I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at UC San Diego. I completed my PhD in Linguistics at MIT in 2018 (you can download my dissertation here).

I research theoretical syntax and am especially interested in the syntax-morphology interface. Much of my work has centred around morphosyntactic phenomena such as case, agreement, and movement, including their interactions and their manifestations in ergative languages. I am also interested in the internal structure and formation of morphologically complex words and, relatedly, the morphosyntactic properties of pronominal clitics.

I have primarily investigated these topics through the lens of Inuktitut (or Inuktut), as well as related varieties. More recently, I have also begun exploring some of these issues in the San Juan Piñas variety of Mixtec (Tò’ōn Ndā’ví), together with Gabriela Caballero, language teacher Claudia Juárez Chávez, and our students. This work also includes the documentation and analysis of the language’s tonal system, as well as the development of linguistic resources for language reclamation purposes.

At UCSD, I am a member of the Linguistics Field Research Lab and the Syntax and Semantics Babble (S-Babble) discussion group.

The header image was taken in July 2017 near the community of Iqaluit, Nunavut, after several “bergy bits” washed up on the shore.

upcoming/recent stuff

July 2023. The morphosyntax of case and licensing. Two-week course to be offered at the 2023 LSA Summer Institute, UMass Amherst.

May 2023. Hedding, Andrew and Michelle Yuan. Phase unlocking and the derivation of verb-initiality in San Martín Peras Mixtec. Presentation at WCCFL 41, UC Santa Cruz.

April 2023. Yuan, Michelle. Two restrictions on pronominal clitics in San Juan Piñas Mixtec (Tò’ōn Ndā’ví). Invited presentation, WSCLA 26, McGill University.

April 2023. Duarte Bórquez, Claudia, Gabriela Caballero, Claudia Juárez Chávez, and Michelle Yuan. Propiedades tonales y morfosintácticas de los enclíticos pronominales del mixteco de San Juan Piñas (Tò’ōn Ndā’ví). Presentation at COLOV IX, Oaxaca, MX.