambiguation problems in Russian with the aim of making linguistically important observations and extending this innovative use of FST technology to other languages, particularly languages of the High North and languages with complex morphology. Little is known about the relationship between morphological complexity and ambiguity in languages. This PhD position will investigate that relationship and test various models for disambiguation.

Qualification requirements
The successful applicant will work with topics in the field of Language Technology and Russian linguistics that will interface with existing research in the CLEAR and Giellatekno research groups at UiT. The successful applicant must have a Norwegian MA degree in Russian linguistics and/or computational linguistics/language technology, or a corresponding foreign MA degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian MA degree. The successful applicant will have conducted research on Russian linguistics and have excellent knowledge of both Russian and English. The ideal candidate will also have some knowledge of cognitive linguistics and a strong track-record indicating publication potential. Familiarity with Norwegian, North Saami and/or other circumpolar languages is an advantage.
The applicant must provide a project proposal with a progress plan encompassing the project’s main activities (approximately 3 pages total). It is a prerequisite that the applicant will be able to complete the project within the period of employment.
Personal suitability will be emphasized.
Working conditions
The normal period of employment is four years. The nominal length of the PhD program is three years. The fourth year, distributed as 25 % of each year, is reserved for teaching or other academic duties within the university. Please consult PhD Regulations UiT for further information. The position will especially be assigned teaching duties in Russian.
A shorter period of appointment may be decided upon if the applicant has already completed parts of his/her research training programme or if the appointment is based on a previous qualifying position (PhD Candidate, research assistant, or the like) in such a way that the research training amounts to a total of three years.
Remuneration for the position of PhD Candidate is in accordance with the State salary scale
code 1017. A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted.
Application
The application must be submitted electronically via the application form available on www.jobbnorge.no.
Applications by e-mail are not accepted.
The application must include the following attachments:
  • letter of application
  • project description. Please see further information concerning the template for project project description PhD
  • CV (containing a complete overview of education, supervised professional training and professional work)
  • diploma and transcript of records from Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • diploma and transcript of records from Master’s degree or equivalent
  • diploma supplement for other completed degrees
  • documentation of English language proficiency
  • list of 2-3 academic referees, including contact details (name, relation to applicant, e-mail address and phone number)
  • Master’s Thesis
  • other works (published or unpublished) which the applicant wishes to be taken into consideration during the assessment process and a description of these. The list of works should contain the following information:
    • author(s), title of work
    • for articles: the name of the journal and volume, first and last page of the article, year of publication
    • for book or other independent publications: publisher, place of print, year of publication, number of pages
All documentation must be certified and translated into English or a Scandinavian language in order to be assessed.
Information and material to be considered during the assessment must be submitted within the stipulated deadline.
 
Assessment
The applicants will be assessed by an expert committee. During this assessment process, emphasis will be attached to the applicant’s potential for research as shown by:
  • Master’s thesis or equivalent
  • other academic works, and
  • project description                   
In addition, consideration may be given to work experience or other activities of significance for the implementation of the PhD research. This includes teaching education, teaching experience, experience with publishing scholarly works, and experience/education from other types of dissemination.
The best qualified applicants will be selected for interviews. The interview shall among other things aim to clarify the applicant’s personal suitability for the position.
Other information
Questions concerning the organization of the working environment, such as the physical state of the place of employment, health service, possibility for flexible working hours, part time, etc. as well as questions about the PhD programme may be directed to the telephone reference in this announcement.
UiT’ s HR policy objectives emphasises diversity, and encourages all qualified applicants to apply regardless of gender, functional ability and national or ethnic background.
UiT is an IW (Inclusive Workplace) enterprise, and will make the necessary adaptations in order to facilitate for employees with reduced functional ability.
Personal data given in an application or CV will be processed in accordance with the Act relating to the processing of personal data (the Personal Data Act). In accordance with Section 25 subsection 2 of the Freedom of Information Act, the applicant may request not to be registered on the public list of applicants. However, the University may nevertheless decide to publish the applicant’s name. The applicant will receive advance notification in the event of such publication.
In case of discrepancies between the Norwegian and the English version of this description, the Norwegian version takes precedence.

Об авторе Лидия Пивоварова

СПбГУ - старший преподаватель, University of Helsinki - PhD student http://philarts.spbu.ru/structure/sub-faculties/itah_phil/teachers/pivovarova
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