PhD student

Last application date
Mar 15, 2018 17:00
LW21 - Department of Languages and Cultures
Limited duration
MA in African Languages and Cultures, MA in Linguistics or an equivalent diploma
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

Applications are invited for a two-year PhD research position, starting as early as possible in 2018 and renewable once, to carry out historical-comparative linguistic research within the ERC-funded BantuFirst project led by Prof. Dr. Koen Bostoen.

You will be part of the UGent Department of Languages and Cultures ( and operate within the UGent Centre for Bantu Studies (, associated with the UGent African Studies program (;

Your PhD research will be situated in the field of historical-comparative Bantu linguistics and be dedicated to the reconstruction of Proto-West-Coastal Bantu vocabulary referring to plants, animals and related concepts with the specific aim of getting a better understanding of the subsistence and the natural environment of the first Bantu speech communities south of the rainforest;

Your PhD research will closely interact with the archaeobotanical and palaeo-environmental research planned within the BantuFirst project;

You will be expected to do fieldwork in Central-African countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Gabon with the aim of collecting specialized plant and animal vocabulary in languages for which these data are not yet available;

You will participate in the project’s fieldwork missions in Central Africa planned between 2018 and 2022 or carry out fieldwork independently;

You will be expected to collaborate with specialists from other disciplines to establish the scientific identification of the animal and plant species for which you collected vocabulary;

You will be expected to disseminate research results together with the BantuFirst research team via the publication in international peer-reviewed journals, the participation in conferences and the popularization for a wider audience.

Profile of the candidate

You hold a MA degree in African Languages and Cultures and/or Linguistics or have an equivalent diploma;

You are familiar with African languages, preferably Bantu languages;

You have a basic training in African linguistics and obtained good marks in that field;

You have good knowledge of English as well as sufficient knowledge of French to do fieldwork in francophone Central Africa;

You are willing and able to carry out fieldwork in West-Central Africa;

You are a dynamic and enthusiastic team player.


Additional Assets:

Experience with West-Coastal Bantu languages and/or other western Bantu languages;

Training in historical linguistics;

Linguistic fieldwork experience in Africa;

Keen interest in interdisciplinary approaches to the African past.

How to apply

Send your CV and Letter of Motivation in English to Prof. Dr. Koen Bostoen, , Department of Languages and Cultures, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Ghent. The Letter of Motivation should include a short research plan, in which you specify how you would tackle the proposed PhD research. If you have not obtained a MA degree in African Languages and Cultures at Ghent University, please provide a reference letter from the Professor who supervised your MA research. For more information or a full project description:. Check also