Postdoctoral researcher Language Differences and Communication Gaps

  • WO
  • Tijdelijk
University of Amsterdam (UvA)


The Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC), currently has a vacant Postdoc researcher position as part of the broader field Languages and Cultures. Within this field the focus is on developing innovative paradigms for sustainable language and literature education programmes. The ACLC prioritises diversity (taken in a holistic sense, e.g., ethnicity, social and/or linguistic background, gender, sexuality) and is committed to creating an inclusive research environment for everyone. We are seeking a talented researcher who can communicate well with the different ACLC research groups, and develop interdisciplinary projects. The ACLC is one of the five Research Schools within the Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research.

What are you going to do

Languages allow different linguistic strategies (e.g., use of different sentence moods) to express interlocutors' communicative intentions. There are currently several hundreds of languages spoken in The Netherlands, and one may wonder what the linguistic landscape looks like with regard to these patterns, and how they may influence teacher-pupil (teenager) interactions or else, interpersonal and public conversations. When speakers of different languages meet in a multilingual society, they are likely to assume that the language patterns engrained in their minds should somehow match with equivalent patterns in the surrounding languages as well. This attitude could lead to miscommunication or a misinterpretation of interlocutors' communicative intentions when language patterns diverge. It is therefore important to discover the range of variation between languages in this respect.

For this position, the ACLC expects the postdoc to formulate a project that investigates how speakers of different languages in The Netherlands bridge the gap between their other languages and Dutch, and how the differences between distinct languages in the encoding of communicative intentions may affect effective communication. This includes as well the interpretation of assignment instructions in classroom situations or official documents known for adopting directive speech forms, all of which may be the source of anxiety for pupils/citizens. A better understanding of the organization of language strategies and the way these are related to one another is highly relevant in establishing an inclusive communication in a multilingual society.

You are required to submit an innovative research proposal of 800-1000 words that investigates a wide range of languages currently spoken in The Netherlands. You are expected to explain how you would approach the project thematically, conceptually and methodologically, within the timeline of the 2 year appointment as well as its interdisciplinarity (i.e., its connection with preferably two research groups within the ACLC).

Your tasks and responsibilities:
  • Conducting research, presenting research results at (inter)national workshops and conferences;
  • publishing (co)-authored, peer reviewed articles or chapters in (inter)national scholarly; journals or edited volumes;
  • participating in activities of the research school and department;
  • (co-)organising knowledge dissemination activities;
  • possibly contributing to teaching courses.


Your experience and profile:
  • A PhD in General linguistics, linguistic typology, language and communication;
  • excellent research skills demonstrated by a track record of publishing in high-ranking journals and/or with leading presses or a demonstrable capacity to develop such a record;
  • a strong cooperative attitude and willingness to engage in collaborative research;
  • enthusiasm for communicating academic research to non-academic audiences;
  • excellent command of English.


The University of Amsterdam is the Netherlands' largest university, offering the widest range of academic programmes. At the UvA, 30,000 students, 6,000 staff members and 3,000 PhD candidates study and work in a diverse range of fields, connected by a culture of curiosity.

The Faculty of Humanities provides education and conducts research with a strong international profile in a large number of disciplines in de field of language and culture. Located in the heart of Amsterdam, the faculty maintains close ties with many cultural institutes in the capital city. Research and teaching staff focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and are active in several teaching programmes.

Want to know more about our organisation? Read more about working at the University of Amsterdam.


The Postdoc researcher will be appointed at the Department of Literary Studies & Linguistics of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam and will conduct the research in the ACLC. The employment contract will be for one year. Contingent on a positive performance evaluation the contract will be extended with one year. The employment contract is for 30,4 - 38 hours a week. Preferred starting date is 01 October 2022.

The gross monthly salary, based on 38 hours per week and relevant experience, ranges between € 3,974 to € 5,439. This sum does not include the 8% holiday allowance and the 8,3% year-end allowance. A favourable tax agreement, the '30% ruling', may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

What else do we offer
  • excellent possibilities for further professional development and education, including participation in a dedicated Research Training group;
  • an enthusiastic, inspiring and professional academic team;
  • the opportunity to collaborate with leading researchers at research institutes that - partly as a result of their interdisciplinary approach - are world renowned.

Meer informatie

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