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Hi, my name is Masha (Maria) Esipova. I am a 5th year PhD student at the NYU Department of Linguistics.

I work on natural language semantics and its interfaces with syntax, pragmatics, and prosody. That is I study how we interpret the meaning of sentences and how that is affected by the structure of those sentences, the context in which they are uttered, and the intonation with which they are uttered. Apart from meaning in spoken language, I am interested in how content-bearing gestures contribute to the meaning of utterances.

In most of my work I focus on how different types of so-called “not-at-issue” content (sublexical presuppositions, appositives, non-restricting modifiers, expressives, etc.), spoken and gestural, pattern along various dimensions, such as projection from under semantic operators, ability to address questions, and behavior under ellipsis. Some other topics that I am interested in include questions and responses, event semantics, indexicals.

I am currently finishing my dissertation, which is about how different types of non-sublexical descriptive content (spoken modifiers, spoken supplements, co-speech gestures, phi-features on pronouns, certain geometric properties of gestures) project. I advocate for a composition-driven reductionist approach to projection of such content whereby how a given type of content projects is determined by how it composes in the syntax/semantics, and the number of composition/projection strategies is kept down to a minimum. My dissertation committee members are Lucas Champollion (Chair), Ailís Cournane, Kathryn Davidson, Stephanie Harves, and Philippe Schlenker.

Most of my current work is primarily on English, but I often explore cross-linguistic data in my research. I have also worked a lot on my native language, Russian.

In my undergraduate years I did some research on Russian Sign Language (all my publications on RSL are in Russian). I am still very much interested in sign language linguistics, especially in how the semantics of sign language compares to that of spoken language combined with gesture.