Job Opening at CRC1102 Information density and linguistic encoding

Job Title: Postdoctoral Researcher or PhD Candidate in Computational Linguistics/Digital Humanities/Corpus Linguistics

Position Type: Full-time, fixed-term (2 years with the possibility of extension)
Salary in accordance with the German TV-L salary scale, pay grade: E13 TV- L.

Application Deadline: June 1, 2023

Start Date: earliest possible opportunity, subject to negotiation


Saarland University is a campus university with an international reputation for research excellence, particularly in computer science and in the life sciences and nanosciences. The university is also distinguished by its close ties to France and its strong European focus. Around 17,000 students, studying over one hundred different academic disciplines, are currently enrolled at Saarland University. Saarland University is officially recognized as one of Germany’s family-friendly higher-education institutions and with a combined workforce of more than 4000 it is one of the largest employers in the region.


The position is affiliated with project B1 of the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1102. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to collaborate closely with other researchers at the CRC and at Saarland University. CRC 1102 is a thriving research environment with over 30 PhD students and postdocs from many subfields of linguistics, computational linguistics and psycholinguistics. It is located at Saarland University, one of the leading centers for computational linguistics in Europe. The Department of Language Science and Technology consists of about 100 research staff in nine research groups in the fields of computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, speech processing, and corpus linguistics. It is part of Saarland Informatics Campus, which brings together computer science research at the university with world-class research institutions on campus. See for more information on the CRC.

Project B1: Information Density in English Scientific Writing: A Diachronic Perspective

PIs: Elke Teich (, Stefania Degaetano-Ortlieb (

We are seeking a highly motivated Postdoctoral Researcher or PhD candidate with a strong background in computational linguistics or digital humanities and a keen interest in diachronic language studies. The position is situated in Project B1 on the Diachronic Development of Scientific English using information-theoretic approaches and considering rational communication accounts.

Project B1 is concerned with the hypothesis of communicative optimization in the development of scientific English. Based on a diachronic corpus (Royal Society Corpus), we have applied selected types of computational language models (e.g. topic models, n-gram models, word embeddings) and combined them with information-based measures (e.g. entropy, surprisal) to capture diachronic variation.

In the upcoming project phase, we intend to address the following research questions: (1) Is there evidence of a more general diachronic mechanism (beyond scientific language)? (2) Within scientific language, what are additional, typical imprints of conventionalization (register variables)? (3) How can we assess the overall communicative efficiency of scientific language (effects on working memory)? Focusing on selected linguistic phenomena (multi-word expressions, discourse markers, nominal vs. verbal phrases), we complement a corpus-based, production-oriented approach with selected behavioral, comprehension-oriented studies.

Job requirements and responsibilities:

  • Conduct research on the diachronic development of scientific English using computational methods and information-theoretic approaches
  • Analyze linguistic data and develop models to understand the underlying principles of rational communication in scientific discourse
  • Collaborate with a multidisciplinary team of researchers in linguistics, computational linguistics, psycholinguistics, and related fields
  • Present research findings at conferences and publish in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals

Your academic qualifications:

  • A completed MA/MSc in computational linguistics, digital humanities, or a closely related field (for Phd candidates)
  • A completed (or soon to be completed) PhD in computational linguistics, digital humanities, or a closely related field (for Postdoc candidates)

The successful candidate will also be expected to:

  • Strong programming skills and experience with computational text analysis, natural language processing, or machine learning techniques
  • Familiarity with variationist/diachronic language studies
  • A solid understanding of information-theoretic approaches would be a plus
  • Familiarity with experimental linguistics would be a plus
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • A good command of English is mandatory
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively in a multidisciplinary research environment

What we can offer you:

  • A flexible work schedule allowing you to balance work and family, among other things the possibility of teleworking
  • Secure and future-oriented employment with attractive conditions
  • A broad range of further education and professional development programs (for example language courses)
  • An occupational health management model with numerous attractive options, such as our university sports program
  • Supplementary pension scheme (RZVK)
  • Discounted tickets on local public transport services (‘Job-Ticket Plus‘ of the saarVV)

To apply, please submit the following documents:

1.      Cover letter detailing your research interests, qualifications, and motivation for applying

2. Curriculum vitae, including a list of publications

3. Names of two scholars who can be addressed for a letter of reference

Please submit your application materials via email to and  by June 1, 2023. For further information about the position or the research center visit our website at .

We look forward to receiving your application and exploring the possibility of you joining our dynamic research team.

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