PhD position in NWO project ‘Framing Situations in the Dutch language’ (closing June 20th, 2019)


The official website of the job add is this one, which should be used to apply.

FTE: 4 years 1.0 FTE or 5 years 0.8 FTEJob description
Language plays a central role in framing, as we choose which nouns and verbs describe or frame, a given situation. For some languages, researchers created databases (called FrameNets) containing rich collections of conceptual schemas (frames) that describe situations from a particular perspective. These frames are connected to words and sentences that express them. Several lexical resources exist for Dutch, but no FrameNet. Moreover, we have limited knowledge of the variation of framing in Dutch and how this compares to other languages. The project’s objectives are 1) to create a unique data set where similar situations are framed by many different sources and texts using a newly developed data-to-text method, 2) to capture the variation in framing these situations in Dutch and other languages, 3) to capture semantic-pragmatic factors underlying the usage of different frames for similar situations, and 4) to develop semantic frame and role annotation software.
    The PhD will work on subproject 1 Framing similar situations in Dutch. Language is extremely rich when it comes to providing framing expressions, but how rich is the Dutch language and when do we use what expression? These are the research questions addressed by the PhD. The PhD will analyze both the lexical competence and performance of framing situations in Dutch across a variety of genres and for a set of domains. This analysis will not only capture the vocabulary and frame relations specific for the domains but also address the pragmatic implicatures of using these frames in specific contexts.
    To be able to include such contextual factors the PhD will use the situation-grounded texts collected by the PostDoc following the data-to-text approach (Vossen et al. 2018a,b). This collection of texts will exhibit a considerable variety of framing in relation to a predefined set of semantic-conceptual frames relevant to human-registered incidents, such as calamities (violence, health, accidents, weather incidents), crime, sports and economy (sales, acquisitions, labor-conflicts, employment, product releases).

Prof. Dr. Piek Vossen coordinates the project and the PhD will also collaborate with Antske Fokkens (Assistant Professor) and Marten Postma (PostDoc) and the research staff at CLTL. Besides, the PhD will collaborate with the University of Groningen (under the direction of Prof. Dr. Johan Bos).

-Piek Vossen, Filip Ilievski, Marten Postma, and Roxane Segers. 2018a. Don’t Annotate, but Validate: a Data-to-Text Method for Capturing Event Data. In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018). European Language Resources Association (ELRA), Miyazaki, Japan.
-Piek Vossen, Antske Fokkens, Isa Maks, and Chantal van Son. 2018b. Towards an Open Dutch FrameNet lexicon and corpus. In Proceedings of the 11th
International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018). European
Language Resources Association (ELRA), Miyazaki, Japan.

Your duties

  • investigate the variation in framing similar situations.
  • test lexical pragmatic hypotheses in relation to framing
  • work on the synthesis of the project in collaboration with the Multilingual FrameNet project of Berkeley University.


  • a Masters degree (MA or MSc) in computational linguistics or linguistics with computational skills
  • good knowledge and control of the Dutch and English language
  • a deep interest in the semantic and pragmatic aspects of language
  • programming skills (preferably Python)
  • can work well in a team
  • preferably knowledge/experience of/with FrameNet
  • preferably knowledge and experience in lexicology and corpus linguistics

What are we offering?
A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,325 gross per month during the first year and increases to €2,972 gross per month during the fourth year, based on full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for another 3 years.

Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • contribution to commuting expenses

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. And to be a university where personal education and societal involvement play a leading role. Where people from different disciplines and backgrounds work together on innovations and on generating new knowledge. Our teaching and research embrace the whole spectrum of science – from the humanities, the social sciences and the pure sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 23,000 students. We employ more than 4,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible, located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

Diversity is one of our university’s core values. We are an inclusive community, and we believe that diversity and international activities enhance the quality of education and research. We are always looking for people who can enhance diversity on our campus thanks to their background and experience.

Faculty of Humanities
The Faculty of Humanities links a number of fields of study: Language, Literature and Communication, Art & Culture, History, Antiquities and Philosophy. Our teaching and research focus on current societal and scientific themes: from artificial intelligence to visual culture, from urbanization to the history of slavery, from ‘fake news’ in journalism to communication in organizations. We strive to ensure small group sizes. Innovative education and interdisciplinary research are our hallmarks.

Working at the Faculty of Humanities means making a real contribution to the quality of leading education and research in an inspiring and personal work and study climate. We employ more than 250 staff members, and we are home to around 1,300 students.
Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 20 June 2019. The job interviews are planned for  3 and 5 July 2019, when possible please take them into account when applying for the position.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions 
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof. dr. P.TH.J.M. (Piek) Vossen
Position: professor
Telephone: +31 (0)20 59 86457

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