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 also have been working on sign language role shift with co-authors Giorgia Zorzi (Bergen) and Evgeniia Khristoforova (Universiteit van Amsterdam). My latest project is about the quotative and iconic features of role shift in Sign Language of the Netherlands, and the patterns of anaphora involved in such constructions.

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