Kim Fuellenbach

DPhil Student
A photograph of Kim Fuellenbach


I am interested in exploring the role of language in our understanding of basic concepts (e.g. what do we mean when we talk about "tigers", "cars" or "grad students"?).

I work on generics and kind-referring terms at the interface of linguistics and psychology, and approach questions with a psycholinguistic method informed by theoretical assumptions of the morphosyntax and semantics of language.




Before starting my DPhil, I completed my MPhil here at Oxford. The main focus of my MPhil thesis ("Genericity and the human conceptual system: On the morphosyntax of generic subjects") paved the way for my current research.

I combined theoretical findings on the role of the presence or absence of certain syntactic projections in the DP with experimental findings on our interpretation of the connection between a generic subject and its properties. Specifically, how do we know to interpret the connection between barns and the property of being red in "Barns are red" differently from the link between tigers and being striped in "Tigers are striped." Further, why can we talk about tigers in general with sentences of the form "The tiger is striped" but the same does not hold for our previous example "#The barn is red", where the only interpretation is about a specific barn?

I hope that my DPhil research helps us to explore these questions in more detail and connect findings from the linguistics literature with the psychology literature.