The Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas

Open Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, University of Alberta Language Technology Lab

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta invites applications for a full-time Postdoctoral Fellowship, beginning in early 2015, within the research project 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages, funded by a Partnership Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The start date is negotiable, and the appointment is tenable for two years, subject to a review after the first year.

Description of the position can be found here.

While the project will start considering applications in just two weeks, on Jan 26th, if we hear at least expressions of interests from qualified candidates before/by that date and have an opportunity to discuss their personal/research fit with the position, we most likely will be able to wait for a proper, full application sometime after that date.

This research project is associated with several laboratories and institutes within the Department of Linguistics and is led by Dr. Antti Arppe (Alberta Language Technology Laboratory: ALTLAB), Dr. Jordan Lachler (Canadian Indigenous Languages and Literacy Development Institute: CILLDI), Dr. Juhani Järvikivi (Centre for Comparative Psycholinguistics: CCP), and Dr. Timothy Mills (ALTLab, Alberta Phonetics Laboratory: APhL). Furthermore, we are collaborating within Canada with the Cree Literacy Network and internationally with the Giellatekno and Divvun research and development teams in University of Tromsø, Norway.

Currently, we are developing computational models of the phonetics, morphology and lexis of Plains Cree, with the goal of creating software applications that support the continued use of the language in daily life by both speakers and learners.  These include an intelligent electronic dictionary, a spell-checker, computer-aided language learning and practice tools, a word form analyzer and generator, as well as a text-to-speech synthesizer.  We have also embarked on initial similar work with other American Indigenous languages, such as Northern Haida, that our collaborators have expertise in. Further details of our project can be found at:

The tasks of the Postdoctoral Fellow will include the following, allowing for variation based on the the successful applicant’s background, competences and research interests:

  1. participation in, or responsibility for, the continued development of Plains Cree computational morphological and phonetic models and applications based on community feedback; 2. participation in, or responsibility for, the basic development of computational morphological and phonetic models and prototype applications for an Indigenous language other than Plains Cree, ideally one spoken in Canada; 3. partial training and supervision of undergraduate and graduate students (M.A/Ph.D level) in developing basic model and prototype applications for an Indigenous language other than Plains Cree; 4. engagement with Indigenous community consultants on collecting primary linguistic data and gathering feedback from field-testers; and 5. other administrative responsibilities

By the end of the Postdoctoral appointment, the successful applicant will have a set of skills that will allow them to partner with Indigenous communities and field linguists to develop a range of sophisticated tools in support of language maintenance and revitalization.

Successful applicants may have either (a) specialized in the documentation and study of one or more Indigenous American languages, and have a familiarity with (or willingness to learn) computational modeling, or have (b) specialized in the computational modelling (text and/or speech) of morphologically rich languages, and have a familiarity with (or willingness to learn) the essential morphological and phonetic characteristics of the languages our project is working with.

The fellowship comes with a salary of $34,500-$38,000 (CAD) per annum plus benefits. The salary will be commensurate with experience of the candidate and will follow University of Alberta policies (

Applicants should have recently completed (no more than five years before the beginning of their appointment), or be in final stages of finishing their Ph.D degree (so that the Ph.D degree will be entirely completed upon the beginning of their appointment).

The application should include (1) a research statement/plan (ca. 2 pages) outlining past experience and current research interests and, in particular, how these align with and contribute towards the general goals of our SSHRC project,

(2) a Curriculum Vitae (including a List of Publications), and (3) one to three academic writing samples relevant to our project as well as the research statement. In addition, (4) Letters of Recommendation should be sent directly (to Dr. Antti Arppe: by three referees. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Antti Arppe to discuss their research plan.

Applications and any inquiries  should be sent by electronic mail to Dr. Antti Arppe ( Further, up-to-date information on this position can be found at:

Review of applications will begin on January 26, 2015, and will continue until the position is filled.

The University of Alberta hires on the basis of merit. We are committed to the principle of equity in employment. We welcome diversity and encourage applications from all qualified women and men, including persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities, and Aboriginal persons.

Updated: August 4, 2016 — 4:23 pm

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