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Shigeru Miyagawa

Linguist & Online Education Specialist

 

Profile

Professor of Linguistics & Kochi-Manjiro Professor of Japanese Language and Culture | MIT | miyagawa@mit.edu

Project Professor and Director of Online Education, University of Tokyo

Media | Open Education

Miyagawa was on the original MIT committee that proposed OpenCourseWare, and was the Chair of the MIT OpenCourseWare Faculty Advisory Committee, 2010 - 2013. For his work with OCW around the world, he was awarded the President’s Award for OCW Excellence from the Global OpenCourseWare Consortium. He is also Co-director of Visualizing Cultures (visualizingcultures.mit.edu) with the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, John W. Dower, which was awarded MIT Class of 1960 Innovation in Education Award. With John Dower and Andrew Gordon of Harvard, he created Visualizing Japan, a MOOC offered by edX for the first time in the fall of 2014 that has attracted over 9,000 learners world-wide. Visualizing Japan was a Finalist for the prestigious Japan Prize in 2015. He is also the producer of the multimedia program, StarFestival, which stars George Takei as the voice of the main character. StarFestival was awarded the Distinguished Award at the Multimedia Grandprix 2000 (Japan), and a regional Best of Show at the 1997 MacWorld Exposition. For his work in technology and education, he was recognized with the Irwin Sizer Award For the Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education (1995), and “Shapers of the Future” by the educational technology magazine Converge (2002). Since 2014, he has served as the Project Professor and Director of Online Education for the University of Tokyo as a joint appointment with MIT.

Linguistics | Language in Evolution

Miyagawa works on syntax, morphology, and Altaic and East Asian linguistics. He has recently been exploring the idea that grammatical agreement, broadly conceived, is universally present in human language. He is the author of Agreement Beyond Phi (to appear, Linguistic Inquiry Monograph, MIT Press), Case, Argument Structure, and Word Order, Leading Linguists Series (Routledge, 2012), Why Agree? Why Move?, published as a Linguistic Inquiry Monograph by MIT Press (2010), and co-editor with Mamoru Saito of Oxford Handbook of Japanese Linguistics published by the Oxford University Press (2008), along with over fifty articles on various linguistics topics. 

He has recently developed a theory of language evolution that hypothesizes that human language arose from the integration of two pre-existing systems in nature, one seen in birdsong, the other in primate alarm calls. His ideas are developed in jointly authored articles (Frontiers in Psychology, 2013, 2014, 2015). The Integration Hypothesis received mention in the journal Science and its news website (http://news.sciencemag.org/plants-animals/2013/02/tweet-screech-hey). Nature interviewed him, along with Noam Chomsky, for a program on primate communication and human language (Nature Podcast). BBC produced a 30-minute special inspired by his Integration Hypothesis of human language evolution. It aired in May 2015 on Radio 4, which has a multi-million listener base (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05tz9jr).

He received his B.A. from the International Christian University in 1975 and his Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in 1980.

 
 
OpenCourseWare redefined the relationship between MIT and the society it serves, bringing the two closer together, with benefits to both sides.
— Shigeru Miyagawa

Recent News & Awards

 

Agreement Beyond Phi, Linguistic Inquiry Monograph, MIT Press, In press. Link to pre-copyedited Chapter 1.

"Birds, Monkeys, and Humans." A mini MOOC, free. www.edcast.org

BBC Radio 4 features Integration Hypothesis (about 17 minutes into the program). What the Songbird Said.

Nature Podcast interview with Chomsky, Miyagawa, etc. (17 minutes into the program). Real Life Dr. Dolittles.

"The precedence of syntax in the rapid emergence of human language in evolution as defined by the integration hypothesis." Frontiers in Psychology. 18 March 2015 (with Vitor A. Nóbrega). Article. 

"The integration hypothesis of human language evolution and the nature of contemporary languages," Frontiers in Psychology. June 2014 (with S. Ojima, R. Berwick, K. Okanoya). MIT News. Science News. LiveScience.

"The emergence of hierarchical structure in human language," Frontiers in Psychology. February 2013 (with R. Berwick, K. Okanoya). Science News. MIT News.

Case, Argument Structure, and Word Order. Leading Linguists Series.Routledge. 2012. Review by Stella Markantonatou in Linguist. YouTube Video of Chapter 10.

