Researcher/Posdoctoral Fellow, Across-Domain Investigations in Multilingualism

Trondheim, Norway
11 Jan 2022
End of advertisement period
07 Feb 2022
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position 

One 2-year position as Researcher/Postdoctoral Fellow in Multilingualism is available in the Department of Language and Literature at NTNU The Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The position is affiliated with the project ADIM (Across-Domain Investigations in Multilingualism), a Polish-Norwegian project financed by EEA Norway grants. ADIM is a collaborative project between three institutions, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (AMU), UiT The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø, and NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. In addition to the researcher/postdoctoral fellow at NTNU, there will be a corresponding position at UiT and two in Poznan. The project must be completed by April 30, 2024.

The position will also be part of the AcqVA research group, which is a joint research group between NTNU and UiT The Arctic University of Norway (Tromsø). The NTNU part of AcqVA includes 8 permanent members of staff, 3 adjunct professors, 3 postdocs, and 7 PhD candidates. The group investigates variation, acquisition, and attrition from a formal grammar perspective, and includes faculty from multiple sections: English, French, German, and Nordic.

About the project

The scientific investigation of multilingual language acquisition is vibrant and growing. However, studies typically focus exclusively on one language domain in a selected acquisition setting. What is missing is a broader picture of multilingual acquisition, processing and use. Especially the phenomenon of cross-linguistic influence (CLI) investigated across different domains in multilingual acquisition still remains largely unexplored. The ADIM project aims to bridge this gap by addressing these issues in an interdisciplinary and comprehensive manner. ADIM focuses on three groups of multilingual learners who share the same language repertoire but vary in their specific profiles with respect to the setting and stage of acquisition. Participants are L1 speakers of Polish with English as L2 acquiring Norwegian as an L3 in instructed and naturalistic settings respectively, both at initial and advanced stages of acquisition, and Polish/Norwegian L1 bilinguals acquiring English as an L3. While L3 research has so far predominantly been based on e.g. acceptability judgement tasks (for syntax) or perception/production tests (for phonology), the ADIM project will supplement these with methodology that has so far generally not been common in this field, EEG/ERPs and eyetracking. The novelty of the present project pertains to how electrophysiological evidence combined with more traditional behavioral methods can inform the theory of L3 acquisition, in particular, to examine transfer source selectivity in L3/Ln. ADIM will further test and modify existing theoretical models of L3 acquisition so that they offer an optimal explanatory framework which can account for the complexity of the acquisition process in the multilingual mind. The project will thus contribute to a greater understanding of multilingual competence and its acquisition and processing in general, but it will also document the speech patterns of Polish-Norwegian multilingual communities with different constellations of stage and setting of acquisition.

Duties of the position

The advertised researcher/postdoctoral fellow will be responsible for Work Package 4 of the ADIM project: Study on L3/Ln acquisition of semantics. The following is a slightly shortened and adjusted version of the description of this Work Package from the project proposal:

Work package 4: Study on L3/Ln the acquisition of semantics

This package addresses genericity, which interacts in interesting ways with definiteness and specificity and their morphosyntactic expressions across languages. Genericity is a basic meaning that all languages have to express. When using a generic noun phrase, e.g. Tigers eat meat, the speaker wants to express a general property characteristic of all animals falling into the genus tiger, namely, that they are carnivores. Languages of the world use various means of expressing this and other, closely related, meanings. Sometimes, one language would express genericity with a certain form while in another language the equivalent form would not convey a generic meaning.  An example is provided by Spanish and English: the Spanish definite plural los tigres is used to refer generically, while in English the tigers describes some specific animals, but not all tigers in the world. Such form–meaning mismatches create enormous difficulties for language learners. Generic interpretations are determined by one or more covert elements (a semantic morpheme GEN has been proposed), which are never realized by an unambiguous overt morpho-syntactic form. Paradigms contain 3–4 forms expressing different shades of genericity, unlike any other semantic property. Learners acquiring a second or a third language are faced with many-to-many acquisition tasks prompting difficult paradigm reshuffles. Very likely these mismatches translate into processing issues as well, but they have not been investigated so far. In addition, the bulk of experimental studies to date have been done on English and a handful of Romance languages, so adding Norwegian and Polish would be beneficial for theory development. In sum, within the broad linguistic area of genericity, variation within a language and cross-linguistic variation need to be addressed consistently.

