Research

Research interests

Theoretical linguistics:

verbal argument/event structure (specifically, argument interpretation, verbal modality, causative structure);

argument structure of gradable adjectives (specifically, adjective classifiers, comparison class, subjectivity, vagueness, degree semantics);

syntactically-conditioned complex tone sandhi patterns;

linguistics of Asian languages

Cognitive science:

causality/causation (specifically, causal pluralism, agency, causal model);

probability theory;

language and cognition/brain;

domain-general cognition

aa

Current projects

Ph.D. dissertation

Causality and argument interpretation: lessons from Teochew periphrastic causatives

Committee members: Paul Portner (co-chair), Ruth Kramer (co-chair), Alison Biggs, Bryce Huebner

(This project focuses on the contextual causee interpretation in four Teochew periphrastic causatives, each encoding a different causality notion influenced by sublexical modality and cannot be uniformly captured by the widely-used CAUSE operator. I hope this project can shed light on the plural instantiations of causality, and the argument interpretation including the nature of thematic roles, as well as argument realization. It is designed to be a syntax-semantics-pragmatics-philosophy/Cognitive Science interface&interdisciplinary study built on my second Ph.D. qualifying paper.)

Collaborative work

1. [With Alison Biggs, McMaster University, Canada] Comparison class in the structure of degree expressions

(This project focuses on an understudied type of classifiers showing up in the adjectival domain in some Asian languages, and what it tells us about the interpretation of comparison class as well as the vague and subjective readings of gradable adjectives. Languages under exploration include Teochew, Cantonese, Mandarin and Thai. It is designed to be an interface study across the fields of morphosyntax, semantics and pragmatics.)

2. [With Xing Kang, University of Geneva, Switzerland] [In Mandarin] Linguistics under the framework of cognitive science

(This project focuses on the interdisciplinary studies between Chomskian theoretical linguistics and cognitive science. We hope to build a bridge to connect theories-based formal linguistics featuring domain specificity with other disciplines including philosophy, neuroscience, psychology and computer science, contributing to the understanding of language and cognition.)

AAAA

Publications

In prep. Thematic relations are not syntactic-layer-linked primitives: lessons from the CAUSEE interpretation in Teochew ‘give’-causative. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 97.

Accepted Categorical approach and probability theory in theoretical linguistics studies. Linguistic Science [Yuyan Kexue]*. [In Mandarin]

*Note: this journal is a core Linguistics journal in China.

Accepted Cognitive processing of language perception. Chinese Social Science Today [Zhongguo Shehui Kexue Bao]**. [With Xing Kang; In Mandarin]

**Note: it is a core academic newspaper published by the Social Sciences in China Press directly under the administration of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

2022 Adjective classifiers in Shantou Teochew. The Proceedings of Chicago Linguistics Society 56. [With Alison Biggs]

2021 Multiple Mandarin qu ‘go’ counterparts in Teochew and their cartographic distributions. In Fuzhen Si & Luigi Rizzi (eds.) Current Issues in Syntactic Cartography: A Cross-linguistic Perspective. John Benjamins.

2019 The synthetic performances of Teochew. Lingua Sinica (5), 58-88.

AAAA

Presentations

2023 TBA. The webinar on Converging On Causal Ontology Analysis (COCOA).

2023 Thematic relations are not syntactic-layer-linked primitives: lessons from the CAUSEE interpretation in Teochew ‘give’-causative. The 97th Annual Meeting of Linguistic Society of America (LSA 97).

2022 Thematic interpretation of optional CAUSEE in Teochew ‘give’-causative. The Brussels Conference on Generative Linguistics 15 (BCGL 15): Argument structure, theta-roles, and their realization.

2022 [With Alison Biggs] Adjective classifiers and comparison class. The Annual Conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association (ACL|CLA 2022).

2021 [With Alison Biggs] The morphosyntax and semantics of adjective classifiers. The 54th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE 54); Workshop: Adjective: the unknown category.

2021 [With Alison Biggs] A comparative approach to adjective classifier morphosyntax. The 33rd meeting of the North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL 33).

