Postdoc Research position on First and Second Language Processing in multilingual contexts (0⁠.45 FTE)

Postdoc Research position on First and Second Language Processing in multilingual contexts (0⁠.45 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
4 Apr 1 May Utrecht

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Which cognitive processes underlie speech perception in Dutch L2 and language switching into English in speakers who have been taught receptive Dutch L2?

Job description

We are seeking to hire a highly motivated, driven, and talented postdoc researcher to participate in the “Getting to the Core” project led by Prof. Rick de Graaff and Prof. Jan ten Thije. The job is offered for four years and will be carried out at the Institute for Language Sciences (ILS, formerly UiL OTS) at Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

The PhD position is part of the NWO funded research programme “Getting to the CoRe: a Communicative Receptive approach to language learning and mutual understanding in multilingual academic contexts”, in which two PhD candidates and one Postdoc researcher participate and collaborate. You will work in an interdisciplinary team with researchers from the fields of second language acquisition, speech processing, discourse analysis, intercultural communication and language education.

Project description:
The Dutch language barrier can hold internationals back from participating in Dutch-language meetings of participatory bodies at universities. As a result, the perspective of internationals in policy-making is considered to a much lesser extent. Receptive multilingualism (also known as Intercomprehension or Lingua Receptiva/Luistertaal) might offer solutions for such situations, where interlocutors speak/write their own language and are able to understand/read the other language. It would enable internationals to communicate using receptive proficiency in Dutch and their productive proficiency in English, avoiding the need to develop advanced Dutch proficiency in the productive skills, which are far more time-consuming to acquire.
This project aims to develop effective strategies for learning and using receptive multilingual communication among highly educated learners. The results can be used for developing Dutch language learning methods and help institutions create a more inclusive international environment.

The Postdoc project will be concerned with the following research question:
Which cognitive processes underlie speech perception in Dutch L2 and language switching into English in speakers who have been taught receptive Dutch L2?
It is essential to know what processes underlie the effective use of receptive multilingual communication, for educational, communicative and general scientific purposes. This sub project investigates to what extent speech processing skills and language switching skills predict communicative effectiveness in multilingual interaction. Moreover, knowledge about how learners process auditory information in Dutch L2 and switch between languages could inform methods of receptive language teaching and learning.

Please check out the following links for more information on the project, the preparatory project on multilingualism at Utrecht University and Utrecht University’s bilingual language policy. A full project description in English is available upon request.
Our ideal candidate will have a good background in experimental psycholinguistics or neurolinguistics, specifically (instructed) second language acquisition and use.

  • Setting up and carrying out speech processing and code-switching experiments in receptive and productive Dutch L2 and English L1/L2;
  • Analyzing neurophysiological and psycholinguistic behavioral data;
  • Reporting findings in peer reviewed journals, in collaboration with PhD students and supervisors;
  • Participation in the supervision team of two PhD students


Utrecht University


  • A PhD degree in psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics or second language acquisition, in hand by the starting date;
  • Expertise in experimental methods for language processing;
  • Interest in intercultural and multilingual communication;
  • High proficiency in academic English;
  • Receptive proficiency in Dutch (minimum level B1 CEFR);
  • Ability to work both as an independent researcher and as a team member in an interdisciplinary team;
  • Willingness to co-supervise two PhD students;
  • Strong organizational, social and communication skills.

Conditions of employment

You will be offered a temporary position (0.45 FTE), initially for one year with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year. The minimum gross salary is €3,839 and the maximum gross salary is €3,839 (scale 10.5 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) per month, at a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year.

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, professional development, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability. Find out more about our university by watching Utrecht University Campus Tour on our social media channel 

The Faculty of Humanities has around 7,000 students and 1,100 staff members. It comprises four knowledge domains: Philosophy and Religious Studies, History and Art History, Media and Culture Studies, and Languages, Literature and Communication. With its research and education in these fields, the faculty aims to contribute to a better understanding of the Netherlands and Europe in a rapidly changing social and cultural context. The enthusiastic and committed colleagues and the excellent amenities in the historical city centre of Utrecht, where the faculty is housed, contribute to an inspiring working environment.

Also, everyone deserves to feel at home at our faculty. We therefore welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, regardless of race, skin color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, origin, disability or age.

The core values of the Faculty for Humanities are professionalism, transparency, responsibility, connectedness and safety. The core values apply to everyone and we uphold these values in our work and in our communication with each other and with others.

The team carrying out this work (led by Prof. Rick de Graaff and Prof. Em. Jan D.  ten Thije) will operate within the Language and Education group of the Institute for Language Sciences (ILS) and will be carried out in collaboration with researchers in related research teams. ILS is part of the Department of Language, Literature and Communication in the Faculty of Humanities. 

The Department of Languages, Literature and Communication offers Bachelor and Master degree programmes in literary studies, linguistics, communication studies, translation, as well as in Dutch, English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Celtic languages.


  • Postdoc
  • Language and culture
  • max. 18 hours per week
  • max. €3839 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 1208151



Trans 10, 3512 JK, Utrecht

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