• Professor of Linguistics
  • ctjhuang@fas.harvard.edu
  • http://scholar.harvard.edu/ctjhuang
  • Department of Linguistics | 307 Boylston Hall | Harvard University | Cambridge, MA, 02138

Research interests: syntactic theory; syntax-semantics interface; Chinese linguistics.

C. T. James Huang is Professor of Linguistics at Harvard University. His research focuses on the ‘mental software’ of the brain that accounts for our knowledge of language, in particular looking at some key questions, such as: what that mental software consists of, how it is acquired, and how it is put to use in real life. Regarding these questions, Professor Huang researches syntax (how we structure words to make sentences, in seemingly different ways for different languages), and the relationship between syntax and semantics (how expressions thus put together map to appropriate meanings).

Professor Huang’s research has addressed a variety of topics in syntactic theory and the syntax-semantic interface, related to (a) argument structure and syntactic projection; (b) syntactic operations (such as movement) and constraints on them; (c) the distribution and reference of reflexives, pronouns, and null pronouns; (d) interpretation of sentences with quantifiers and other logical elements; and (e) the syntax and semantics of questions across languages.

Notably, Professor Huang is interested in formal approaches to the study of Chinese languages, and more broadly in parametric theory with a focus on East Asian languages. Having worked on a wide range of topics in Chinese syntax—with respect to word order and phrase structure, lexical semantics and syntactic projection (passives, unaccusatives, resultatives, causatives), anaphora (pro drop, null topics, long-distance reflexives, donkey sentences), questions (wh-questions, A-not-A questions), focus structure, and syntax-semantics mismatches, he uses the results of these works to both shed new light on some old problems in the traditional field of Chinese syntax, and contribute to current issues in general linguistic theory.

His most recent and current work explores the analytic-synthetic continuum in syntactic typology in formal theoretic terms, and capitalizes on the fact that many parameters of variation that have been posited in the past may be reduced to special cases of the analytic-synthetic macro-parameter.

Issues arise concerning the relation between macro- and micro-parameters as accounts of synchronic variation and diachronic change. I continue to be interested in the analyses of passives, resultatives, bound anaphora in all languages, and how they may shed light on the relationship among syntax, semantics and the lexicon.

Chinese Name: 黃正德



(1) Hanyu Shengcheng Yufa《漢語生成語法》[Chinese Generative Grammar], translated into Chinese by Chunyan Ning, Fang Ho, and Dasan Zhang, Heilongjiang University Press, Harbin, 1983. 《漢語生成語法》寧春岩、侯方、張達三合譯, 黑龍江大學出版社出版, 1983.

(2) Logical Structure and Linguistic Structure: Cross-Linguistic Perspectives. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991. [Co-edited with Robert May]

(3) New Horizons in Chinese Linguistics. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996. [Co-edited with Y.-H. Audrey Li]

(4) Logical Relations in Chinese and the Theory of Grammar, Garland Publishing, 1998.

(5) Long Distance Reflexives. Syntax and Semantics 33, Academic Press, New York, 2001. [Co-edited with Peter Cole and Gabriella Hermon]

(6) The Syntax of Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. [With Audrey Li and Yafei Li] Reviewed by Zhang, Daqiu. The Linguistic Review 29: 321-332 (2012)

Chinese Translation Hanyu Jufaxue. Heyou Zhang (translator) and Yang Gu (editor). Beijing: World Publishing Inc. 2013. 中文翻譯版《漢語句法學》張和友翻譯、顧陽校訂, 北京世界圖書出版社出版, 2013. Reviewed by Fu, Yu. Contemporary Linguistics 2010:275-278.

(7) Between Syntax and Semantics. Routledge Leading Linguists Series, volume 15. New York: Taylor and Francis, 2010. Reviewed by Liu, Na. Linguistic Sciences 15(1): 96-104, 2016.

(8) The Handbook of Chinese Linguistics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers, 2014. [Co-edited with Audrey Li and Andrew Simpson]

(9) Peaches and Plums: Interdisciplinary Essays. Language and Linguistics Monograph Series 54. Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica. [Co-edited with Feng-Hsi Liu]

(10) Encyclopedia of Chinese Languages and Linguistics. Leiden: Brill. Editor: Rint Sybesma, Associate Editors: Wolgang Behr, Zev Handel, C.-T. James Huang, and James Myers. (Forthcoming in 2015).

(11) Chinese Syntax in a cross-linguistic perspective, ed. Audrey Li, Andrew Simpson and Dylan Tsai. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. [A Festschrifts for C.-T. James Huang]


(12) The metrical structure of terraced-level tones. In Cahiers Linguistiques d'Ottawa, Proceedings of the 10th conference of the North Eastern Linguistic Society, ed. John T. Jensen, 257-270, 1980.

(13) Move wh in a language without wh-movement. The Linguistic Review 1:369-416, 1982. Reprinted in R. Freidin & H. Lasnik (eds.) Syntax: Critical Concepts, pp. 397-440. Routledge. Reprinted in R. Kayne, T. Reu, & R. Zanuttini (eds.) An Annotated Syntax Reader: Lasting Insights and Questions, pp. 151-168. Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

(14) On the representation of scope in Chinese. Journal of Chinese Linguistics 11:37-91, 1983.

(15) A note on the binding theory. Linguistic Inquiry 14:554-561, 1983.

(16) LF, ECP, and non-vacuous quantification. In Proceedings of the First Cornell Conference on Government and Binding Theory, 109-126, 1983.

(17) Phrase structure, lexical integrity, and Chinese compounds. Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association 19:53-78, 1984.

(18) On the distribution and reference of empty pronouns. Linguistic Inquiry 15:531-574, 1984.

(19) On the typology of zero anaphora. Language Research 20:85-105, 1984.

(20) On the analysis of verb-particle constructions. Studies in English Literature and Linguistics 11:101-114, 1985.

(21) Zhongwen de zhaoying ci yu Zhongwen jiaoxue [On the anaphor in Chinese and Chinese teaching]. Proceedings of the First World Conference on Chinese Language, 205-221, 1985. [Co-authored with Yunhua Huang, Elvin Teng, and Robyne Tiedeman). In Chinese]

(22) On the autosegmental and metrical nature of tone-terracing. In African Linguistics, ed. D. L. Goyvaerts, 209-238. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1985.

(23) SASC: A syntactic analysis system for Chinese sentences. International Journal of Computer Processing of Chinese and Oriental Languages (co-authored with Longji Lin, K. J. Chen, and Linshan Lee), pp. 29-32, 1986.

(24) A Chinese natural language processing system based upon the theory of empty categories. In Proceedings of 5th National Conference on Artificial Intelligence of the American Association on Artificial Intelligence (co-authored with Longji Lin, K. J. Chen, and Linshan Lee), pp. 1059-1062, 1986.

(25) Remarks on empty categories in Chinese. Linguistic Inquiry 18:321-337, 1987.

(26) Existential sentences in Chinese and (in)definiteness. In The Representation of (In)definiteness, ed. E. Reuland and A. ter Meulen. 226-253. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987.

(27) Verb-Second in German and some Aux phenomena in Chinese. In Chinese-Western Encounter: Studies in Linguistics and Literature (Festschrift for Franz Giet, SVD, on the occasion of his 85th Birthday), ed. A. Bramkamp. Fu Jen University, Taipei, 1987.

(28) Remarks on the paper by Hasegawa. In Proceedings of the Workshop on Japanese Syntax, ed. W. Hinds and M. Nakayama, 77-93. Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut.

(29) 漢語正反問句的模組語法 Hanyu zhengfan wenju de mozu yufa [A modular theory of A-not-A questions in Chinese].《中國語文》Zhongguo Yuwen 204, 247-264. Also in Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Sinology, (December 1986, Academia Sinica, Taipei), pp. 679-704.《第二屆國際漢學會議論文集》台北中央研究院出版, pp. 679-704.]

(30) Wo pao de kuai and Chinese phrase structure. Language 64:274-311, 1988.

(31) Pro drop in Chinese: a generalized control approach. In The Null Subject Parameter, ed. O. Jaeggli and K. Safir, 185-214. Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1989.

(32) The syntax of wh-in-situ. In WCCFL VII, Proceedings of the 7th West Coast Conference on formal Linguistics, 81-98, 1989. [With Robert Fiengo, Howard Lasnik and Tanya Reinhart]

(33) Shuo shi he you (on 'be' and 'have' in Chinese). Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica 59:43-64, 1990. [In Chinese: 說「是」和「有」《中央研究院歷史語言研究所集刊》59:43-64]

(34) A Mandarin dictation machine based upon a hierarchical recognition approach and Chinese natural language analysis. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence 12:695-704, 1990. [Co-authored with Linshan Lee, Chiu-yu Tseng, K.-J. Chen, L.-J. Lin]

(35) On the local nature of the long distance reflexive in Chinese. In Long Distance Anaphora, J. Koster and E. Reuland, 263-282. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. [Co-authored with Jane Tang]

(36) Modularity and Chinese A-not-A questions. In Interdisciplinary Approaches to Linguistics: Essays in Honor of Yuki Kuroda, ed. C. Georgopoulos and R. Ishihara, 305-332. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991.

(37) Remarks on the status of the null object. In Principles and Parameters in Comparative Grammar, ed. R. Freidin, 56-76. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.

