Support: General Linguistics / Germany

Institution/Organization: Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany
Department: Linguistics Department
Web Address:

Level: PhD

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: General Linguistics
Nominal Modification


Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany, offers full funding for 12 graduate students who aim for a PhD in the domain of nominal modification. These 12 PhD positions will be part of the newly approved graduate program ‘Nominal Modification’, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

The research programme of the school covers three major aspects of nominal modification. First, the internal syntactic structure of nominal phrases with regard to synchronic and diachronic diversity including typological aspects, as well as processing and acquisition will be studied, particularly addressing the problem of functional layers within the DP and the elements hosted there. Second, the external structural properties of modified nominal phrases are investigated with an emphasis on the phenomena extraposition, discontinuity and non-locality. Here, the main aim is to explore the factors influencing the choice of alternative constructions by conducting interdisciplinary research in relevant fields including syntax, prosody and pragmatics. The third main research question deals with interpretive aspects of modification. Here, the focus is on the challenges for compositionality presented by non-locally interpreted modifiers. Furthermore, differences between various kinds of local modification are investigated; in particular, cognitive explanations for the overall preference of modification by intersection and subsective modification in general will be sought.

Each position will be funded for 3 years on the German pay scale TVL-E13 (65%), which includes social benefits.

Duties and Responsibilities:
The students are expected to write a dissertation based on independent research, and to actively participate in the advanced courses offered. They will be encouraged and receive financial support to participate in conferences and summer schools and to conduct empirical research.

Internationally renowned scholars will be invited for talks and seminars relevant to the research topics of the graduate students. Members of the graduate school will be eligible to participate in an exchange programme with the Linguistics Department and the Institute for Research in Cognitive Science at the University of Pennsylvania for one semester. The school will also cooperate with Goethe University’s graduate academy GRADE, which provides support regarding structured doctoral education and offers additional training, consulting, and networking events.

Applicants should posses an M.A. in linguistics, or equivalent, with the degree completed by October 1, 2014.

How to apply
Applications should contain the following documents:
- letter of intent (1-3 pages) in English or German that describes the research topic the candidate plans
to work on in his/her doctoral thesis and the candidate’s research interests; the research topic has to
be related to nominal modification.;
- representative sample of research work (e.g. an advanced seminar paper or M.A.  thesis on any topic);
- two names of references who may be contacted by the search committee;
- curriculum vitae (CV);
- copy of M.A. degree (to be handed in latest by October 1, 2014, if not already available by June 30,

All required documents should be e-mailed as pdf attachments to
Prof. Dr. Caroline Féry at
Subject line: nominal modification.
The recommendation letters should also be e-mailed directly to this address.

We are committed to increasing the proportion of female scientific staff at the University and applications from women are especially welcome. Employees will be supported in their efforts to combine their professional life with family duties. Where qualifications are equal, preference will be given to people with disabilities.

Application Deadline: 30-Jun-2014

Mailing Address for Applications:
Attn: Prof. Caroline Fery
Goethe University, Linguistics Department
Grüneburgplatz 1
60629 Frankfurt

Web Address for Applications:

Contact Information:
Prof. Caroline Fery

LINGUIST List: Vol-25-2228