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, QUDs, 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; Burmese…

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

This semester


  • I’m hiring!! Two two-year post-docs to work on the syntax and/or semantics of Southeast Asian languages through original fieldwork. Apply now!
  • March 30, 2018: I will present “A syntactic universal in a contact language: The story of Singlish already” at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
  • May 2018: Cheryl Lim and I will present “Agent extraction and topicalization in Bikol” at AFLA 25 at Academia Sinica.
  • May 2018: Keely New and I will present our poster “The expression of exhaustivity and scalarity in Burmese” at SALT 28 at MIT.
  • May–June 2018: Linguistics Summer School in the Indian Mountains (LISSIM) 11
  • October 2018: Recent Issues in the Syntax of Questions workshop, Konstanz