(38) Introduction to Logical Structure and Linguistic Structure, ed. C.-T. James Huang and Robert May, vii-xxviii, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992. [Co-authored with Robert May.]

(39) Zhongwen de liang-zhong jiwu dongci he liang-zhong bu jiwu dongci [two kinds of transitive verbs and intransitive verbs],” in Proceedings of the 2nd World Congress of Chinese Language Studies, pp. 39-59, World Chinese Language Association, Taipei, 1991.

(40) Complex predicates in control. In Control and Grammar, ed. R. Larson, Utpal Lahiri, Sabine Iatridou, and J. Higginbotham, 109-147. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1992.

(41) An efficient natural language processing system specifically designed for the Chinese language. Computational Linguistics 27:347-374, 1992. [Co-authored with Longji Lin, Linshan Lee, Kejian Chen, and Leefeng Chien.]

(42) Reconstruction and the structure of VP: Some theoretical consequences. Linguistic Inquiry 24:103-138, 1993.

(43) Verb movement and some syntax-semantics mismatches in Chinese. Chinese Languages and Linguistics 2:587-613, 1994.

(44) Logical Form. In Government and Binding Theory and the Minimalist Program, ed. G. Webelhuth, 127-173, Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.

(45) More on Chinese word order and parametric theory. In Syntactic Theory and First Language Acquisition: Crosslinguistic Perspectives--Volume 1: Phrase Structure, ed. Barbara Lust, John Whitman, Jaklin Kornfilt, 15-35. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1994.

(46) On the argument structure of resultative compounds. In In Honor of William Wang: Interdisciplinary Studies on Language and Language Change, ed. Matthew Chen and Ovid Tzeng, 187-221. Taipei: Pyramid Press, 1995. [With Lisa Cheng]

(47) Generative studies in Chinese syntax. In C.-T. James Huang and Audrey Li (eds.), New Horizons in Chinese Linguistics, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp. 49-96, 1996. [With Audrey Li]

(48) Introduction. In New Horizons in Chinese Linguistics, ed. C.-T. James Huang and Audrey Li, 1-20. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1996. [With Audrey Li]

(49) Two types of donkey sentences. Natural Language Semantics 4:121-163, 1996. [With Lisa Cheng]

(50) On lexical structure and syntactic projection. Chinese Languages and Linguistics 3:45-89, 1997.

(51) Causative compounds across Chinese dialects: a study of Cantonese, Mandarin and Taiwanese. Chinese Languages and Linguistics 4:199-224, 1997. [With Lisa Cheng, Audrey Li, and Jane Tang]

(52) Hoo, hoo, hoo: syntax of the causative, dative, and passive constructions in Taiwanese. In Contemporary Studies on the Min Dialects, ed. Pang-Hsin Ting. Journal of Chinese Linguistics Monograph 14:146-203, 1999. [With Lisa Cheng, Audrey Li, and Jane Tang]

(53) Negative particle questions. In Microparametric Syntax and Dialect Variation, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 139, ed. James Black and Virginia Motapanyane, 41-78. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1997. [With Lisa Cheng and Jane Tang]

(54) Negative particle questions: a dialectal perspective. In Studies on the History of Chinese Syntax, ed. Chaofen Sun, JCL Monograph 10, pp. 65-112, 1997. [With Lisa Cheng and Jane Tang]

(55) Chinese passives in comparative perspective. Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies 29:423-509, 1999.

(56) Logophoricity, attitudes and ziji at the interface. In Long Distance Reflexives, ed. Peter Cole, et al. Syntax and Semantics 33, 141-195, Academic Press, New York, 2001. [With Luther Liu]

(57) Long distance reflexives: the state of the art. In Long Distance Reflexives, ed. Peter Cole, et al. Syntax and Semantics 33:141-195, New York: Academic Press, 2001. [With Peter Cole and Gabriella Hermon]

(58) Distributivity and reflexivity. In On the Formal Way to Chinese Languages, ed. Sze-Wing Tang and Luther Liu. CSLI and Cambridge University Press, 2002; also in Proceedings of the Center of Excellence International Symposium, ed. Nobuko Hasegawa. Tokyo: Kanda University, 2001.

(59) Movement theory and constraints in syntax. In International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, ed. Neil Smelser and Paul Baltes. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2002.

(60) The distribution of negative NPs and some typological correlates. In Functional Structure(s), Form and Interpretation, ed. Andrew Simpson et al, 264-280. New York: Routledge (Taylor and Francis), 2003.

