Are you interested in how word meanings differ across languages and how we acquire and use concepts in a second language? Then start your academic career within linguistics as a PhD candidate. In this project, you will investigate how people talk about pain in different languages.
Cross-linguistic studies into semantic domains such as colour, perception and emotion have shown that languages differ in the way experience is mapped to words. One domain that has not received much attention from a cross-linguistic point of view is that of pain. We know that languages differ in what kinds of words they have to talk about pain, but the exact ways in which languages are similar and different need further study. Pain expression in a second language has also not been investigated much, even though this line of research may have important implications for L2 learning and intercultural health care communication.
In this PhD project, you will first carry out a comparative investigation of pain expressions across two or more languages. You will choose which languages to focus on based on your own interest and expertise. Ideally, one of the languages you include in the comparative investigation is widely spoken as an L2 by speakers of one of the other languages. For instance, you could compare a minority language to a more widely-spoken lingua franca.
In the second part of the project, you will investigate pain expression in a second language and how this relates to differences between the languages in pain expression.
Possible methods to be used in this project are a) questionnaires with imagined situations to elicit expressions of types of pain, b) free listing of pain vocabulary, c) corpus research on existing or elicited pain descriptions, d) experimental approaches to investigate associations and mental imagery evoked by L1/L2 pain language.
You will present the research outcomes at national and international conferences, and you will write at least three articles for international high-impact journals, to be included in your doctoral thesis.
Your research will be embedded in the Centre for Language Studies (CLS) and you will be part of the Graduate School for the Humanities (GSH). You will devote 75% of your time to the research for and writing of your PhD thesis. The remaining 25% will be spent on training and academic service to the Faculty of Arts, including teaching.
We offer you the opportunity to develop and carry out your own PhD project within the areas of expertise of your supervisors, Dr Saskia van Putten
, Dr Ferdy Hubers
and Dr Laura Speed
. Your promoter will be Prof. Helen de Hoop
. The project will be funded by a Starters grant from the Faculty of Arts awarded to Dr Saskia van Putten and Dr Ferdy Hubers.