The Collaborative Research Centre CRC 1287 “Limits of Variability in Language: Cognitive, Computational, and Grammatical Aspects” in Potsdam, Germany, invites applications for 10 positions for PhD candidates and Postdocs available from July 2021 for a duration of four years

The linguistic system exhibits a high degree of variability at all levels of linguistic description. This variability in language can be characterised as a range of different possible linguistic behaviours that are available to an individual language user, a group of language users, or in specific languages. The variability is limited by the constraints of the underlying linguistic system and shaped by cognitive and social or communicative factors. This variability is not just reducible to random noise but provides an important source of information to explain and predict linguistic behaviour. By modelling the factors influencing linguistic behaviours, the CRC (21 PIs in 13 scientific projects, one transfer project, and three service projects) contributes to a better understanding of the underlying mental representations and processing architectures in individual language users, as well as of the grammatical options available in individual languages and specific linguistic varieties, and options shared by particular subgroups of languages users.

The CRC provides a fantastic research infrastructure including a large interdisciplinary network of researchers, its own graduate school (successful PhD candidates and Postdocs automatically become members of the MGK – Integrated Research Training Group), and funding opportunities for conference visits, summer schools, hosting international experts etc.

Applicants can apply for one or more of the following projects according to their interest and qualification:

B01:(In)Variability in prosodic cues and their incremental use in perception, production, and interaction (Isabell Wartenburger, Outi Tuomainen, Sandra Hanne)

B02: The link between production and comprehension. Insights from aphasia (Frank Burchert, Nicole Stadie)

B03: Modelling the connection between eye-movement control, sentence processing, and brain signals (Shravan Vasishth, Ralf Engbert, Milena Rabovsky)

C03: Effects of variable input on word learning and word recognition in infants (Barbara Höhle, Adamantios Gafos)

C06: Grammatical processing and syntactic change (Ulrike Demske, Claudia Felser)

C07: Limits of variability in phonotactic acquisition due to universal biases: A cross-linguistic investigation of monolingual and bilingual infants (Natalie Boll-Avetisyan)

C08: Consequences of head-argument order for syntax (Gisbert Fanselow)

T01: Transforming text across media (Manfred Stede, Tatjana Scheffler)

The University of Potsdam has a vibrant and interdisciplinary scientific community spanning many disciplines, including leading groups in the field of cognitive sciences ( The University is located in the city of Potsdam, which is connected to Berlin city centre via a quick 30-minute train ride. Potsdam is an attractive historical city and its palaces are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Both cities are culturally vibrant and offer an unparalleled quality of life, as well as affordable cost of living.

The University of Potsdam aims to increase the proportion of women in research and teaching and therefore expressly invites qualified female candidates to apply. The University of Potsdam values the diversity of its members and pursues the goals of equal opportunities regardless of gender, nationality, ethnic and social origin, religion/belief, disability, age, sexual orientation or identity. In the case of equal suitability, women in accordance with Section 7 (4) BbgHG and people with a severe disability will be given preferential consideration. We explicitly invite applications from abroad and from persons with a migration background.

A detailed description of the available positions and the respective requirements can be found here .