This postdoctoral position is part of a joint University of Cambridge/Université Libre de Bruxelles project on the impact of bilingualism and bi-dialectalism on linguistic and cognitive development. The project’s promoters are Napoleon Katsos (Cambridge) and Mikhail Kissine (Université Libre de Bruxelles).
The successful candidate will have to implement and run a series of linguistic and cognitive tasks on a population of monolingual, bilingual, and bi-dialectal children in different locations of Dutch-speaking Belgium. The researcher will also contribute to the analyses and interpretation of the findings and to academic publications. The researcher will also be encouraged to develop their independent research programme within the scope of the project.
Starting date: 01/10/2014. Net monthly salary starting from 2000 €.
Speaking two or more languages is becoming the norm rather than the exception. It is therefore imperative to understand the impact of bilingualism on child development. Research to date reports negative effects of bilingualism on linguistic development (when the bilingual child is compared to monolingual peers), but positive effects on cognitive development. We propose that there are aspects of linguistic development, namely pragmatics and conversational skills, where bilingualism should have a positive effect. Moreover, we propose that the contrastive study of bilingualism and bi-dialectalism (children speaking two dialects) has unique potential to reveal the nature of the cognitive advantages of bilingualism. We bring these two strands together in a single program of research that will address questions of central interest for communities both within and beyond academia.
• Advanced or near-native knowledge of Dutch
• Experience in one or several of the following areas:
o experimental psychology
o experimental pragmatics
o language acquisition
o cognitive development
• Familiarity with advanced statistical analyses
• Familiarity with Flemish and/or French is desirable, but not required
How to apply
The application should comprise:
• a CV
• a statement of how the candidate’s research interests fit in with research in linguistic and cognitive development in bilingualism (up to 500 words)
• two reference letters