Faculty of Arts - Cultures, Languages and Linguistics


Professor Yan Huang

BA, MA (Nanking) , PhD (Cambridge) , DPhil (Oxford)

Professor

Professor Yan Huang

Cultures, Languages and Linguistics, Applied Language Studies and Linguistics

Email: yan.huang@auckland.ac.nz

Extension: 87809 (ph + 64 9 373 7599)

308 2360

Location:
Arts 1 Building
14a Symonds St
Level 4
Room 419



Research interests

Research interests

Professor Huang’s research falls in (formal) pragmatics - the branch of linguistics that provides a scientific and systematic study of language in use. Within pragmatics, his work has been concentrating on the interface between it and the other two core areas of linguistics, namely semantics and syntax. In addition, he has also been interested in the interface between pragmatics and socio- and anthropological linguistics, namely the subfields of pragmatics that are labelled ‘sociopragmatics’ and ‘(cross-)cultural pragmatics.

The pragmatics-semantics interface

One of Professor Huang’s principal research interests has long been in pragmatic theorising. He has been working on the development of a more coherent pragmatic theory, focusing on the issue of pragmatic intrusion into the classical Gricean notion of what is said. Pragmatic intrusion refers to the phenomenon that pragmatically enriched content ‘intrudes’ into or enters the truth-conditional content of a sentence uttered. In recent years, pragmatic intrusion has become the centre of intense debate among both linguists and philosophers of language, and among both semanticists and pragmaticists. This debate is closely linked also to the currently heated debate between contextualism and semantic minimalism in the philosophy of language. Professor Huang hopes that this part of his research will make a significant contribution to the interaction and division of labour between pragmatics and semantics and to certain issues in the philosophy of language. On the publication side, his first book in this area Pragmatics was published by Oxford University Press in 2007. Since its publication, this book has established itself as a leading textbook on pragmatics internationally. As a ‘bestseller’ (Oxford University Press), it has been used in many universities in the world. In addition, it has also been, and is being, translated into a number of languages including Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Malay. The Korean translation and the Chinese reprint were published in 2008 and 2009 respectively. Currently, one of Professor Huang’s research projects is on re-systematising pragmatics. As is well-known, pragmatics is one of the most vibrant and rapidly developing fields in contemporary linguistics. It is also a particularly complex field with all sorts of disciplinary influence, and few, if any, clear boundaries. The aim of this research project is to conduct a comprehensive study of the representative research carried out in pragmatics and delimit the scope of pragmatics in a more coherent, systematic and principled way, thus helping shape its future development. In addition to more than a dozen of papers already published, the project has resulted, and will result, in three books: The Oxford Dictionary of Pragmatics, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2012, the 2nd edition of Pragmatics and The Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics, the last two of which are also contracted to be published by Oxford University Press. The editing of The Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics has been a major project, which involves around 40 top international scholars in pragmatics and it is scheduled to be published by Oxford University Press in 2014-2015. Professor Huang’s other current research project is on ‘-tures’ in pragmatics. The notion of implicature (both conversational and conventional) was put forward by the Oxford philosophy H. P. Grice. More recently, other types of ‘-tures’ have been postulated in the literature. These include explicature and impliciture. These ‘-ture’ concepts represent some of the most fundamental and important issues in current pragmatic theorizing and the pragmatics-semantics interface. The research project will result in a number of journal articles and book chapters, and at least one monograph. In addition Professor Huang also intends to write and publish a book on neo-Gricean pragmatics.

