My research interests lie mainly in the area of semantics, and its interaction with (morpho-)syntax and pragmatics, with a focus on cross-linguistic variation. I am currently working on topics on tense, aspect, and modality in Atayal (an Austronesian language spoken in Northern Taiwan), where I address some interesting facts including non-culminating accomplishments, forms with readings tangled up several aspectual categories, the status of “tense” in this morphologically tenseless language, modals without a dual, and temporal interpretation of modals relating to syntactic height etc.

I am also involved in a bigger research project Tense and Aspect in the Pacific

Courses Currently Teaching


  • Recent presentations

A split temporality in Atayal. Paper presented at SuB22. [abstract, handout]

In support of relative tense: The existential past in Atayal and Javanese (with Jozina vander Klok, Lisa Matthewson and Hotze Rullmann). Paper presented at The Semantics of African, Asian and Austronesian Languages (Triple A 4). [abstract, slides]

Decomposing the ‘experiential’ perfect: The view from Atayal and Javanese (with Jozina vander Klok, Lisa Matthewson and Hotze Rullmann). Paper presented at AFLA-24. [abstract, slides]

Bounding perfective and perfect: the Atayal wal. Paper presented at GLOW in Asia 2017. [abstract, slides]


  • Recent papers

Chen, Sihwei. 2017. Bundling perfective and perfect: The Atayal wal. In Proceedings of GLOW in Asia XI, volume 1, ed. by Erlewine, pp. 65-78. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics #84. Cambridge, MA: MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.

Chen, Sihwei, Vera Hohaus, Rebecca Laturnus, Meagan Louie, 
Lisa Matthewson, Hotze Rullmann, Ori Simchen, Claire K. Turner, Jozina Vander Klok. 2017. Past possibility cross-linguistically: Evidence from 12 languages. In Ana Arregui, Maria-Luisa Rivero and Andres Salanova (eds.), Modality Across Syntactic Categories. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [preprint]

Chen, Sihwei. 2017. Initial Stages of Events: The Atayal Unmarked Predicates. In Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, ed. Aaron Kaplan et al., 107-114. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Chen, Sihwei. 2016. Lexical aspect and aspectually unmarked predicates in Atayal. In Hiroki Nomoto, Takuya Miyauchi, and Asako Shiohara (eds,), The Proceedings of the 23rd Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association, pp. 65-80. Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics.

Chen, Sihwei. 2016. The absence of inverse scope in Tlingít. In Emily Sadlier-Brown, Erin Guntly, and Natalie Weber (eds.), The Proceedings of the Workshop on Structure and Constituency in the Languages of the Americas 20, pp. 1-15. University of British Columbia Working Papers in Linguistics 43.


  • Invited talks

Aug, 2016. Viewpoint aspects in Atayal. Young Scholars Symposium, Institute of Linguistics, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. [abstract]

June, 2015. Modality and constraints on temporal reference: Evidence from Atayal. Institute of Linguistics, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan.