Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine mitcho Singapore Assistant Professor National University of Singapore.


I am an Assistant Professor in Linguistics at the National University of Singapore (Department of English Language & Literature). I study the structure of sentences (syntax) and how these structures map to meaning (semantics). Much of my work is based on fieldwork on understudied languages, especially of Southeast Asia. I received my Ph.D. from MIT Linguistics in 2014. In a previous life, I was active in the Mozilla (Firefox) and WordPress open-source communities.

Areas of interest

  • syntax and semantics of focus, movement, and scope-taking
  • Alternative Semantics: focus, wh, questions, QUDs, disjunction
  • the syntax of movement, case, and agreement

My work has investigated:

  • Austronesian: Toba Batak (Indonesia), Bikol (Philippines), and Squliq Atayal (Taiwan);
  • Tibeto-Burman: Tibetan and Burmese;
  • Mayan: Kaqchikel and Chuj (Guatemala);
  • Mandarin Chinese; English; Japanese; Vietnamese; Singlish…

See the Projects page for descriptions of projects and downloadable papers.

Next semester


  • May 2019: SALT 29 at UCLA, presenting “Ingredients of excess: A study of Vietnamese quá” with Anne Nguyen.
  • May 2019: “The typology of nominal licensing in Austronesian voice languages” with Ted Levin and Coppe van Urk at AFLA 26 at Western University.
  • June 6–7, 2019: A workshop on Approaches to Wh-Intervention at NUS, co-organized with Kenyon Branan.
  • June–July 2019: Fieldwork in Dharamsala, India
  • July 13, 2019: We’re holding the first Singapore Summer Meeting, an informal meeting for fieldworkers
  • August 2019: GLOW in Asia XI in Seoul, presenting “Wh-quantification in Alternative Semantics”


Less recent but still pretty good