PhD Position Sociolinguistics Maastricht University

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You are invited to apply for a 4 year PhD position in the project “LIMES – the hardening and softening of borders”. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 847596.


Linguistic and cultural borders: transparent or not

In this project, the focus will be on how coal miners’ languages and cultures in the former mining region north of Aachen in Germany (Low German/German speaking) and the Eastern Mine District with Heerlen as its centre in the Netherlands (Dutch/dialect speaking) are taken up in new contexts with new actors, how they are authenticated and legitimated during public events that are considered unique for the region. These two neighbouring areas are separated by a national border but share a common coal mining past and a common linguistic past. The area is still a multilingual one.


Questions that will be addressed in this project are:

How is the national border between Germany (Aachen district) and the Netherlands (south-eastern Limburg) softened or hardened as a linguistic and cultural border through revitalization practices of the linguistic and cultural coalmining past in both areas?

a. What language(s)/linguistic features are used in the revitalization practices and how are they reproduced in mediatizations (songs, poetry, linguistic landscapes and soundscapes, reminiscence practices, commodities, spoken and written texts in mining museums, parodies, carnival practices )?

b. Do these practices confirm old stereotypes or do they create new ones?


The researcher will be based at Maastricht University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and undertake a 6-month secondment at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute for German Studies.