PhD Position in the project ‘Time in Translation: a semantics of the Perfect’ – Utrecht

Job description – Application deadline: May 9, 2017.

You will be participating in the project ‘Time in Translation: a semantics of the Perfect’.
This project is funded by NWO, by way of a Vrije Competitie project awarded to Prof. dr. Henriëtte de Swart and dr. Bert Le Bruyn at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. The project aims to develop the meaning of the present perfect. We will collect data from 5 languages (Dutch, English, German, French, Spanish) in parallel corpora, and analyse perfect use in relation to other verbal tense forms both at the sentence and at the discourse level. Translation experiments will be used to check the space of variation in choosing one form over another.
In this project, two PhD positions and a postdoc position will be available. One PhD position has already been filled, and the postdoc position will start later, so we are currently searching to hire a PhD candidate for the following subproject:


PhD2 – Perfect use in discourse: from conversation to literary texts

The PhD will focus on the discourse role of the perfect in conversation and literary texts, and will be responsible for developing an analysis of non-narrative tense use.  Data collection and translation experiments will be carried out in close collaboration with the other PhD and the postdoc. The interaction, collaboration and sharing of data with the other researchers in the project is therefore expected. The PhD candidates and the postdoctoral researcher will of course have the opportunity to fill in the details of these projects or expand them, based on their expertise, the data they gather and their own research ideas, in consultation with the two project leaders.

Short profile of the candidate

  • A (soon to be completed) (research) Master’s degree in linguistics, with a focus on semantics and pragmatics; prior experience with corpus research and/or experiments welcome;
  • Fluency in at least two languages of the project besides English (Dutch, German, French, Spanish)


The PhD position is offered at 1,0 FTE, starting 1 October 2017, initially for a period of 18 months. Upon good performance and a positive evaluation, the contract will be extended for the remaining period of 30 months (4 years in total).

Additional information

If you are interested, please contact the project director, Prof. dr. Henriëtte de Swart ( or the research coordinator at UiL OTS (Maaike Schoorlemmer) for more information. For more information about the project, please visit the project website A project description with specifications about the subprojects can be found at


This is an advance notice. Interested candidates are asked to keep an eye on the project website where the full description of the position and a link to the application website will be added. Candidates will be asked to submit digital copies of:

  • a letter of motivation;
  • a research statement of about 1000 words, explaining why and how you plan to conduct this research;
  • a CV;
  • copies of relevant diplomas and grade transcripts;
  • your Master’s thesis and any other publication you can provide;
  • names and full contact details of two academic referees.

Interviews (in person or using videoconferencing) will be held during last week of May and/or the 1st week of June, 2017.

The application deadline is May 9.