Vacancy (Utrecht University): PhD studentship in discourse annotation from a multilingual perspective

Project description

The goal of the PhD-project is to further develop a method for the annotation of coherence relations in discourse, to apply this method to a corpus of Dutch texts, and subsequently to texts in other languages in order to build contrastive analyses. The focus will be placed on the way coherence relations are realized across languages as well as on the interface between relational and referential coherence (pronoun resolution).

The project will be part of the MODERN SNSF project on the modeling of inter-sentential dependencies (connectives and referential expressions) to improve the output of machine translation systems. It will be hosted by a research group at UiL OTS (Department of Languages, Literature and Communication, Utrecht University) that focuses on machine translation of discourse phenomena. Researchers involved include Ted Sanders, Arnout Koornneef and Sandrine Zufferey.


Applicants are holders of an MA or equivalent degree in linguistics with a specialisation in pragmatics or discourse, language use, language and communication or the like. Given the requirement to annotate discourse relations in Dutch for the project, we are looking for native speakers of Dutch.  Excellent demonstrable command of English as well as either French or German is also required. Previous experience in natural language processing and translation is a plus.

Work conditions

The position is offered for an initial period of 18 months, 1 FTE, to be extended by another 18 months upon positive evaluation. Your monthly gross salary will start at  € 2.083.- . We offer a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% per year and flexible employment conditions. Conditions are based on the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities.The appointment will start as soon as the necessary work permits and documents are obtained, with a target starting date of April 1st, 2014.

How to apply

Applications (via a dedicated university webpage) should include

  • a letter of motivation
  • a curriculum vitae including contact and personal details
  • the contact details of two referees (names, affiliations and phone numbers or e-mail addresses); preferably: two reference letters are sent digitally to dr Schoorlemmer
  • an MA thesis

Apply through the Utrecht University vacancy site

(search “academic” + ” Humanities”, open the relevant ad, scroll to the bottom, and click on the application link)

The deadline for application is 26 -1-2014.

The interviews are scheduled to take place during the last week of February, 2014.

Contact information

Informal inquiries can be addressed to Prof. Ted Sanders (, Dr. Sandrine Zufferey ( or Dr Maaike Schoorlemmer (

About benecla

Belgian Netherlands Cognitive Linguistics Association
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