The pragmatics-syntax interface

Within the pragmatics-syntax interface, Professor Huang’s research has been focusing on the development of a pragmatic theory of anaphora. Anaphora refers to a relation between two or more linguistic elements, wherein the interpretation of one (called an anaphoric expression) is in some way determined by the interpretation of the other (called an antecedent). Anaphora has been one of the most important research topics in contemporary theoretical linguistics. It is also a key concern of psycho- and computational linguistics, and of work on the philosophy of language and on the linguistic component of cognitive science. Professor Huang’s research has shown that contrary to a widely-held Chomskyan view, the contribution of pragmatics to anaphora is much more fundamental than has been commonly believed. As an alternative to various syntactic and semantic approaches, he and Professor Stephen Levinson have developed a neo-Gricean pragmatic theory of anaphora. This theory has now been applied to and tested against a range of languages as genetically unrelated and structurally diverse as Chinese, Finnish, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Maori and Spanish. It has also been used to explain certain anaphoric acquisitional patterns by Turkish L2 learners of English, and English and Korean L2 learners of Chinese. His first research monograph on this topic The Syntax and Pragmatics of Anaphor: A Study with Special Reference to Chinese (Cambridge University Press 1994, reissued in 2007) has been widely acclaimed by reviewers in leading international journals of linguistics. His second monograph in this area Anaphora: A Cross-linguistic Study (Oxford University Press 2000) is based on data drawn from more than 550 of the world's languages. It advances his version of the pragmatic theory of anaphora in a substantial way. Professor Huang’s current research focus in this area is on logophoricity. The term ‘logophoricity’ is used to refer to the phenomenon whereby the ‘perspective’ of an internal protagonist of a sentence or discourse, as opposed to that of the current, external speaker, is being reported using some morphological and/or syntactic means. The concept of logophoricity was introduced in the analysis of certain African, especially West African, languages. Though it is not found in familiar Indo-European languages such as English, French and German, logophoricity is used in a wide range of the world’s languages. However, much of it remains to be explored. This research project is being conducted from both a theoretical and a typological point of view. On the publication side, Professor Huang plans to publish, in addition to a number of journal articles, one monograph on logophoricity.

Membership of international editorial board of journals and research monograph series

Currently, Professor Huang sits on the international editorial board of a number of journals and research monograph series.

Journals

  • Journal of Pragmatics
  • International Review of Pragmatics
  • Transaction of the Philological Society
  • Chinese as Second Language Research
  • Contemporary Linguistics
  • Journal of Foreign Languages
  • Contemporary Foreign Languages

Research monograph series

  • Current Research in the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface.
  • Pragmatics, Philosophy, Psychology

Current research

The pragmatics-semantics interface

On ‘-tures’ in pragmatics:

The notion of implicature (both conversational and conventional) was put forward by the Oxford philosophy H. P. Grice. More recently, other types of ‘-tures’ have been postulated in the literature. These include explicature and impliciture. The ‘-ture’ concepts represent some of the most fundamental and important issues in current pragmatic theorizing and the pragmatics-semantics interface. This research project will result in a number of journal articles and book chapters, and at least one monograph. In addition Professor Huang also intends to write and publish a book on neo-Gricean pragmatics.

Re-systematising pragmatics:

As is well-known, pragmatics is one of the most vibrant and rapidly developing fields in contemporary linguistics. It is also a particularly complex field with all sorts of disciplinary influence, and few, if any, clear boundaries. The aim of this research project is to conduct a comprehensive study of the representative research carried out in pragmatics and delimit the scope of pragmatics in a more coherent, systematic and principled way, thus helping shape its future development. In addition to more than a dozen of papers already published, the project has resulted, and will result, in three books: The Oxford Dictionary of Pragmatics, which was published by Oxford University Press in 2012, the 2nd edition of Pragmatics and The Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics, the last two of which are also contracted to be published by Oxford University Press. The editing of The Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics has been a major project, which involves around 40 top international scholars in pragmatics and it is scheduled to be published by Oxford University Press in 2014 -2015.

 

The pragmatics-syntax interface

Logophoricity:

The term ‘logophoricity’ is used to refer to the phenomenon whereby the ‘perspective’ of an internal protagonist of a sentence or discourse, as opposed to that of the current, external speaker, is being reported using some morphological and/or syntactic means. The concept of logophoricity was introduced in the analysis of certain African, especially West African, languages. Though it is not found in familiar Indo-European languages such as English, French and German, logophoricity is used in a wide range of the world’s languages. However, much of it remains to be explored. This research project is being conducted from both a theoretical and a typological point of view. On the publication side, Professor Huang plans to publish, in addition to a number of journal articles, one monograph on logophoricity.

Professor Yan Huang's Research

Postgraduate supervision

Professor Huang started supervising doctoral students at the University of Oxford in 1991. Since then he has successfully supervised numerous PhD/DPhil students, some of whom have been pursuing a very successful academic career. For example, before he moved to the University of Auckland in 2008, he graduated four PhD students at the University of Reading in 2006 and 2007. Out of the four theses, two have already been formally published: (i) Guangwu Feng (2010), A Theory of Conventional Implicature and Pragmatic Markers in Chinese. Emerald and (ii) Michael Chiou (2010), NP-anaphora in Modern Greek: A Partial Neo-Gricean Approach. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. For a third, both the internal and the external examiners concluded in their joint report: ‘This work, we believe, can provide the basis for publication in book form’.