2021 Specificity and quantifier scope in Teochew: empirical supports for choice function. The 95th Annual Meeting of Linguistic Society of America (LSA 95).

2020 [With Alison Biggs] The morphosyntax of adjective classifiers in Shantou Teochew. Chicago Linguistics Society 56 (CLS 56).

2019 The cartographic map of Teochew possessive structure. The Joint Conference of Changing Boundaries & The 3rd International Workshop on Syntactic Cartography.

2018 Derived heads of Cantonese left periphery and cartographic distributions of its sentence final particles. The 8th International Conference on Formal Linguistics (China) (ICFL 8).

2018 The grammatical sound changes in Teochew. The 5th International Conference of Chinese Prosodic Grammar (ICCPG5).

2018 The synthetic performances of Teochew. The International Workshop on Syntactic Analyticity and Grammatical Parameters. Workshop in honor of Professor C. -T. James Huang’s 2015 work On Syntactic Analyticity and Parametric Theory.

AAAA

Milestone papers:

2022 Optional causee in Teochew ‘give’-causative. The second Ph.D. Qualifying paper, Georgetown University. Supervisors: Paul Portner, Alison Biggs and Ruth Kramer. Fields: Syntax & Semantics.

2021 Tone sandhi patterns in Shantou Teochew. The first Ph.D. Qualifying Paper, Georgetown University. Supervisor: Elizabeth Zsiga. Field: Phonology.

2019 Derived heads of Cantonese left periphery and cartographic distributions of its sentence final particles. M.A. Thesis, China Foreign Affairs University. Supervisor: Fuzhen Si. Fields: Syntax & Pragmatics.

AAAAA

Other research experience

2021 Research assistant for Paul Portner. Topic: The syntax and semantics of the verbal domain.

2021 Research-oriented tutorial with David Lightfoot. Topic: Diachronic syntax and generative approach of language acquisition.

2020 Research assistant for Paul Portner. Topic: Semantics&Pragmatics I course content design.

2020 Research assistant for LingLab of Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University.

2020 Research assistant for Assessment and Evaluation Language Resource Center, Georgetown University.

2019 Research assistant for Paul Portner. Topic: The syntax and semantics of English infinitives.

2019 Research assistant for Alison Biggs. Topic: Adjective classifiers & unaccusative structures in Teochew.

2018-2020 Project on Cartographic studies on word structures. PI: Fuzhen Si. Team members: Yinghui Tian (team leader after 2020), Jingru An, Weitao Wu and Tingting Liu.

AAAA

Academic service

2022 fall till now Co-organizer of the Syntax Reading Group, Georgetown University Linguistics Department. With Jack Pruett

2022 Organization committee member of the inauguration ceremony of the Institute for Chomsky Studies & Understanding Chomsky: Event Series with Noam Chomsky. Department of Linguistics, Beijing Language and Culture University

2022 summer Organizer of the Syntax Reading Group, Georgetown University Linguistics Department.

2022 spring Co-organizer of the Syntax Reading Group, Georgetown University Linguistics Department. With James Lee

2021 Program committee member of The 4th International Workshop on Syntactic Cartography & The 1st International Forum on Language and Brain

2019 Program committee member of the Joint Conference of Changing Boundaries & The 3rd International Workshop on Syntactic Cartography

2018 Organization committee member of the inauguration ceremony of Department of Linguistics, Beijing Language and Culture University

AAAA

Memberships

Cognitive Science Society

Linguistic Society of America

Societas Linguistica Europaea

Society for Neurobiology of Language

International Association of Syntactic Cartographic Studies

Association canadienne de linguistique/Canadian Linguistic Association

AAAA

Other projects (Projects to be further developed in the future)

2021 Left-headed verbal compounds in Teochew. Ms.

2021 Consciousness: what it is, how it works and how to study it. Ms.

2020 [With Lillian Chang, Andrew DeMarco and Neke Nsor] Relation of oral reading skill with working memory and emotional processing. An fMRI group project.

2019 The cartographic distributions of ‘say’ and its grammaticalization process in Teochew. Ms.

2018 Haplology in Teochew emphatic structures. Ms.