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I was born on the shores of Lago Maggiore, in Ticino, the Italian-speaking, southern part of Switzerland, in 1963.

After studying at the University of Fribourg (1982-1986), I worked as a teaching and research assistant at the universities of Lausanne, Fribourg and Neuchâtel. I spent a year in Paris at EHESS (1991-1992) and I completed my PhD in January 1994 (Univ. of Lausanne). In my PhD I investigate the description of space in travelogues. This led to my interest in practices of space formulation in spoken language and talk, as I increasingly became involved in researching naturally occurring recorded social interactions.

In 1996, I spent a sabbatical semester in the Anthropology Department at the University of California Berkeley. From 1996 to 2001, I was appointed Assistant Orofessor at the University of Basel, where I obtained my Habilitation in 2000. While there, I directed a research project on the interactional production of knowledge in plurilingual research teams, based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork and data collection in various scientific and medical departments. During this time, I became interested in talk at work and in workplace practices, as well as in the ways in which grammar is both a resource for interaction and emerges within its sequential organization.

In 2001 I was awarded the National Latsis Prize – a prize awarded annually in Switzerland to the top researcher under 40.

I moved to Lyon in 2001 to take up a position as Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Lyon 2. In January 2007, I was appointed Director of the ICAR Research Lab (a unit supported by CNRS, University of Lyon 2, Ecole Nationale Supérieure Lettre et Sciences Humaines, INRP). In Lyon, I have developed analyses of the linguistic and multimodal resources for the sequential organization of interaction, along with new projects on talk at work.

Over the years, I have had the occasion to spend fruitful research periods at Universidade Estadual de Campinas (1996, 2001, 2006), Universität Bielefeld (1999-2000), Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia Mexico (2003), King's College London (2004), Universitat Pompeu Fabra and Universitat Autonoma Barcelona (2004, 2006), Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics Nijmegen (2005), Helsingin Yliopisto (2006), the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (2009-2010) and Linköping University (2010, 2011). Since january 2012, I am full professor of French and General Linguistics at the University of Basel (Switzerland).