Institut Jean Nicod
UMR 8129
Pavillon Jardin
Ecole Normale Supérieure
29, rue d'Ulm
75005 Paris, France

kuhn [at] nyu [dot] edu


I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut Jean Nicod at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. I study formal semantics, with a particular interest in what sign languages can tell us about semantic composition in natural language.

I received a Ph.D. in Linguistics from New York University in September 2015, under the direction of Philippe Schlenker. My dissertation investigates the unique ways that sign languages are able to express semantic concepts through the use of space and iconicity. Topics include anaphora, plurality, dependency, telicity, and pluractionality. A ten page summary is available here.

I have also been involved in projects on primate communication (more information here), and have done work on phonology, with interests in the mathematical properties (including typology and learnability) of constraint-based frameworks.

My current CV is available here.


  • Kuhn. "A new synonymy problem for E-type theories." Manuscript. [draft]

  • Kuhn. "Telicity and iconic scales in ASL." Manuscript. [draft]

  • Kuhn. "Functional reference in American Sign Langauge." Manuscript. [draft]


  • On the -oo suffix of Campbell's monkeys [draft]
    Kuhn, Keenan, Arnold, and Lemasson. (to appear). Linguistic Inquiry Squibs and Discussion.

  • Dependent indefinites: the view from sign language [draft]
    Kuhn. (to appear). Journal of Semantics.

  • The categorical role of structurally iconic signs [draft]
    Strickland, Aristodemo, Kuhn, and Geraci. (to appear). Short commentary on Goldin-Meadow and Brentari (to appear), Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

  • Discourse anaphora – theoretical perspectives [draft]
    Kuhn. (to appear). Invited contribution to Theoretical and Experimental Sign Language Research, edited by J. Quer, R. Pfau, and A. Herrmann. Routledge.

  • Pluractionality, iconicity, and scope in French Sign Language [paper]
    Kuhn and Aristodemo. (2017). Semantics and Pragmatics.

  • Formal monkey linguistics [paper][preprint draft]
    Schlenker, Chemla, Schel, Gautier, Fuller, Kuhn, Veselinović, Arnold, Cäsar, Papworth, Murphy, Lemasson, Ouattara, Keenan, Ryder, and Zuberbühler. (2016). Invited target article to Theoretical Linguistics.

  • Classification and automatic transcription of primate calls [paper]
    Versteegh, Kuhn, Synnaeve, Ravaux, Chemla, Cäsar, Fuller, Murphy, Schel, and Dunbar. (2016). Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

  • ASL Loci: Variables or Features? [paper][preprint draft]
    Kuhn. (2016). Journal of Semantics.

  • Harmony via Positive Agreement: Evidence from trigger-based count effects [paper]
    Kuhn. (2012). Proceedings of the North East Linguistic Society 43.


  • 2015. "Language, two ways." TEDx talk at Stuyvesant high school. [video][slides]

  • 2015. with V. Aristodemo. "Iconicity in the grammar: pluractionality in French Sign Language." Sinn und Bedeutung 20; Linguistics Society of America 89. [LSA-audio][LSA-slides]

  • 2013. "ASL Loci: Variables or Features?" Sinn und Bedeutung 18. [video][handout]


  • Summer 2016. Instructor for "New advances in sign language semantics," at NASSLLI 2016. [course site]

  • Summer 2015. (Co-)instructor for "The meaning of space: New advances in sign language semantics," at ESSLLI 2015 with Kathryn Davidson. [course site]

  • Summer 2014. (Co-)primary instructor for Language with Nathan LaFave.

  • Fall 2013. Teaching Assistant for Introduction to Semantics with Chris Barker.

  • Spring 2010. Teaching Assistant for Language with Mark Baltin.
Teaching Materials

  • Sign language linguistics I: phonology and morphology [slides]

  • Sign language linguistics II: syntax and semantics [slides]