PhD position at Leiden University

Institution/Organization: Universiteit Leiden 
Department: Centre for Linguistics 
Web Address: 

Level: PhD 

Duties: Research

Specialty Areas: Historical Linguistics 
African Linguistics; East Africa 



Salaried PhD Position (full time, 4 years) in the NWO project: Unravelling
East Africa’s Early Linguistic History

The PhD candidate will be working on a subproject within the project
Unravelling East Africa’s Early Linguistic History, funded by the Netherlands
Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and directed by dr. Maarten Mous
(professor of African linguistics at Leiden University). Aims of the PhD
subproject is a revised and drastically expanded linguistic reconstruction of
Proto Core Cushitic. The PhD candidate is expected to revise and expand the
current reconstruction of Lowland East Cushitic bringing in new material from
relevant languages, establish the genetic position of Southern Cushitic
(including evidence from historical morphology) and provide a reconstructed
lexicon and phonology of the common ancestor. It may be needed to do some
fieldwork to fill lacunae in the lexical data.

Unravelling East Africa’s Early Linguistic History is a research project that
aims to reconstruct the earliest possible linguistic history of East Africa
with focus on Tanzania and Kenya and to provide a comprehensive overview of
its linguistic history in the last five thousand years. In the traditional
view, East Africa was populated by KhoiSan speaking hunter-gatherer
communities before successive populations of Cushitic, Bantu, and Nilotic
people moved in, bringing agriculture, animal husbandry, and iron. Recent
advances in archaeology show a more complex picture. Also, genetic studies
have become available, including studies on ancient human and cattle DNA.
Furthermore, historical linguists no longer consider the various East African
Khoi-San languages as related to each other. It is therefore time to fully
reconsider how the linguistic evidence relates to the early populations. We
aim at an overview of which language groups were where and in which chronology
based on linguistic evidence which serves as input for an interdisciplinary
workshop with archaeologists and geneticists that will provide a new and
detailed picture for the peopling of East Africa, linking linguistic groups
with archaeological finds and DNA results.

- Completing a PhD thesis within four years;
- Publishing at least one article;
- Presenting papers at conferences;
- Participating in the training program of the LUCL Graduate School and the
National Research School in Linguistics (LOT) and other relevant discussion
groups, seminars, workshops, and events;
- Some teaching in the second and third years of the appointment.

- An MA in Linguistics or similar subject that contained training in the
comparative method.
- Affinity with Cushitic linguistics;
- Experience in historical linguistic research; knowledge of or interest in
Cushitic and East Africa’s linguistic past; 
- Preferably knowledge of Swahili.

The job location is at the Centre for Linguistics, Leiden University. The
position comes with a salary of minimally 2.325,- EUR gross per month.
Initially a one-year contract, with extension for the following 36 months on
condition of a positive evaluation.

To apply, please see the application link provided below. 

Web Address for Applications: 

Contact Information: 
Dr. Maarten Mous