Masha Esipova's portrait
Masha Esipova's CV in pdf

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 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.

Much of my current research focuses on how meaning can be expressed through various channels in spoken language (lexicalized spoken morphemes, gestures, facial expressions, prosody), and how the various bits of meaning thus expressed come together at different levels of representation. My ongoing projects within this research program concern affective, quotative, mirative, optative, and degree modification meanings expressed multi-modally. I have also been working on at-issue vs. not-at-issue content in pictorial representations. Lately I have also been developing an interest in social meanings, such as the sociopragmatic aspect of T–V features and gender on pronouns. 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, 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.