Why Agree? Why Move? Unifying Agreement-based and Discourse Configurational Languages. 2010, MIT Press, Linguistic Inquiry Monograph 54.  Review by Anders Holmberg in Language.  Link to The MIT Press.  Link to MIT News.  Link to Google Books.

 

 

Awards & Fellowships

 

2015
Finalist for the Japan Prize (NHK sponsored) for Visualizing Japan. MITx/HarvardX MOOC    
2013-2015
60th Anniversary Professor, International Christian University, Tokyo
2012
President's Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence, Board of Directors, Global OpenCourseWare Consortium
2004
MIT Class of 1960 Innovation in Education Award (with John W. Dower)     
2002
Named one of twenty national “Shapers of the Future” by the educational technology magazine Converge
2000
Distinguished Award, Multimedia Grandprix 2000 (Japan), StarFestival Network         
1997
Best of Show, for Star Festival, MacWorld Exposition, Boston, Massachusetts (presented by the Northeast Mac Conspiracy)                    
1995
Irwin Sizer Award, For the Most Significant Improvement to MIT Education        
1982-83
National Institute of Mental Health, Individual National Research Service Award (used for postdoctoral study in linguistics at MIT)                
1982-83
Postdoctoral Fellow in Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

If you share money, it disappears
But if you share knowledge, it increases.
— Chuck Vest

Publications

 

Books and Monographs

 

Agreement Beyond Phi, Linguistic Inquiry Monograph, MIT Press, In press. Link to pre-copyedited Chapter 1.

Case, Argument Structure, and Word Order. Leading Linguists Series. Routledge. 2012. Review by Stella Markantonatou in Linguist. YouTube Video of Chapter 10.

Why Agree? Why Move? Unifying Agreement-based and Discourse Configurational Languages. 2010, MIT Press, Linguistic Inquiry Monograph 54.   Review by Anders Holmberg in Language.  Link to The MIT Press.   Link to MIT News.  Link to Google Books.

Oxford Handbook of Japanese Linguistics, Oxford University Press, 2008 (edited with Mamoru Saito)

Historical Development of the Accusative Case Marking in Japanese as Seen in Classical Literary Texts, special issue of Journal of Japanese Linguistics, vol. 19, 105 pp., 2003 (with Fusae Ekida).

Structure and Case Marking in Japanese, Academic Press, 259 pp., 1989.

Studies in Japanese Language Use: Papers in Linguistics Monograph Series, Alberta, Canada, co-edited with Chisato Kitagawa, 1984.

Complex Verbs and the Lexicon, Coyote Papers, Vol. I, University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 1981 (1980 University of Arizona doctoral dissertation).

 

Articles

 

"The precedence of syntax in the rapid emergence of human language in evolution as defined by the integration hypothesis. Frontiers in Psychology. 18 March 2015 (with Vitor A. Nóbrega). Article.

"The integration hypothesis of human language evolution and the nature of contemporary languages," Frontiers in Psychology. June 2014 (with S. Ojima, R. Berwick, K. Okanoya).

"Surprising agreements at T and C," Ms., July 2012/March 2013.

"A feature-inheritance approach to root phenomena and parametric variation," Ms., March 2013 (with Angel Jimenez-Fernandez). Link to manuscript.

"Strong uniformity and ga/no conversion," in press, English Linguistics, the journal of the English Linguistics Society of Japan. Ms. date, August 2012.

"The emergence of hierarchical structure in human language." Front. Psychol. 4:71. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00071. February 2013 (with R. Berwick and Kazuo Okanoya).

"Agreements that occur mainly in the main clause." Main Clause Phenomena: New Horizons, Lobke Aelbrecht, Liliane Haegeman, Rachel Nye (eds), 79-111. John Benjamins. 2012. Link to manuscript.

"Genitive of depedent tense in Japanese and its correlation to genitive of negation in Slavic." In Case, Argument Structure, and Word Order, Leading Linguists Series, Routledge. 2012. Ms. date: July 2011. Link to manuscript.

"The Old Japanese accusative revisited: Realizing all the universal options." In Case, Argument Structure, and Word Order, Leading Linguists Series, Routledge. 2012. Ms. date: July 2011. Link to manuscript.

