Heather Burnett

Chercheur CNRS

Statut : Directrice de recherches

Adresse :

LLF, CNRS – UMR 7110
Université Paris Cité
Case 7031 – 5, rue Thomas Mann,
75205 Paris cedex 13

E-mail : urngure.fhfna.oheargg@tznvy.pbz

Présentation générale

My work involves describing new patterns of structure, meaning and communication in natural languages, and then developing new mathematical tools for analyzing them.

Much of my research has focused on classic topics in natural language semantics, such as quantification, vagueness, gradability and negation; however, my more recent work studies properties of social meaning and sociolinguistic variation with a view to constructing an empirically well-founded, mathematically explicit and computationally implemented theory of identity construction through language. So far, my work in this area has been centred around the linguistic construction of regional, gender and sexual identity in France and Canada.

Although the tools and frameworks that I develop aim to capture aspects of the full range of human languages, my theoretical ideas are often first informed by my own dialectological and sociolinguistic fieldwork studies of languages of the Gallo-Romance family: varieties of French spoken in Canada and in France, historical varieties of French (particularly Old and Middle French), and endangered Gallo-Romance languages, both Oïl varieties (esp. Picard and Normand) and Occitan varieties (esp. Languedocien and Limousin). 

Projets de recherche

ANR Collaborative Grant (U. Lorraine & UPC) "Mathematical Hygiene" (2024-2028).

ERC Starting Grant "Formal Models of Social Meaning and Identity Construction through Language" (2020-2025).

Labex Empirical Foundations of Linguistics (Axe 2)

Direction de thèses

Emma Corbeau (2023 - in progress)

Yiming Liang (2023). Quantitative Syntax, Formal Syntax and Information Theory: bridging gaps by studying French variation. PhD thesis. Université Paris Cité.

Quentin Dénigot (2022). Approches formelles de la communication d'identités conflictuelles dans le discours. PhD thesis. Université Paris Cité.


Titre : The Grammar of Tolerance: On vagueness, context-sensitivity and the origin of scale structure

Directeur :
  Edward Keenan (UCLA)
  Dominique Sportiche (UCLA - École Normale Supérieure, Paris)

Date de soutenance : 2012-03-03

Inscription : 2007 à University of California, Los Angeles



Burnett, Heather. (2023). Meaning, Identity and Interaction: Sociolinguistic Variation and Change in Game-Theoretic Pragmatics. Cambridge Studies in Language Variation and Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Burnett, Heather. (2016).  Gradability in Natural Language: Logical and Grammatical Foundations.  Oxford Studies in Semantics and Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Journal articles

Liang, Yiming, Pascal Amsili &  Heather Burnett. (2024). The Polarity Effect in Future Temporal Reference: New  Insights from Parisian French. In press in the Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique.


Burnett, Heather & Matthew Loder. (2024). "I didn't know they could one-shot me: Real time change in pronoun use and gender categories in the Dark Souls community." In press in Gender and Language.


Bendifallah, Lina, Julie Abbou, Heather Burnett & Igor Douven. (2023). "Conceptual spaces for conceptual engineering: Feminism as a case study." Review of Philosophy and Psychology. 


Pozniak, Céline, Emma Corbeau & Heather Burnett. (2023). "Contextual Dilution in French Gender Inclusive Writing: An Experimental Investigation". Journal of French Language Studies. 


Martin, Alexander, Julie Abbou & Heather Burnett. (2023). "Indexicalité et interprétation du monde social : une analyse en sociologie pragmatique de la liaison variable". Langue Française. Vol. 219.  


Arana, Andrew & Heather Burnett. (2023). "Mathematical Hygiene." Synthese. Vol. 202: 4. 


Beltrama, Andrea, Stephanie Solt & Heather Burnett. (2022). "Context, Precision and Social Perception: A Socio-Pragmatic Study". Language in Society


Liang, Yiming, Pascal Amsili & Heather Burnett. (2022). "A Modern Look at a Classic Variable: Complementizer Drop in Montréal French". Language Variation and Change. 33(3): 359-385.


Burnett, Heather & Céline Pozniak. (2021). "Political dimensions of gender inclusive writing in Parisian universities". Journal of Sociolinguistics. 25.


Pozniak, Céline & Heather Burnett. (2021). "Failures of Gricean reasoning and the role of stereotypes in the production of gender marking. Glossa. 6(1).


Anselme, Rémi, Heather Burnett & Olivier Bonami. (2021). "Polysémie et troncation des noms en -ion en français". Verbum XLIII (2021): 97-118


Célia Richy & Heather Burnett. (2021). "Démêler les effets des stéréotypes et le genre grammatical dans le biais masculin: Une approche expérimentale". GLAD! Revue sur le genre, le langage, les sexualités. 10.


Schultz, Miriam, Heather Burnett & Barbara Hemforth. (2021). "Corpus, Experimental and Modelling Investigations of Cross-Linguistic Differences in Pronoun Resolution Preferences. Glossa. 6(1). 


Burnett, Heather. (2020). "A Persona-Based Semantics for Slurs". Gratzer Philosophische Studien. 97:31-62


Célia Richy & Heather Burnett. (2019). "Jean does the dishes while Marie fixes the car: A qualitative and quantitative study of social gender in French linguistics articles", Journal of French Language Studies. 30: 47-72.


Burnett, Heather. (2019). "Sentential Negation in North Eastern Gallo-Romance Dialects: Evidence from the Atlas Linguistique de la France". Journal of French Language Studies. 29: 189-207.


Burnett, Heather & Olivier Bonami. (2019). "Linguistic Prescription, Ideological Structure and the Actuation of Linguistic Changes: Grammatical Gender in French Parliamentary Debates". Language in Society. 48.


Burnett, Heather. (2019). "Signalling Games, Sociolinguistic Variation and the Construction of Style". Linguistics & Philosophy. 42.


Burnett, Heather, Hilda Koopman and Sali Tagliamonte. (2018). "Soft Syntax and the Evolution of Negative Quantifiers in the History of English". Language Variation and Change.


Burnett, Heather. (2017). "Sociolinguistic Interaction and Identity Construction: The View from Game-Theoretic Pragmatics." Journal of Sociolinguistics.  22:1. 238-271.


Burnett, Heather. (2016). "Variation as a Testing Ground for Grammatical Theory: Variable Negative Concord in Montréal French".  Linguistic Variation. 16: 267-299. 


Burnett, Heather. (2015). "Comparison Across Domains in Delineation Semantics." Journal of Logic, Language and Information.  24:233-265.


Burnett, Heather. (2014). "A Delineation Solution to the Puzzles of Absolute Adjectives." Linguistics & Philosophy. 37:1-39. 


Burnett, Heather. (2014). "Penumbral Connections in Comparative Construction." Journal of Applied Non-Classical Logics. 24:35-60.


Troberg, Michelle & Heather Burnett. (2014). "Le prédicat résultatif adjectival en français médiéval." Lingvisticae Investigationes.  37: 152-176.


Burnett, Heather. (2012). "The Role of Microvariation in the Study of Semantic Universals: Adverbial Quantifiers in European and Québec French." Journal of Semantics. 29:1-38.