Hi, my name is Masha (Maria) Esipova. I am currently a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow (PI of EU project 891493 “GeMeTIC”) at the University of Oslo, Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies. Before this, I was a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Lecturer in Linguistics at Princeton University (2019–2020). I hold a PhD in Linguistics from New York University (2019).
I am a semanticist with a profound interest in how meaning composition and meaning expression are situated within a larger architecture of grammar. Much of my current research focuses on how meaning is expressed through various channels in spoken and written communication (words and their parts, gestures, facial expressions, prosody, text modifications, etc.). Some of my recent or ongoing projects concern truth-conditional vs. non-truth-conditional meaning (with current focus on affective meaning), high-level modification, structure of event and situation descriptions, semantics and sociopragmatics of pronouns, and meaning and structure in non-linguistic systems (with current focus on pictorial representations and athletic movement). In my undergraduate years, I did some research on Russian Sign Language; I am still very much interested in sign language linguistics, and I am planning to extend my research program to comparative investigations of sign, speech (plus gesture), and pictorial representations in the future.
In my dissertation, I advocated for a uniform, composition-driven approach to projection of compositionally integrated pieces of meaning from under semantic operators in both speech and gesture. Under this approach, the projection behavior pattern of a given piece of content is determined by how it composes in the syntax/semantics. I show that this approach is efficient in explaining the projection behavior of a range of content types, including spoken adjectives and appositives, hand gestures, facial expressions, phi-features on pronouns, and relative height of hand gestures. My dissertation committee members were Lucas Champollion (Chair), Ailís Cournane, Kathryn Davidson, Stephanie Harves, and Philippe Schlenker.