(61) Syntax of the hell. NELS 34, Proceedings of the 34th Conference of the North Eastern Linguistic Society, 279-294, 2004. Amherst, MA: GLSA Publications, University of Massachusetts. [With Masao Ochi]

(62) Long-distance reflexives: an East Asian perspective. In The Syntax Companion (SYNCOM), ed. Henk van Riemsdiejk and Martin Everett, Blackwell Publishers, 2006. [With Peter Cole and Gaby Hermon)]

(63) Resultatives and unaccusatives: a parametric view. Bulletin of the Chinese Linguistic Society of Japan 253:1-43, 2006.

(64) Hanyu shu+liang+ming geshi de laiyuan [On the origin of numeral-classier-noun constructions]. Zhongguo Yuwen 314:387-400, 2006. [漢語「數+量+名」格式的來源《中國語文》314:387-400, 2006.] [with 吴福祥 & 馮勝利]

(65) Hanyu dongci de tiyuan jiegou yu qi jufa biaoxian [The thematic structures of verbs in Chinese and their syntactic manifestations], Linguistic Sciences 6.4: 3-21, 2007. [漢語動詞的題元結構與其句法表現《語言科學》6.4:3-21, 2007]

(66) Cong ‘tade laoshi dang-de hao’ tanqi. Linguistic Sciences 7.3: 225-241, 2008. [從 「他的老師當得好」談起《語言科學》7:225-241.] Also in《呂叔湘先生百歲誕辰紀念會議論文集》中國社會科學院出版, pp. 126-144, 2010.

(67) Feng, Shengli, W.-T. Dylan Tsai and C.-T. James Huang, et al. 2008. 冯胜利、蔡维天、黄正德. 传统训诂与形式句法的综合解释:以「共、与」为例谈「给与」义的来源及发展《古漢語研究》3:2-13. A synthetic explanation by traditional exegesis with formal syntactic theory—a case study on the origin of the meaning of give in gong and yu. Gu Hanyu Yanjiu [Studies on Classical Chinese] 3:2-13.

(68) Lexical decomposition, silent categories, and the localizer phrase. Yuyanxue Luncong 語言學論叢 9:86-122, 2010.

(69) Classifiers and nominal structure: a parametric approach and its consequences. In Universals and variation, ed. Mingle Gao, 191-197. Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture University Press, 2011.

(70) Remarks on plurality and classifier languages. In Plurality in classifier languages, ed. Younghwa Kim, pp. xvii-xxvii. Seoul: Hankookmunkasa Publishers. 2011.

(71) Language typology and the fine structure of argument structure. In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Sinology. Academia Sinica, June 2012.

(72) Macro- and micro-variations and parametric theory in minimalism. In Proceedings of the 13th International Symposium on Chinese Languages and Linguistics (IsCLL-13), National Taiwan Normal University and Academia Sinica, Taipei, June 2012.

(73) Variations in non-canonical passives. In Non-canonical Passives, ed. Artemis Alexiadou and Florian Schaefer, 95-114. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 2013.

(74) Remarks on classifiers and nominal structure in East Asian. In Peaches and Plums, ed. C.-T. James Huang and Feng-Hsi Liu, pp. 53-74, 2014. [With Masao Ochi]

(75) On the syntax and semantics of the new non-canonical passive bei XX. Linguistic Sciences 13:225-241, 2014. (In Chinese 新興非典型被動式「被XX」句法與語義結構《語言科學》13:225-241, 2014.) [With Na Liu 黃正德、柳娜合著]

(76) A new passive form in Mandarin: Its syntax and implications. International Journal of Chinese Linguistics 1:1-34, 2014. [With Na Liu]

(77) Movement theory and constraints in syntax. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, ed. James D. Wright et al, Vol 16:1–7, Oxford: Elsevier, 2015. [With Hiroki Narita]​​​​​​​

(78) On syntactic analyticity and parametric theory, ed. Audrey Li, Andrew Simpson, and Dylan Tsai, pp. 1-48. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

(79) The syntax and semantics of prenominals: construction or composition? Language and Linguistics 17:431-475. 2016.

(80) Control and raising passives, and why Mandarin doesn’t smuggle,” Journal of East Asian Linguistics 25:385-404. [Co-authored with Na Liu]

Forthcoming articles

(81) Long-distance reflexives: syntax and discourse. In The Syntax Companion, 2nd Edition, ed. by Henk van Riemsdijk and Martin Everett. Malden: Wiley Blackwell. [With I. Charnavel, P. Cole and G. Hermon] [to appear]

(82) On overt topics and null topics. [with Barry Yang] (under review)

(83) Principles and parameters of Universal Grammar. In The Oxford Handbook of Universal Grammar, ed. by Ian Roberts, et al., pp. 000-000. [Co-authored with Ian Roberts]

(84) “Phase-c-command, referential anaphora, and quantificational binding in Chinese,” (Coauthored with Jowang Lin)

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies