Svizzera, BernSvizzera, Bern

University Psychiatric Services Bern

Data di pubblicazione 28.04.2024

Two PhD positions for junior researchers in Italian variationist sociolinguistics (four years)

Two PhD positions for junior researchers in Italian variationist sociolinguistics (four years)

The research group 'Quantitative Lexicology and Variational Linguistics' (QLVL) of the Faculty of Arts at KU Leuven and The Institute for Italian Language and Literature of the University of Bern (Linguistics division), invite applications for two four-year junior researcher-position on a new research project funded by the FWO & FNS Weave program (Flanders and Switzerland): MovIT - Moving Italian(s): Standard language change among moving Italians.

The project is an international collaboration between KU Leuven and the University of Bern. The project partners are Stefania Marzo (KU Leuven), Stefano De Pascale (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Silvia Natale (Bern University), Dave Britain (Bern University) and Massimo Cerruti (University of Turin).

The junior research will be based either at KU Leuven in the research group QLVL or the Institute for Italian Language and Literature (section of Linguistics).

This project investigates the development of new standard norms in the context of migration. So far, sociolinguistics has focused primarily on the language of working-class migrants, paying particular attention to non-standard phenomena. There has been little research on the development of the standard language of highly educated speakers who have left their home country. This project addresses these research gaps by designing and implementing a crowdsourcing application to investigate how standard language norms acquired in the home country evolve in the repertoires of highly educated Italians living abroad. This group of speakers represents an ideal test case, since they are assumed to master the two standard norms that characterize contemporary Italian: a literary standard and a so-called neo-standard Italian. The emergence of the latter variety must be understood in the context of the dynamics of de- and re-standardization attested in many European standard languages.


The junior researcher will develop and carry out a research project within the overall theme of the project. This will include but is not limited to:
• Design and conduct field research for spoken data and experiments
• Analyze data according to the objectives
• Present results at national and international conferences
• Publish results in international peer-reviewed journals
• Attend specialized courses (e.g. doctoral schools)
• Support the organization of workshops and meetings of the project participants
• Participate in the collective scientific activities and interactions of the research unit or department. In this context, the junior researcher may be asked to provide limited teaching assistance at the undergraduate level and to assist in the supervision of undergraduate students.


Applications are invited from candidates with the following qualifications:
• A master's degree in either Linguistics or in Linguistics and Literature or other degrees relevant to the project. An outstanding record of undergraduate and Master's level work is an asset.
Final year students who are sure they will obtain their master's degree in September 2024 can also apply.
• Near-native command of Italian and a good command of written and spoken English.
• Ideally a background or a strong interest in the field of variationist sociolinguistics and/or Italian linguistics
• Proficiency in programming skills and statistical literacy are a plus.
• Analytical skills and a passion for research.
• A cooperative attitude and the ability to work independently as well as in a team.
• Willingness to actively participate in an international research project.

We offer

We offer two fully funded full-time PhD positions for 4 years. One PhD student will be employed at the University of Bern and one at the KU according to the guidelines of the respective universities. Both PhD students will be supervised by the three project leaders: Stefania Marzo (KU Leuven), Stefano De Pascale (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Silvia Natale (University of Bern). Research stays at the partner universities are planned.
The appointment is initially for the duration of 1 year (starting date determined in mutual agreement with the candidate) and will be extended for another three years given satisfactory achievements. The junior researcher will have the opportunity to work in an attractive and dynamic working environment with an international team of researchers. Remuneration will be equivalent to the net salary which the beneficiary would receive as PhD bursary at the University of Bern or the KU Leuven.

Application and contact

For further information please contact the project leaders Stefania Marzo, Stefano De Pascale and Silvia Natale at

You can apply for this job no later than May 24, 2024 by sending an email to
Please add your CV (in English), a cover letter (in English or Italian), your certificates and a writing sample (paper and/or MA thesis, in a language of your choice) and a letter of recommendation. In your application, please indicate whether you would like to apply for the position in Leuven or Bern. Please also mention if you have no preference.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview via Zoom on June 10 2024. A second round of interviews will take place on June 24 2024. If you will not be available during this period, please make this clear in your cover letter and indicate when you will be available.

KU Leuven and University of Bern seek to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact or

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