In our research to date, we have created a genericity-testing questionnaire and translated it into ten languages. Polish can easily be added. Here are our cross-linguistic findings so far: In expressing generic meanings (e.g., Tigers eat meat), languages fall largely into three groups: those without articles (Russian, Turkish, Japanese, Polish); Romance type (Spanish, French, Italian, Bulgarian) and Germanic type (Norwegian, Swedish, German). English is exceptional in that it has a larger paradigm, and there are interesting form-meaning mismatches between Norwegian and English. We will explore these differences in our research designs and relate them to knowledge of definiteness and specificity.

For example, one interesting area of mismatched expression is for sentences such as Life is beautiful. While Norwegian does have definite and indefinite articles in general, English patterns with the article-less Polish, while Norwegian is different. On the other hand, in the marking of definiteness (e.g., Susan thought that her dog was lazy. The dog slept a lot.), Norwegian and English pattern together, to the exclusion of Polish. Such a configuration of properties will allow us to test cross-linguistic influence (CLI) consistently, avoiding language dominance issues. Processing research designs should follow and expand on acceptability tasks, in order to triangulate knowledge of meaning, knowledge of expression, and processing.

We will use acceptability judgment tasks, which have been the leading methodology in examining these semantic properties. We will also create Truth Value Judgment Tasks, incorporating all the meanings that are expressed in the same way, and those that are expressed differently, in the three languages under consideration. Finally, we will use the eye tracking while reading method, creating stories with acceptable or unacceptable sentences. Eye tracking has not been used before in the L3A of semantics.

Required selection criteria

  • A completed PhD in Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Psychology or another relevant field
  • Demonstrable experience with previous research within multilingualism
  • Excellent command of spoken and written English

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Preferred selection criteria

  • Knowledge of Norwegian or another Scandinavian language
  • Knowledge of Polish or another Slavic language
  • Experience with relevant methodologies, ranging from traditional behavioral approaches to experimental techniques

In the evaluation of the candidates, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and academic potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates.

Since ADIM is a joint project between three institutions (see above), the successful candidate for the NTNU position will be expected to work closely with the researcher/postdoctoral fellow hired at UiT(link to UiT announcement) as well as the team at AMU in Poznan. In the hiring process for both positions we will seek to hire candidates with complementary expertise.

Applicants must provide a general contextualizing statement/proposal (2 pages maximum), indicating how they see their background and experience fitting into the ADIM project, especially in relation to Work Package 4. Please contact the PI of ADIM (see contact details below) for access to the full research proposal and any questions you might have.

We offer 

Salary and conditions

As a Postdoctoral Fellow (code 1352) you are normally paid from gross NOK 543 500 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund. 

The period of employment is 2 years starting on May 1, 2022. The project must be completed by April 30, 2024.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work. 

The position is subject to external funding.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution on a daily basis. 

About the application 

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above. 

If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result.

The application must include:

  • Letter of application
  • Contextualizing statement/proposal (max 2 pages), detailing how the candidate plans to contribute to the research done in the ADIM project 
  • CV (containing a complete overview of education, supervised professional training and professional work).
  • Diplomas and references (scanned copies of degree and a list of three to four references who can be contacted, inclusive of contact information).
  • Three samples of published work or other professional writings.

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well. 
Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation. 

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA. 

General information 

Working at NTNU 

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background.

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.  

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted. 

According to the Information Act (Offentleglova), your name, age, position and municipality may be made public even if you have requested not to have your name entered on the list of applicants. 

For further information about the position and the ADIM project, please consult the project website and/or contact the leader of the NTNU ADIM team via E-mail:

If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Kristian Arne Iversen, e-mail:

Please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Diploma Supplement is required to attach for European Master Diplomas outside Norway. Chinese applicants are required to provide confirmation of Master Diploma from China Credentials Verification (CHSI).  

If you are invited for interview you must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters.

Application deadline: 07.02.2022


NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Language and Literature

We conduct research and teaching in comparative literature, English, French, Spanish, German, Scandinavian studies, linguistics, phonetics, applied linguistics, sign language and interpreting, and cultural history. We are also responsible for the five-year master’s programmes in teacher education (lektorutdanning) in language subjects. The Department has an active research environment with responsibility for several large research projects. The Department of Language and Literature is one of seven departments in the Faculty of Humanities.

Deadline 7th February 2022
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Project
Place of service

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