Call for Applications for Post Doc Fellowship in Indigenous Language Documentation and Technology (Deadline 2020/04/30)

Job Title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Job Rank: Post Doc
Specialty Areas:
Indigenous Language Documentation and Technology

Description

The university-community Partnership “21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages” invites applications for a full-time Postdoctoral Fellowship, beginning in summer/fall 2020, in this research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada. The start date is negotiable, and the appointment is tenable for 2 years, subject to review after the 1st year.

This 7-year Partnership is led by the Alberta Language Technology Lab (ALTLab) in the Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta, and it has as partner organizations 13 institutions and Indigenous language communities and 31 individual researchers and educators in Canada, the United States, and Norway. Further details of our Partnership and the host organization can be found at: https://altlab.artsrn.ualberta.ca/21c/ and http://altlab.artsrn.ualberta.ca 

Members of our Partnership have been developing computational models of the phonetics, morphology, lexis, and syntax of Indigenous languages in Canada and North America, starting with the Algonquian and the Dene language families, to create software applications that support their continued use in daily life by both speakers and learners. These include intelligent electronic dictionaries, spell-checkers, linguistically analyzed text collections, computer-aided language learning tools, as well as text-to-speech synthesizers and optical character recognition. The languages we have gotten the furthest with are Plains Cree (Algonquian) and Tsuut’ina (Dene), see: https://altlab.artsrn.ualberta.ca/tools-applications/ and https://altlab.artsrn.ualberta.ca/publications/ .

Duties

The tasks of the Postdoc will include the following, allowing for variation based on the successful applicant’s competences and interests:

      1. participation in/responsibility for the continued development of our existing computational morphological and phonetic models and end-user applications for the Algonquian and/or Dene and/or other Indigenous languages we are already working on;
      2. participation in/responsibility for the development of new computational morphological and phonetic models and applications for Indigenous languages other than the ones we are working on, preferably spoken in Canada;
      3. partial training and supervision of undergraduate and graduate students (M.A/Ph.D level) in developing models, applications and resources for Indigenous languages; 
      4. engagement with Indigenous community consultants on collecting primary linguistic data and gathering feedback from community members;
      5. other administrative responsibilities.

The fellowship comes with an annual salary (in CAD) in line with SSHRC policies (https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/programs-programmes/fellowships/postdoctoral-postdoctorale-eng.aspx), and benefits.

The postdoc is expected to work with and support the activities of multiple Partners in the Partnership, and may be co-located or based at other Partners for part of their tenure (https://altlab.artsrn.ualberta.ca/21c/people/). To this end, the Partnership has allocated dedicated funding for work and travel at multiple locations.

By the end of the Postdoc appointment, the successful applicant will have a set of skills allowing them to partner with Indigenous communities and field linguists to develop a range of sophisticated tools in support of language maintenance and revitalization.

Qualifications
  • The applicants should have recently completed, or be about to finish, a Ph.D degree in linguistics or an associated relevant discipline.
  • Successful applicants may have specialized either in a) the documentation and study of Indigenous American languages, with an interest to learn computational modelling, or in b) in the computational modelling (text and/or speech) of morphologically rich languages, with an interest to learn the essential morphological and phonetic characteristics of the languages we are working with.
How to Apply

The application should include

  1. A research statement (ca. 2 pages) outlining past experience and current research interests and, in particular, how these align with and contribute towards the goals of our Partnership project,
  2. A Curriculum Vitae (with a List of Publications), and
  3. 1-3 relevant academic writing samples
  4. Letters of Recommendation should be sent directly to Project Director, Dr. Antti Arppe by 3 referees.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Arppe in advance to discuss their research plan.

Applications and any inquiries should be sent by electronic mail to Dr. Antti Arppe (arppe@ualberta.ca). Review of applications will begin by April 30, 2020, and will continue until the position is filled.

Application Deadline: 30-April-2020 (Open until filled)
Email Address for Applications: arppe@ualberta.ca

Contact Information:

Dr. Antti Arppe
Email: arppe@ualberta.ca