Associate Professor, Linguistics

Richard Epstein is the author of papers on the semantics, pragmatics and discourse structures of modern and medieval English, medieval French, and Kumeyaay (a Native American language spoken in San Diego county and Baja California, also known as Diegueño).  In particular, he has written extensively on the meaning and functions of definite articles, in journal articles such as “The Distal Demonstrative as Discourse Marker in Beowulf” (in English Language and Linguistics, 2011), “The definite article, accessibility, and the construction of discourse referents” (in Cognitive Linguistics, 2001), “Reference and Definite Referring Expressions” (in Pragmatics and Cognition, 1998); “L’article défini en ancien français: l’expression de la subjectivité” (in Langue française, 1995), as well as in chapters appearing in books such as Grounding (Mouton de Gruyter, 2002); Discourse Studies in Cognitive Linguistics (John Benjamins, 1999); Conceptual Structure, Discourse and Language (Cambridge, 1996), Perspectives on Grammaticalization (John Benjamins, 1994).  He is currently researching the use of the definite article in some of the earliest Old English texts; he has also been working on translations of Old French texts, some of which have never before been translated into English.  One example of his translation work, “The King of Sicily” (a translation of C’est du roi de Sezile, by Adam de la Halle, late 13th c.), can be viewed online here.

Dr. Epstein did his Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of California, San Diego.  He has also completed a Maîtrise (Masters) in Linguistics at the Université Paris VII (France), as well as a D.E.U.G. in Lettres modernes at the Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier III (France), and a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.  Before coming to Rutgers, he taught at Duke University and at UCSD.  He is currently the English Department Undergraduate Program Director and Undergraduate Program Coordinator, as well as the Director of the Undergraduate Liberal Studies Program.  He teaches courses in many areas of English and General Linguistics; in 2013, he won the Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award.