About Me

  • 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, "Interpreting questions with non-exhaustive answers," (full paper updated in March 2017) (abstracts) contributes to several core issues on question semantics. It revives the categorial approach, argues for a richer lexicon of the wh-determiner, and clears the obstacles in composing questions with complex structures (such as mention-some questions, multi-wh questions, and questions with quantifiers). It also explores puzzles on exhaustivity variations, attitudes toward questions, and quantificational variability. In Fall 2016, I taught a seminar Semantics of Questions (course materials).    

  • Other projects that I have worked on include implicatures, polarity item licensing, neg-raising, the multi-functional particle dou 都, and so on. To read more about these projects, please see my research page.    

Recent Papers

  • Xiang, Y. 2017.  Alternations of logical functions: Mandarin particle dou as a pre-exhaustification exhaustifier. In revisions for resubmission. (Paper)

  • Xiang, Y. 2017. ONLY: An NPI-licenser and NPI-unlicenser. Journal of Semantics 34 (3): 447-481. DOI: 10.1093/jos/ffx006 (Preprint

  • Xiang, Y. and A. Cremers. 2017. Mention-some readings of plural-marked questions: Experimental evidence. Proceedings of North East Linguistics Society 47 (vol 3): 261-274. (Paper

Recent Talks and Posters

  • A hybrid categorial approach to question composition. Invited talk. Rutgers University. Feb 7, 2018. (Handout)

  • Complete and true: Attitudes held of questions. Invited colloquium. Rutgers University. Feb 6, 2018. (Slides) (Printable)

  • Sensitivity to false answers in interpreting questions under attitudes. PhLing Workshop. Northwestern University. Nov 10, 2017. 

  • In late June to early July 2017, I gave a seris of invited talks in Shanghai and Beijing: 
    • Alternations of logical functions: Mandarin particle dou as a pre-exhaustication exhaustier. Shanghai Jiao Tong University (June) and Beijing Language and Culture University (July). (Handout)

    • What does a question denote? School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. June.

    • Reviving the categorial approach. Dept of Chinese, Peking University. July.

    • Semantics bootcamp: Questions. Dept of Chinese, Peking University. July. (Part I) (Part II)

    • Sensitivity to false answers in interpreting questions under attitudes. School of Foreign Languages, Tsinghua University. July. 

  • Wh-items quantify over polymorphic sets. Talk at CLS 53. University of Chicago. May 25-27, 2017. (Slides)

  • Sensitivity to false answers in interpreting questions under attitudes. Invited talk at the Inquisitive Semantics seminar, ILLC, University van Amsterdam, March 17, 2017. 

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

  • Composing questions: A hybrid categorial approach. Talk at Workshop of Compositionality at the Interfaces, GLOW 40,  Leiden University, March 14, 2017. (Slides)

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