"Telicity, numeral quantifier stranding, and quantifier scope." To appear in
Case, Argument Structure, and Word Order, Leading Linguists Series, Routledge. 2012. Ms. date: July 2011. Link to manuscript.

"Nominalization and argument structure: evidence for the dual-base analysis
of ditransitive constructions in Japanese." In Case, Argument Structure, and Word Order, Leading Linguists Series, Routledge. 2012. Ms. date: November 2010. Link to manuscript.

"Optionality," The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Minimalism, ed.
Cedrix Boeckx, Oxford UP (completed in November 2008). 2011, pp. 354-376. Link to article.

"Genitive subjects in Altaic and Specification of Phase," in a special Lingua volume edited by Jaklin Kornfilt and John Whitman. The date of the ms. is 6/28/09. 2011 Vol 121, pp. 1265-1282. Link to manuscript.

"Blocking and causatives: unexpected competition across derivations," Proceedings of Formal Approaches to Japanese Linguistics 5, MITWPL, 2010. Link to manuscript.

"Nominalization and Argument Structure," 2009, English translation of a Japanese article published in a volume by Kurosio. Link to paper.

"Genitive Subjects in Altaic," 2008. In: Ulutas, S., Boeckx, C. (Eds.), Proceedings of the Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics (WAFL4), MITWPL 56, Cambridge, Mass., pp. 181-198.MITWPL. Link to manuscript.

"Locality in Syntax and Floated Numeral Quantifiers," 2007,
Linguistic Inquiry 38:645-670 (with Koji Arikawa). Link to article.

"On the ‘undoing’ nature of scrambling: a response to Bošković,” 2006, Linguistic Inquiry 37:607-624. Link to article.

"Moving to the edge." Proceedings of the KALS-KASELL International Conference on English and Linguistics, pp. 3-18. Pusan National University, Busan, Korea. June 2006. Link to article.

Locality in syntax and floated numeral quantifiers." Manuscript, April 2005. With Koji Arikawa. "Locality in syntax and floated numeral quantifiers in Japanese and Korean." In Proceedings of the 14 th Japanese/Korean Linguistics , ed. by Timothy J. Vance and Kimberly Jones, 270-282. CSLI Publications, Stanford, California. 2006. Link to article.

Miyagawa, Shigeru. 2007 (written in 2004/2005). Unifying agreement and agreementless languages. In Meltem Kelepir and Balkiz Öztürk, eds., MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 54: Proceedings of the Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics II , 47-66. Cambridge, MA: MITWPL. Link to article.

"EPP and Semantically Vacuous Scrambling," Joachim Sabel and Mamoru Saito, eds., The Free Word Order Phenomenon: Its Syntactic Sources and Diversity, 181-220. Mouton de Gruyter. 2005. Link to article.

"On the EPP," Martha McGinnis and Norvin Richards, eds., Perspective on Phases, 201-236. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, 2005. Link to article.

"On Weak Islands," 2004 MIT manuscript. Link to manuscript.

Martha McGinnis and Norvin Richards, eds. Perspective on Phases, 201-236. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, 2005. Link to article. "A-chain Maturation Re-examined: Why Japanese Children Perform Better on "Full" Unaccusatives than on Passives," Andrea Gualmini, et al, eds., MIT Working Papers on Linguistics, to appear in Fall 2004 (with Nanako Machida and Ken Wexler). Link to manuscript.

"Decomposing Ditransitive Verbs," Proceedings of SICGG, 101-120. Summer 2004 (with Yeun-Jin Jung). Link to article.

"The EPP, Unaccusativity, and the Resultative Constructions in Japanese," Scientific Approaches to Language No. 3, Center for Language Sciences, Kanda University of International Studies, Kanda, Japan. April 2004 (with Maria Babyonyshev). Link to article.

"Wh-in-situ and Scrambling in the Context of Comparative Altaic Syntax," Proceedings of the First Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics, MIT Working Papers in Linguistics. Spring 2004. Link to article.

"Argument Structure and Ditransitive Verbs in Japanese," Journal of East Asian Linguistics, 1-38. 2004 (with Takae Tsujioka). Link to article.

"A-movement Scrambling and Options Without Optionality," Word Order and Scrambling, 177-200. Simin Karimi, ed., Blackwell Publishers, 2003. Link to manuscript.

