Victoria Chen

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I am a field linguist and an Austronesian comparativist. With primary and secondary focuses on syntax and historical linguistics, my research program brings together two themes: (i) the syntactic typology of understudied western Austronesian languages, and (ii) the evolutionary pathway of various types of grammatical patterns found within the Austronesian language family. I am particularly interested in the syntactic typology of the indigenous languages spoken in Taiwan and the Philippines and its implications for the higher-order subgrouping of the Austronesian language family.

Much of my work to date focuses on a longstanding issue in theoretical syntax concerning the nature of a perplexing grammatical system found in western Austronesian known as the Philippine-type voice system. My dissertation revisits this issue based on novel data from three understudied Austronesian languages (Puyuma, Amis, and Seediq) and Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. Link to my work on this topic. 

A second category of my research agenda focuses on the syntactic microvariation among understudied western Austronesian languages. I’m particularly interested in the comparative syntax of causatives, ditranstives, raising-to-object, and the complementation strategies across western Austronesian languages.

View curriculum vitae and publications by Victoria Chen

Selected publications:

  • Chen, Victoria. 2017. A reexamination of the Philippine-type voice system and its implications for Austronesian primary-level subgrouping. Ph.D. dissertation: University of Hawi‘i at Mānoa.
  • Chen, Victoria. 2016. When synthetic meets analytic: A note on structural borrowing in Kaxabu Pazeh. Oceanic Linguistics 55(2):669-77.
  • Chen, Victoria. 2016. “Pivot” ≠ Absolutive: Evidence from Formosan. In E. Clem et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistic Society (BLS 42): 253-72. Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistics Society.
  • Chen, Victoria and Shin Fukuda. 2016.  “Absolutive” marks agreement, not Case: Against the syntactic ergative analysis for Austronesian-type voice system. In n C. Hammerly et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the 46th Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistics Society (NELS 46):201-211. UMass: GLSA.
  • Chen, Victoria and Shin Fukuda. 2016. Raising to object out of CP as embedded left dislocations: Evidence from three Formosan languages. In K. Kim et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 33):88-98.  Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
  • Chen, Victoria. 2016. To see a world in a grain of sand: Review of Legate (2014), Voice and v: Lessons from Acehnese. Oceanic Linguistics 55(1):290-97.
  • Chen, Victoria. 2017. Philippine-type "voice" affixes as A’-agreement markers: Evidence from causatives and ditransitives. In H. Nomoto et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA 23):35-49. Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics.
  • Chen, Victoria and Shin Fukuda. 2017. Re-labeling “Ergative”: Evidence from Formosan. With Shin Fukuda. In H. Nomoto et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA 23):50-64. Canberra: Asia-Pacific Linguistics.
  • Blust, Robert and Victoria Chen. 2017. The pitfalls of negative evidence: ‘Ergative Austronesian’, ‘Nuclear Austronesian’ and their progeny. Language and Linguistics 18(4):579-623.
  • Camp, Amber, Lyle Campbell, Victoria Chen, Nala Lee, and Samantha Rarrick. 2018. Writing Grammars of Endangered Languages. Oxford Handbook of Endangered Languages, 271-304. Cambridge: Oxford University Press.