Syntax & semantics


Universal Concord

  • I show that a purported affixal quantifier in Cantonese is indeed a concord element which agrees with a universal quantifier, instantiating a case of universal concord.
  • A related discussion on the scopal behaviour of the purported affixal quantifier.

Adverbial clauses

Temporal clauses

  • I show two different ways to derive temporal adverbial clauses, by merging an operator (comparable to when) at different positions. I also discuss how the height of operator merging sites may determine the external syntax.


  • I investigate 11 Cantonese affixes that only occur in adverbial clauses, which can be classified as converbs (e.g. adverbial participles) from a typological perspective.


Hyper-raising and evidentiality

[with Tommy Tsz-Ming LEE]

  • We show that raising out of a finite clause (i.e. hyper-raising) is correlated with indirect evidence cross-linguistically, and how the correlation may be accounted for under a phase-deactivation approach.

Modal movement licensed by focus

[with Tommy Tsz-Ming LEE]

  • We investigate the distribution of modals in Chinese, and their interaction with focus interpretations.

Syntax-phonology interface

Right dislocation

Right dislocation

  • Based on acoustic data, I study the mapping from clauses to intonational phrases in right dislocation. I also discuss micro-variations in Cantonese and Mandarin which are attributable to their prosodic differences.

Syllable deletion

Monosyllabic preference and syllable deletion

[with Sheila Shu-Laam CHAN & Tommy Tsz-Ming LEE]

  • We discuss the monosyllabic preference in separable verbs and related phenomena, and propose a syllable deletion account. Micro-variations in Cantonese and Mandarin are also addressed.

SFPs & intonation

Intonations on sentence-final particles

[with Him Nok LEE]

  • We exmaine the pitch properties of a polysemous SFP and discuss how to distinguish intonations from tones on SFPs.

Corpus linguistics


Gradient metaphorization and grammaticalization

[with Benjamin K. TSOU]

  • With a case study on Chinese light verbs, we explore different dimensions involving gradation of metaphorization process and provide a generalized schema of metaphorization.

MSC variations in metaphorization

[with Benjamin K. TSOU & Yaxuan JI]

  • We offer a novel dynamic perspective to language variations with a process-based approach. We focus on the parallel and differential developments of metaphorization process in varieties of Modern Standard Chinese.

Other projects


  • With evidence from suffix stacking and scope, I argue that the syntactic position of perfective aspect should be higher than experiential aspect.

Verbs of saying

[with Jia JIN]

  • We argue that verbs of saying should be divided into two classes, SAY and GIVE-by-saying, which take different direct & indirect objects.

Cantonese learning: CanTONEse

[with Mei-ying KI & Yik-Po LAI]