About Me



  • I am a College Fellow in Harvard Linguistics. My research concentrates on formal semantics, syntax-semantics interface, involving both theoretical and experimental inquiry. I also have broad interests in East Asian linguistics and philosophy of language. I received my Ph.D. in linguistics from Harvard in 2016, and B.A. in Chinese linguistics from Peking University in 2010.  
  • My dissertation, entitled "Interpreting questions with non-exhaustive answers," investigates the semantics of questions.  It begins by re-examining several fundamental issues, such as what a question denotes, how a question is composed, and what a wh-item denotes. It then tackles questions with complex structures, including mention-some questions, multi-wh questions, and questions with quantifiers. It also explores several popular issues, such as variations of exhaustivity, sensitivity to false answers, and quantificational variability effects. 
    • Full paper on Lingbuzz or OpenScholar. (Updated in March 2017)
    • Self-contained abstracts can be found here.
    • In Fall 2016, I taught a seminar on Semantics of Questions. Check it out here or here.    
  • Other projects that I have worked on include the architecture of exhaustification, polarity item licensing, neg-raising, Mandarin particle dou 都, and so on. To read more about these projects and others, please visit my research page.    

Recent Papers

  • Xiang, Y. 2017. ONLY: An NPI-licenser and NPI-unlicenser. Journal of Semantics. DOI: 10.1093/jos/ffx006 (Preprint on Lingbuzz

  • Xiang, Y. and A. Cremers. 2017. Mention-some readings of plural-marked questions: Experimental evidence. Proceedings of North East Linguistics Society 47

  • Xiang, Y. 2016Solving the dilemma between uniqueness and mention-someProceedings of North East Linguistics Society 46. (Paper)

  • Xiang, Y. 2016Complete and true: A uniform analysis for mention-some and mention-all questions. Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 20. (Paper)

  • Xiang, Y. 2016.  Mandarin particle dou: A pre-exhaustification exhaustifier. Empirical Issues in Syntax and Semantics 11. (Paper

  • Xiang, Y. 2015. Mention-some readings of questions: Complexities from number-marking. Proceedings of Amsterdam Colloquium 2015. (Link

Recent Talks and Posters

  • Wh-items quantify over polymorphic sets. Talk at Chicago Linguistics Society (CLS) 53. University of Chicago. May 25-27, 2017. (Slides) (Printer-friendly version)
  • Sensitivity to false answers in interpreting questions under attitudes. Invited talk at the Inquisitive Semantics seminar, Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation (ILLC), University van Amsterdam, March 17, 2017. 

  • Composing complex questions: Multi-wh questions and questions with quantifiers. Invited talk at Discourse in Philosophy (DIP) Colloquium, Institute for Logic, Language, and Computation (ILLC), University van Amsterdam, March 17, 2017. (Abstract)(Handout)

  • Composing questions: A hybrid categorial approach. Talk at Workshop of Compositionality at the Interfaces, Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW) 40,  Leiden University, March 14, 2017. (Slides)(Printer-friendly version)

  • Composing pair-list readings: Multi-wh questions versus questions with quantifiers. Poster at the workshop in honor or David Pesetsky's 60th birthday (DP@60). MIT. Feb. 11, 2017. (Poster)

  • [Cancelled] Wh-items quantify over polymorphic sets. Talk at Linguistic Society of America (LSA) 2017 Annual Meeting, Austin. Jan 5-8, 2017.

  • Mentions-some readings of plural-marked questions: Experimental evidence. Talk at North East Linguistics Society (NELS) 47, Umass Amherst. October 14-16, 2016 (with Alexandre Cremers).

  • Mandarin Particle dou: A pre-exhaustification exhaustifier. Talk at Exhaustivity and Cognitive Architecture workshop, MIT. September 10, 2016. (Handout)

  • Sensitivity to false answers in indirect questions. Talk at Attitudes and Questions workshop, Center for Formal Epistemology, Carnegie Mellon University. June 10-11, 2016. (Slides)