Funded PhD Candidate Position – Sign Language Research Line, BCBL, Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain

The Basque Center on Cognition Brain and Language (BCBL) in San Sebastián (Basque Country, Spain) is offering a 4-year funded PhD opportunity.

Job description: The PhD student will work on the SIGNifica project funded by the Spanish Ministry of  Science and Innovation, examining the lexical semantics of Spanish Sign Language (LSE). This project aims to collect free association norms for LSE to map the semantics of the LSE lexicon. The data will be used to create a network that characterizes how different meanings are interconnected, and to quantify semantic properties such as entropy, semantic neighborhood density and clustering. In addition, we will use this dataset to investigate how the intersection of form (phonology) and meaning (semantics) gives rise to systematicity and iconicity in the sign lexicon. This project involves a collaboration with the ASL-LEX developers (at Boston University and SDSU, California) and will involve cross-linguistic comparisons between LSE, ASL, Spanish and English. This project continues a broader line of research into the lexicon of Spanish Sign Language, an understudied language, and will provide valuable insight into the way that modality shapes how language is structured and processed by the human mind.

The selected candidate will play a central role in the project and will be involved in collecting and curating a large dataset of semantic associations from deaf LSE signers (via an on-line platform), exploiting existing language resources and performing computational analysis using network theory. The candidate will develop advanced technical and analytical skills and will also have the opportunity to develop experiments into sign language/LSE processing under the supervision and guidance of the PI. We encourage applications from Deaf candidates.

Application deadline: 8 October 2023

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