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ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Wales Collaborative Doctoral Award: Usage-Based Language Learning: How It Works


Research Field



This studentship is jointly funded by the ESRC Wales DTP and Cardiff University and is a collaboration with project partner SaySomethingin, The primary supervisor is Dr Andreas Buerki:

The project aims to investigate a radically usage-based approach to the learning of second languages (L2s). This topic and the basic parameters of the project are given, but the precise details will be decided jointly by the student, supervisor and collaborating partner, SaySomethingin. Usage-based theories of language and of language learning have become very influential over the past 15 years, including in explaining first language acquisition. However, its insights have not been widely applied to L2 learning where methodology still follows more traditional understandings of language learning. This project addresses this shortcoming by investigating how fully usage-based L2 learning would work. The project therefore represents a unique opportunity to create significant new theoretical insight with clear potential for practical benefit to improve L2 learning techniques. Consequently, the student undertaking the research has the opportunity to make their mark on two highly active areas of linguistic enquiry: usage-based theories and language learning.


What is funded

Studentship Awards commence in October 2020 and will cover your tuition fees as well as a maintenance grant at the RCUK rate subject to UK residency requirements; and includes access to an additional Research Training Support Grant RTSG. There are other opportunities and benefits available to studentship holders, including internship opportunities.


The awards are available on either a 1+3 or +3 basis. A 1+3 studentship provides funding for four years (or part-time equivalent), completing a research training Masters in the 1st year, followed by 3 years research funding for a PhD. A +3 studentship provides funding for the three years PhD research study only (or part-time equivalent). To gauge whether your existing Masters degree would be enough for you to proceed directly to +3, please compare its coverage with our Masters in Language and Communication Research,…


Candidates should have an excellent academic background in the social sciences, holding a 1st or strong upper 2nd class degree; applications from those also holding a relevant research training Master’s degree (or an equivalent background in research training) will be considered for a +3 award.


Organisation name
Cardiff University
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