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 and endangered languages. 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, disjunction
  • the syntax of movement, case, and agreement

My work has investigated: Mandarin Chinese; English; Japanese; Mayan: Kaqchikel and Chuj (Guatemala); Austronesian: Squliq Atayal (Taiwan) and Toba Batak (Indonesia); Tibetan; Vietnamese…

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


  • October 2016: Teruyuki Mizuno will present our joint work on contrast sluicing at Japanese/Korean Linguistics 24.
  • October 14, 2016: I will present “The locus of Mandarin sentence-final particles and the Final-over-Final Constraint” at the Workshop on Word Order of Heads 中心語詞序研討會 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
  • December 7–9, 2016: I plan to present “Triggers of fronting in Toba Batak” at the Australian Linguistic Society meeting at Monash University, Melbourne.
  • February 2017: The National University of Singapore will be hosting GLOW in Asia XI!