PhD Candidate: The Language of Pain Across and Between Languages

0,8 - 1,0 fte
Bruto maandsalaris
€ 2.770 - € 3.539
Faculteit der Letteren
Reageer uiterlijk
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.


  • You have a Master's degree in linguistics, cognitive psychology, communication science, or another discipline related to the project (or will obtain such a degree before February 2024). If you have not yet graduated, your thesis must have been graded before the date of the first interview round.
  • You have an excellent command of written and spoken English.
  • You have excellent academic writing skills.
  • You have excellent research and analytical skills.
  • Experience within the fields of linguistic typology and/or second language acquisition will be considered an advantage.

Wij zijn

The Faculty of Arts is committed to knowledge production with a significant scientific and social impact. With over 500 academic and support staff, we teach and conduct research in the fields of history and art, languages and cultures, and linguistics and communication, using innovative methodologies and working in close collaboration with each other. Our research is embedded in two research institutes: the Centre for Language Studies (CLS) and the Radboud Institute for Culture & History (RICH). We currently have approximatively 2,500 students, enrolled in three departments: the Department of History, Art History and Classics, the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, and the Department of Language and Communication. We aim to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive world, which is why we especially seek applications from candidates who bring diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and skills that will be assets to our study programmes and research profiles.

Radboud University

We are keen to meet critical thinkers who want to look closer at what really matters. People who, from their expertise, wish to contribute to a healthy, free world with equal opportunities for all. This ambition unites more than 24,000 students and 5,600 employees at Radboud University and requires even more talent, collaboration and lifelong learning. You have a part to play!

Wij bieden

  • Employment for 0.8 (5 year contract) - 1.0 FTE (4 year contract).
  • The gross starting salary amounts to €2,770 per month based on a 38-hour working week, and will increase to €3,539 from the fourth year onwards (salary scale P).
  • You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.
  • You will be employed for an initial period of 18 months, after which your performance will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the contract will be extended by 2.5 years (4 year contract) or 3.5 years (5 year contract).
  • You will be able to use our Dual Career and Family Care Services. Our Dual Career and Family Care Officer can assist you with family-related support, help your partner or spouse prepare for the local labour market, provide customized support in their search for employment and help your family settle in Nijmegen.
  • Working for us means getting extra days off. In case of full-time employment, you can choose between 30 or 41 days of annual leave instead of the legally allotted 20.

Aanvullende arbeidsvoorwaarden

Work and science require good employment practices. This is reflected in Radboud University's primary and secondary employment conditions. You can make arrangements for the best possible work-life balance with flexible working hours, various leave arrangements and working from home. You are also able to compose part of your employment conditions yourself, for example, exchange income for extra leave days and receive a reimbursement for your sports subscription. And of course, we offer a good pension plan. You are given plenty of room and responsibility to develop your talents and realise your ambitions. Therefore, we provide various training and development schemes.

Meer weten?

For questions about the position, please contact Prof. Helen de Hoop, professor of Theoretical Linguistics, at helen.dehoop [at] (helen[dot]dehoop[at]ru[dot]nl). Alternatively, you can contact Suzanne van de Liefvoort, coordinator of the Graduate School for the Humanities (GSH), atgshcoordinator [at] ( gshcoordinator[at]let[dot]ru[dot]nl).

Praktische informatie en solliciteren

You can apply until 31 October 2023, exclusively using the button below. Kindly address your application to Prof. Helen de Hoop. Please fill in the application form and attach the following documents:
  • Your own proposal for a PhD project: title, research question, scholarly background, aims, method; maximum 500 words, excluding bibliographical references.
  • Motivation letter, explaining why you are interested in this opportunity and how it fits with short- and long-term plans; maximum 1 page.
  • CV, including names, affiliations and email addresses of two referees (no need to send letters at this stage)
  • List of courses and grades (BA and MA)
The first round of interviews will take place between November 22 and December 1 (online). The second round of interviews will take place between December 11 and 15. You would preferably begin employment on 1 April 2024.

We can imagine you're curious about our application procedure. It offers a rough outline of what you can expect during the application process, how we handle your personal data and how we deal with internal and external candidates.
Solliciteer direct Reageer uiterlijk op

Met deze vacature willen wij zelf onze nieuwe collega werven. Dit is dan ook géén oproep voor acquisitie.

prof. dr. Hoop, H. de (Helen)

professor Theoretical Linguistics

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