David Blunier

Assistant doctorant

Site Web

I am a linguist trained as a philosopher and literary theorist in Lyon and Geneva. I am mostly interested in the syntax and semantics of natural languages, which basically means that I am interested in how the various components of our language faculty conspire to express meanings in a structured fashion, i.e. "articulated thoughts", across languages.

My current work focuses on indexical shift, a widespread phenomenon which describes (roughly) the fact that first and second person pronouns are used anaphorically to refer to matrix subjects in embedded clauses. This is what I am trying to write a dissertation about, under the supervision of Genoveva Puskàs (Geneva) and Susi Wurmbrand (Vienna). I also teach an introductory seminar to linguistics to BA undergraduates (Introduction aux sciences du langage, Prof. Ur Shlonsky).

Lately, I have also been studying various ellipsis phenomena in sign languages, more specifically Catalan Sign Language, with colleague and friend Giorgia Zorzi from UPF (Barcelona). Our research focuses on the interpretation of VP-ellipsis under role shift, a common mode of reporting speech, thoughts and other events in sign languages. More precisely, we are investigating the different constraints that regulate the available interpretations an elided clause can have, such as prosody, information structure, and context.

My other research interests lie in philosophy and literary theory, and include the study of narratives. I have worked on the study of perspective in narrative texts, and am greatly interested in the application of formal linguistic theory to the study of fiction, and to the various linguistic components involved in our understanding of stylistic figures, such as metaphor.