PhD Fellowship, Interactional Linguistics/Conversation Analysis, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Deadline: 31 May 2019.
A new research project funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) is looking for applicants for a fully funded four-year PhD fellowship in interactional linguistics/conversation analysis. The PhD fellowship is part of a larger collaborative project entitled “The first five words: Multilingual cities in Switzerland and Belgium and the grammar of language choice in public space”. The team heading the project is composed of Elwys De Stefani (KU Leuven) and Lorenza Mondada (University of Basel), as well as 4 PhD students. For the Flemish part of the project, the PhD fellows will be based at KU Leuven (Department of Linguistics).
This project studies how unacquainted persons spontaneously engage in interaction in multilingual cities in Belgium and Switzerland. The research will be based on video-recordings collected in various locations and address the following questions:
How can people engage in pro-social encounters without knowing in advance which language the other speaks? How do speakers decide, in the very first moments of the encounter, which language(s) they are going to use?
How do speakers orient to the multilingual setting in encounter openings? How do speakers align or disalign with a “basic code” proposed in the greeting?
Do urban public spaces represent “territories of multilingualism” in the speakers’ actual talk?
In public space, the beginning of an encounter emerges first of all through visible embodied behaviour; what is the relation between the organisation of visible embodied conduct and the politics of multilingualism?
The above questions are crucial for research on multilingualism, but also for contemporary societies in general. The project thus highlights the foundations of co-sociality, and the conditions for pro-social encounters between strangers (possibly speaking different languages).