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The Nominal Morphophonology of Modern South Arabian Languages (M/F)

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Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : UMR6310-SABBEN1-001
Workplace : NANTES
Date of publication : Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Scientific Responsible name : Sabrina Bendjaballah
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2019
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

The Modern South Arabian languages (Mehri, Jibbāli, Hōbyōt, Soqoṭri, Ḥarsūsi, Baṭħari) belong to the Semitic language family. They are spoken in Yemen, the Sultanate of Oman, and in the diaspora populations in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. They are minority languages with an oral tradition, and to varying degrees, they are considered to be endangered. In spite of a recent increased interest by the research community, they remain understudied. The main goal of the proposed dissertation project is to fill this gap by providing the first comprehensive description of the nominal system of the Modern South Arabian languages, and to give a linguistic analysis of the relevant phenomena, taking into account their phonetic, phonological and morphosyntactic manifestations.

As of today, the study of the nominal system of Modern South Arabian languages cannot count on a reliable and complete empirical foundation. The selected candidate will therefore create a structured database of all attested nominal forms, together with their linguistic properties. Tasks include providing an exhaustive list of nominal templates and classifying the main properties of the nominal categories: number, gender, definiteness, and possession. The dissertation shall furthermore elucidate the status of adjectives in Modern South Arabian languages, aiming at a general understanding of the grammar of noun phrases.

The selected candidate shall combine the established methodology of linguistic fieldwork with elicitation and linguistic modeling. S/he will receive training in the respective methods, as required.

Work Context

The selected candidate will be part of the research group "Formes sonores" of the research unit "Laboratoire de Linguistique de Nantes" (UMR6310 LLING, CNRS & Université de Nantes, S/he is required to register as a doctoral student at the graduate school "Education, Langages, Interactions, Cognition, Clinique" ( of the Université de Nantes.
The dissertation will be co-supervised by Sabrina Bendjaballah, Directrice de recherches at the CNRS ( and Julien Dufour, associate professor at the ENS-Ulm Paris (

Constraints and risks

The successful candidate is required to carry out a field trip in order to collect linguistic data. S/he will be supported in this activity by the USR 3141 "Centre français d'archéologie et de sciences sociales" (CEFAS, based in Kuwait, with branches in the relevant countries, in particular the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Additional Information

Candidates must hold a Master in a relevant discipline (linguistics, Afroasiatic languages, etc), and must not be enrolled in a doctoral program at the time of the application.

The dissertation may be written in either French or English.

Candidates are invited to submit their application in pdf format to the job portal of the CNRS. The application must include:

- a letter of application
- a detailed CV
- a copy of your academic transcript, and a document certifying the successful completion of a Master's degree, if the official diploma has not yet been issued.

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by the selection committee. The interview may be conducted via Skype.

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