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PhD student - Meertens Institute-KNAW - Amsterdam

The PhD position is part of the NWO project 'Spread the new(s)'. The research will be conducted under the supervision of prof.dr. Nicoline van der …

10 dagen geleden


Spinhuissteeg, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
30 - 38 uur


The PhD position is part of the NWO project 'Spread the new(s)'.
The research will be conducted under the supervision of prof.dr. Nicoline van der Sijs (Meertens Institute/Radboud Universiteit) and prof.dr. Helen de Hoop (Radboud Universiteit).

Summary of the project:
In the first half of the 17th century, writers and grammarians formulated tentative prescriptive rules for a Dutch standard language. According to Haugen's model of standardisation (1966) this means that they selected and codified the form of the standard language. During the 17th century the standard language was elaborated for use in all domains and by all social classes. Up until now the factors determining its functional expansion have not been systematically investigated, largely because of a lack of relevant research data.

The project Spread the new(s) proposes to study the elaboration and acceptance of the Dutch standard language, based on a completely new, unique text corpus of manually transcribed 17th-century newspapers, containing 17 million words.

The main research question is: What (socio)linguistic factors are decisive in the functional implementation of a standard language? We hypothesize that newspapers played a crucial role in the expansion of the standard languageas the first mass medium read by all social classes. By comparing newspapers with fiction, non-fiction, religious texts and letters written by different social classes, we will be able to determine which factors were responsible for spreading the Dutch standard language and what the role of newspapers was.


Research master (historical) linguistics, good knowledge  of 17th-century Dutch, experience with corpus linguistics; (some) knowledge of a programming language such as Python and of computational modelling is an advantage.


The appointment at the KNAW for the Meertens Institute concerns an employment contract for the period of 1 year, with the prospect of an extension to 4 years. Starting date as soon as possible.

For the PhD, the salary in the first year amounts to € 2.325,00 and increases to € 2.972,00 in the fourth year (scale P CAO Dutch Universities) for a 38-hour working week.

The KNAW offers attractive secondary employment conditions, such as 8.3% end-of-year bonus, 8% holiday bonus, a good pension scheme, 6 weeks of annual leave and the possibility to buy/sell days off.

Additional information

For more information about the vacancy and the project you can contact prof. Nicoline van der Sijs via e-mail post@nicolinevdsijs.nl.

Click on this link to find the NWO application 'Spread the new(s)'.  

We will not respond to any supplier enquiries based on this job advertisement.


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