Postdoctoral Fellowship in Language Variation and Change Aarhus University, School of Communication and Culture Denmark

Postdoctoral fellowship in language variation and change 


The School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University, invites applications for a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in language variation and change. This is a full-time position and begins on 1 January 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. It is associated with the research project “Ageing in Language Variation and Change”, supported by an Aarhus University Research Foundation (Aarhus Universitets Forskningsfond (AUFF)) Starting Grant. The position is based at the Department of English, which is part of the School of Communication and Culture.


The successful applicant will be a member of the research group Sounds of Language and Speech (for more information about the group and our phonetics lab, see:

The project is coordinated by Michaela Hejná at the Department of English, and will run from January 2019 until December 2020.


Aims of the postdoc research project

Within the field of language variation and change, age is often approached as a social variable (social age), as well as being placed on a par with chronological age (as opposed to biological age). This is the general tendency, despite the multifaceted characteristics of age (e.g. Eckert 1997). So the first aim of the postdoc research project is to develop the appropriate methodology to conduct linguistic research that considers social age as the key variable, as opposed to chronological age.


Most likely because biological age is difficult to determine without obtaining biological data, the role of biological ageing on language variation and change has not received as much attention as, for example, biological sex (vis-à-vis social gender identity). The second aim of the postdoc position is to contrast biological and chronological age and establish whether the former has any effects on selected laryngeal phenomena. This will include collection and analyses of production data as well as collection of the speakers’ biomarkers (in collaboration with Gillian Pepper and Daniel Nettle, Centre of Behaviour and Evolution, Newcastle University, UK). The project will enable us to establish not only whether biological ageing is a factor relevant for at least some consonantal and vocalic changes, but also what the magnitude of this potential effect may be. 



Eligible applicants for this position should hold a PhD degree or equivalent qualifications. Applicants must document the ability to conduct research using acoustic analyses within the field of phonetics and/or language variation and change (LVC). Candidates are expected to master the statistical methods used in phonetics and LVC. Experience of R is required. Experience of using articulatory equipment will be considered an advantage. Very good command of academic English in oral and written communication is required. Applicants should be interested in collaborative, interdisciplinary work. Applicants should also submit a description of one or two research projects in which the applicant has been involved, showcasing the type of questions and methodological approaches of which the applicant has experience (the applicant’s PhD project, for example). The description should be no more than three pages long.


The application and all the relevant documents must be submitted in English.



The position will involve some teaching as agreed upon with the head of the department and the director of the AUFF NOVA research project. The successful applicant is expected to give a series of workshops focusing on statistics in R within the postdoc period to an audience of postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and other academics working within linguistics.


Knowledge exchange

The postdoctoral fellow will be encouraged to exchange knowledge with various sectors of society in areas related to the position.


Work environment

Participation in the daily life of the department is a high priority, and we emphasise the importance of good working relationships, both among colleagues and with our students. In order to maintain and develop the department’s excellent teaching and research environment, the successful applicant is expected to be present at the department on a daily basis, which will contribute to the School of Communication and Culture’s goal of establishing one of the best research environments in the Nordic countries. 


The Department of English

The Department of English is part of the School of Communication and Culture, and it currently employs 14 full-time academic staff, a number of part-time lecturers, and a growing community of PhD students. Its highly internationally oriented staff pursue a diversity of research interests characterised by research disciplines – literature, linguistics, and history, society and culture – as well as geographical areas of focus, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States and Canada. The department also hosts three centres: the American Studies Center Aarhus (ASCA), the Canadian Studies Centre, and the Centre for Irish Studies.


Prospective applicants are invited to view the department website at The School of Communication and Culture hosts a large variety of disciplines including English, French, German, Spanish, Scandinavian studies, semiotics, linguistics, and information and media studies. 


For further information about the Faculty of Arts, please visit 


Qualification requirements

Applicants should hold a PhD or equivalent academic qualifications.



  • Faculty of Arts refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities (the Appointment Order).

  • Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations.

  • Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities .

  • Further information on the application and supplementary materials may be found in Applicant Guidelines.

  • The application must outline the applicant's motivation for applying for the position, attaching a curriculum vitae, a teaching portfolio, a complete list of published works, copies of degree certificates and no more than five examples of academic production. Please upload this material electronically along with your application.


All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.



All applications must be made online and received by:


If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Interdisciplinoxy


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