Corps enseignant


David Blunier



I am a linguist trained as a philosopher and literary theorist in Lyon and Geneva. I am mostly interested in the semantics and pragmatics 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 across languages, and how these meanings are affected by general reasoning patterns pertaining to human cognition. Most of my reasearch is about anaphora, that is, about how languages allows us to encapsulate and retrieve information across sentences and discourse units, using dedicated elements such as pronouns, names, and even complete silence.

My current work focuses on indexical shift, a 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 am also the Teaching Assistant of an undergraduate course for French and Linguistics students taught by Isabelle Charnavel.

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 literary forms, and to the various linguistic components involved in our understanding of stylistic figures, such as metaphor.

Corps enseignant