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CEFAS / ALMAS research project : doctoral contract

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Application deadline : August 15, 2020 at midnight (Paris time)

As part of the ALMAS research project (Ancient and Modern Languages of South Arabia, ANR-19-CE27-0025-01), the French Centre for Archaeology and Social Sciences (CEFAS) provides a three-year doctoral contract devoted to the description of the Hobyot language (Modern South Arabian branch of the Semitic family, Yemen / Oman).

- Description of the doctoral research project :

The Hobyot language, spoken on both sides of the Omani-Yemeni border by a few hundred or thousand speakers, belongs to the Modern South Arabian branch of the Semitic family. Despite the publication of field data by some researchers (Nakano 2013 Hobyōt (Oman) vocabulary with examples texts ; Simeone-Senelle 2015 Le hobyot parlé au Yémen), there exists no systematic description of the Hobyot language as of yet. This endangered language is, however, an essential element for understanding the history of the modern South Arabian branch in diachrony, as well as an important point of comparison for analysing the structures of other languages of the group in synchrony.

The aim of this doctoral research is to help fill this gap by producing a systematic description of the language. As the data published on Hobyot is often contradictory and does not constitute a sufficient basis for the description, this latter must be based primarily on field research carried out by the doctoral student in the Sultanate of Oman. A knowledge of Arabic is therefore necessary in order for the researcher to be able to work independently.

Particular emphasis will be placed on morphophonological analysis, since a good understanding of the morphophonology of the Modern South Arabian languages is a fundamental element for linguistic comparison, which is one of the main objectives of the ALMAS project. This part of the description will resonate with the works of other team members. Obviously, it does not exclude other aspects of the work, such as the study of syntax and the sociolinguistic approach, which will also find their place within the project.
The doctoral student will be integrated into the ALMAS team, which includes Semitists, Arabists, epigraphists, and linguists working on Modern South Arabian languages at the crossroad of several disciplines (phonology, morphology, phonetics, comparison).

- Terms of contract :

Duration : 36 months
Remuneration : € 2,651.00 monthly
Application deadline : August 15, 2020
Contract start date : October 1, 2020

Areas of specialization : Semitic studies, field linguistics (description and typology)
The doctoral contract offered does not give entitlement to social benefits or unemployment benefits and cannot be taken into account in the calculation of pension rights. The beneficiary must therefore take out the necessary insurance for residence and / or missions abroad concerning the cover of health expenses, accidents at work and repatriation.

- Required and Expected Skills :

The candidate must hold a Masters related to the subject (e.g. a Semitic language), and / or be engaged in linguistic research. S/he must be registered at the university on the start date of the doctoral scholarship.

S/he will have to master Arabic in addition to French or English.

The thesis will be written in French or English so that the results should be accessible to the whole of the ALMAS team.

Experience in the field and knowledge of local institutional actors will be valued.
During the term of the doctoral contract, the candidate will carry out study missions in one of the countries of CEFAS’s area of competence (Yemen, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates) excluding Yemen, and / or will be in residence there. S/he will receive scientific and logistical support from the CEFAS. In Kuwait, s/he can be accommodated free of charge by the CEFAS.

- Application :

The application must be submitted in French or English. It must include the following :
• A detailed CV ;
• A motivation letter from the candidate ;
• A summary of the Master 2 dissertation (or an electronic version of the dissertation itself) ;
• The Master 2 transcript and a certificate certifying that the Master diploma has been obtained if the official diploma has not yet been issued ;
• A letter of recommendation from the thesis supervisor (actual or prospective) ;
• If the candidate is already registered for a thesis : a presentation of his work and its progress ;

The file must be sent in PDF format before August 15, 2020 to the director and the secretariat of the CEFAS at the following addresses :


- Selection criteria and process :

A selection committee made up of members of the ALMAS project, the CEFAS and external experts will analyze and select the applications. The hearings of the preselected candidates through applications will be done remotely by videoconference. During their hearing, each candidate will present their research project in 10 minutes. The presentation will be followed by a 10 minute discussion with the committee. After the hearings and the deliberation of the committee, the committee will draw up a classified list of the candidates selected.

The results will be communicated by email to the candidates between September 3 and 10, 2020.

- Calendar :

Opening of the call : July 1, 2020
Closing of the call : August 15, 2020 at midnight (Paris time)
Analysis of applications and hearings by videoconference of applicants : August 15 to September 3, 2020
Results announced : September 3 to 10, 2020
Start of doctoral contract : October 1, 2020