Call for Graduate Student (MA/PhD) applications at University of Lethbridge (Application Deadline January 5th, 2021)

Level: MA / PhD
Institution/Organization: University of Lethbridge
Duties: Graduate Research 
Specialty Areas:

Blackfoot language; Indigenous Language Documentation; Computational Linguistics; Language Technology; Morphology; Phonetics; Text/Corpus Linguistics; Language Revitalization

Description:

The Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Lethbridge is offering two graduate student positions at the PhD (4 years) or MA (2 years) level, beginning in September 2021. These positions are part of the Blackfoot Language Resources project at the University of Lethbridge, which is a partner in the project 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages, funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Grant in 2019–2026 and hosted by the Alberta Language Technology Lab (ALTLab) at the University of Alberta.

The 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages project is developing language technological models, tools, and resources for Indigenous languages in Canada. This includes: intelligent electronic dictionaries, linguistically analyzed collections of spoken and written texts, spell-checkers, language learning and practice tools, and word form analyzers and generators. All our tools are created in close collaboration with Indigenous communities in order to facilitate and support the use of their languages in all spheres of life by community members.  

The positions advertised here will focus on the development of tools for Blackfoot (Algonquian), building upon preceding work on Plains Cree, East Cree, and Odawa (Algonquian), Tsuut’ina (Dene), and Haida (isolate). Students will be housed in the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Lethbridge and be co-supervised by Dr. Inge Genee (Professor & Partnership Co-director) at the University of Lethbridge and Dr. Antti Arppe (Associate Professor and Partnership Director) at the University of Alberta. In the first year of the program students will spend time in Edmonton at the Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta and ALTLab for coursework and training purposes, before beginning work on Blackfoot in the Lethbridge area in Southern Alberta. 

Duties and responsibilities: 

Alongside studies in the Department’s graduate program, the graduate students will be expected to: 

  • support the development or maintenance of our tool development for the Blackfoot language.
  • conduct research that contributes to our knowledge of the Blackfoot language and to community-based maintenance and revitalization efforts in the broadest sense, with a special focus on technological tool development and application.
Requirements:

These positions require: 

We will prefer candidates with: 

  • experience in and knowledge of the phonetics/phonology and/or morphosyntax of Indigenous languages (North American Indigenous languages, in particular Algonquian languages); and/or 
  • experience in computational linguistics and natural language processing (e.g. finite-state transducers, speech technology, machine learning); and/or 
  • interest or experience in language documentation, language revitalization, and language learning. 

Indigenous candidates, in particular Blackfoot candidates, are especially encouraged to apply. 

We offer: 
  • an opportunity to personally contribute to the creation of resources to support the practical retention of the Blackfoot language; 
  • opportunities for well-rounded, comprehensive training in empirical research methods in field linguistics, corpus linguistics and language technology; and 
  • a chance to participate in an international SSHRC-funded Partnership involving collaboration with 27 researchers from 14 different partner organizations world-wide including leading research centers in the development of language technology and research in Indigenous languages.
How to apply: 

Before applying, applicants must contact Dr. Genee (inge.genee@uleth.ca) to informally discuss the position as soon as feasible but not later than December 22, 2020

Following this, send by email to Inge Genee by January 5, 2021 (inge.genee@uleth.ca): 

  • a brief statement of research interests and relevant background (approx. 2-3 pages); 
  • curriculum vitae (including possible publications and presentations); 
  • transcripts of university studies
  • 2 reference letters

Suitable candidates will be invited to submit these materials formally to the University of Lethbridge graduate program, which has a deadline on February 1 2021.

These positions are intended for a start in September 2021, but will remain open until filled.

Application Deadline: 05-Jan-2021 
Contact Information: 

Inge.genee@uleth.ca.