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; Austronesian: Toba Batak (Indonesia) and Squliq Atayal (Taiwan); Mayan: Kaqchikel and Chuj (Guatemala); Tibetan; Vietnamese…

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

This semester


  • December 2017: Amsterdam Colloquium 2017 presenting “Movement and alternatives don’t mix: Evidence from Japanese” with Hadas Kotek
  • January 2018: LSA in Salt Lake City, presenting…
    • Thursday poster: “The typology of nominal licensing in Austronesian voice languages” with Ted Levin and Coppe van Urk
    • Saturday 9am: “Intervention tracks scope-rigidity in Japanese” with Hadas Kotek
    • Sunday last talk: “A syntactic universal in a contact language: The story of Singlish already
  • March 2018: “The role of nominal licensing in Austronesian voice systems” with Ted Levin and Coppe van Urk at the Syntactic asymmetries workshop at DGfS