Currently, Professor Huang is interested in supervising PhD theses in the following areas:

Pragmatics

In general, any topic in pragmatics including topics in theoretical and philosophical pragmatics, the pragmatics-semantics interface, socio- and cross-cultural pragmatics, and pragmatics and the lexicon.

Current research projects: (i) Implicature, explicatue and impliciture in pragmatics, (ii) Re-systematising pragmatics.

 

Semantics

Topics to be negotiated.

 

Anaphora and reference

Anaphora and/or reference in any language, especially logophoricity with respect to ‘exotic’ languages.

Current research project: Logophoricity.

 

Others

Typology and universals.

Philosophy of language from a linguistic perspective.

Recent publications


Recent publications

Books

 (2012) The Oxford Dictionary of Pragmatics. Oxford University Press. Available through all good bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press at:  http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199539802.do

(2012) The Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

(2011) Types of inference: entailment, presupposition, and implicature. In Bublitz, W. and Norrick, N. (eds.) 397-421. Foundations of Pragmatics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

(2010) Switch-reference in Amele and logophoric verbal suffix in Gokana: a generalized neo-Gricean pragmatic analysis. In Shu, D. F. and Turner, K. (eds.) Contrasting Meaning in Languages of the East and West. Berlin: Peter Lang. 75-101.

2010) Neo-Gricean pragmatic theory of conversational implicature. In B. Heine and H. Narrog (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 607-631.

(2010) NP-anaphora in Modern Greek: a partial neo-Gricean pragmatic approach. Journal of Pragmatics 42: 2036-2057. [This article is co-authored with Michael Chiou.]

(2009) Yuyongxue. (The Chinese reprint of my Pragmatics with a Chinese introduction). Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. Pp. XXXVIIII +331.

(2000). Anaphora: a cross-linguistic study. Oxford University Press.

Forthcoming book

(2013-14) Pragmatics. 2nd edn. Oxford University Press.

 (2014-15) (ed.) The Oxford handbook of pragmatics. Oxford University Press.

Recently published book
Huang, Y. (2007). Pragmatics. Oxford University Press.
Available now through all good bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press at: http://www.oup.co.uk/isbn/0-19-924368-9

Recent re-issue
Huang, Y. (2007). The syntax and pragmatics of anaphora. Cambridge University Press.

Journal article
(2012) Re-systematizing pragmatics. Waiguoyu (Journal of Foreign Languages) 35(2): 2-21.

Book chapter
(2012) Relevance and neo-Gricean pragmatic principles. In Schmid, H.-J. (ed.) Cognitive Pragmatics. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton 25-46.

Professor Yan Huang's Publications

Career history

Yan Huang is Professor of Linguistics and Head of Department, Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics at the University of Auckland. He received his BA in English and MA in English Linguistics at the University of Nanking, and obtained his PhD in Linguistics at the University of Cambridge (College: Trinity). He also holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford (College: Christ Church). At Cambridge, he was supervised by Stephen Levinson and taught personally also by John Lyons, Peter Matthews and Nigel Vincent. At Oxford, he was influenced by Anna Morpurgo-Davies. Before moving to Auckland, he had for twenty years taught linguistics at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, and Reading, where he was Professor of Theoretical Linguistics. His main research interests are in pragmatics, semantics and syntax, especially the pragmatics-semantics interface and the pragmatics-syntax interface including anaphora.

His books include internationally acclaimed The Syntax and Pragmatics of Anaphora (Cambridge University Press 1994, re-issued in 2007), Anaphora: A Cross-Linguistic Study (Oxford University Press 2000), Pragmatics (Oxford University Press 2007), and The Oxford Dictionary of Pragmatics (Oxford University Press 2012). His Pragmatics is being translated into a number of languages, and the Korean translation and the Chinese reprint have already been published.

He has also published a number of articles and reviews in leading international journals of linguistics. He is on the editorial board of a number of journals and research monograph series including the Journal of Pragmatics andCurrent Research in the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface. He has been invited to lecture in around 100 universities and research institutes in many countries in Europe, North America, East Asia, Australasia, and North Africa. Currently he is editing The Oxford Handbook of Pragmatics, contracted to be published by Oxford University Press in 2014.
 

Current teaching


Linguistics
Course Title Availability in 2014
LINGUIST 100 Introduction to Linguistics Semester 2
LINGUIST 206 Semantics and Pragmatics Semester 1
LINGUIST 320 Topics in Pragmatics Not offered in 2014.
LINGUIST 724 Semantics and Pragmatics Semester 2


Professor Yan Huang's Teaching


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