PhD Position in Comparatives under the Microscope
Catholic University of Leuven Center for Research in Syntax, Semantics, and Phonology

The Center for Research in Syntax, Semantics, and Phonology (CRISSP, is a research center of formal linguistics, and a part of the research unit of Formal and Computational Linguistics at KU Leuven. CRISSP is specialized in syntax, morphology, phonology, and formal logic.


The COMIC-project will investigate the morphology, syntax, and semantics of adjectival comparative constructions like "Jill is taller than Fred.". Compared to the positive degree ("Jill is tall"), the comparative construction adds two pieces of material. First, the comparative morpheme "-er" is added to the adjective "tall", and second, the comparative adjective "taller" introduces the phrase "than Fred", which contains the comparative standard "Fred", to which Jill is compared. The comparative standard is introduced by the standard marker "than". Comparative constructions thus combine morphological marking (the "-er"-morpheme), syntactic structure (the "than"-phrase), and a semantic interpretation, in which two entities are compared with respect to a certain property (in this example Jill and Fred with respect to their height).
Existing approaches typically study the morphology or the syntax or the semantics of comparative adjectives. This has led to a situation where the outcomes of the different perspectives do not properly link up with one another: semantic analyses do not take into account---and are sometimes incompatible with---typological observations and generalisations, and syntactic and morphological approaches are insufficiently informed by the insights of compositional semantics. The COMIC-project aims to fill this gap by developing a fully integrated analysis of these three aspects of comparative constructions.

The current opening concerns Work Package 1 of the project description, which can be consulted from the CRISSP website.


  • an MA degree in Linguistics, or Language(s) with a specialisation in linguistics. 
  • a curious, enterprising, and creative mind; excellent analytical skills. 
  • fluency in both written and spoken English. Knowledge of Dutch is an asset but not required at the time of application.
  • an interest in relating intricate language data to advanced linguistic theorizing. 
  • an outstanding record of undergraduate and Master's level work. 
  • an ability to work both independently and to function in a group. 


ComForT and CRISSP offer an environment where intellectual creativity and independence are encouraged to thrive. They foster the lively exchange of ideas, and provide strong intellectual, moral, and logistical support to its PhD students, postdocs, and other collaborators.
The position starts in October 2020. The PhD-student will be mainly located in Brussels, but with frequent activities in Leuven.
Remuneration is in accordance with the official Belgian scales for academic personnel and bursaries, which offer internationally highly competitive pay (see the KU Leuven jobsite for more information).


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Guido Vanden Wyngaerd, tel.: +32 2 609 88 83, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than September 01, 2020 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Brussel
  • Apply before: September 1, 2020
  • Tags: Taalkunde / Letterkunde

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Computeroxy


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