"MIT’s OpenCourseWare Initiative: A Case Study in Institutional Decision-Making," Academe Vol.88 No6, 23-27 (Journal of AAUP), with Steve Lerman. 2002. Link to article.

"Personal Media," Technos Quarterly, 2002. Link to article.

"Causatives," Natsuko Tsujimura, ed., The Handbook of Japanese Linguistics, Blackwell, pp. 236-268, 2001.

"EPP, Scrambling, and Wh-in-situ," Ken Hale: A Life in Language. Michael Kenstowicz, ed., MIT Press, 2001, pp. 293-338. Link to article.

"Attachment and Japanese Relative Clause," Journal of Language Processing (with Edson Miyamoto, Ted Gibson, and Takako Aikawa) 2000.

"Light Verb Make and the Notion of Cause," Festrischft for Kazuko Inoue, 2000.

"Nominative Case Ga in Acquisition," Proceedings of the BU Conference on Language Acquisition (with Edson Miyamoto, Ken Wexler, and Takako Aikawa) 2000.

"(S)ase as an Elsewhere Causative and the Syntactic Nature of Words," Journal of Japanese Linguistics, 1998 (accepted in 1995). Link to article.

"Against Optional Scrambling," Linguistic Inquiry 28.1, Winter 1997, pp. 1-25.

"Word Order Restrictions and Nonconfigurationality," Proceedings of Formal Approaches to Japanese Linguistics 2, MITWPL, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT, 1996, pp. 117-142. Link to article.

"JP NET: Building a Virtual Global Community of Japanese Specialists," Proceedings of the Association of Teachers of Japanese Conference at Georgetown, Association of Teachers of Japanese, Middlebury College, 1995 (with Tomoko Graham and Anne LaVin).

"Scrambling as an Obligatory Movement," Proceedings of the Nanzan Conference on Japanese Linguistics and Language Teaching, 1995.

"(S)ase as an Elsewhere Causative," Program of the Conference on Theoretical Linguistics and Japanese Language Teaching, Tsuda University, 1994, pp. 61-76.

"Case, Agreement, and Ga/No Conversion in Japanese," Proceedings of the San Diego State University Japanese/Korean Linguistic Conference, 1993, pp. 221-235.

"LF Case-checking and Minimal Link Condition," MIT Working Papers in Linguistics, 1993, pp. 213-254. Link to article.

"Transitivity and Case Marking" (review article of Wesley Jacobsenís The Transitive Structure of Events in Japanese), Journal of Association of Teachers of Japanese, 1993.

"Case Realization and Scrambling," Ms., Ohio State University, 1991. Link to article.

"Kara and Node: Extending the Study Based on Phenomenal and Structural Knowledge." Proceedings of the Middlebury Conference on Japanese Linguistics and Language Teaching, 1991.

"The Logic of kara and node," in C. Georgepolis and R. Ishihara, eds., Interdisciplinary Approach to Language: In Honor of S.-Y. Kuroda. Reidel, 1991.

"Light Verbs and the Ergative Hypothesis," Linguistic Inquiry 20.4, 1989, pp. 659-668.

"NP Movement in Japanese." Ms. Hajime Hoji (USC), Shigeru Miyagawa (Ohio State), Hiroaki Tada. 1989 (USC). Link to article.

"Predication and Numeral Quantifier," in W. Poser, ed., Proceedings of the Second Japanese Syntax Workshop, pp. 157-192, Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, 1988.

"Shiekikei to Goi-bumon," (Causative forms and the Lexicon), in S. Kuno and M. Shibatani, eds., Nihongogaku no Shintenkai (New directions in Japanese Linguistics), Kuroshio Shuppan, 1988.

"Unaccusative Verbs in Japanese," Proceedings of the Eastern States Conference on Linguistics 4, 1988, pp. 199-220.

"Theme Subjects and Numeral Quantifiers," in W. Tawa and N. Nakayama, eds., pp. 132-167, Proceedings of the Japanese Syntax Workshop, Connecticut College, 1987.

"Lexical Categories in Japanese," Lingua 73, 1987, pp. 29-51.

"LF Affix Raising in Japanese," Linguistic Inquiry 18, 1987, pp. 362-367.

"Restructuring in Japanese," in T. Imai and M. Saito, eds., Issues in Japanese Linguistics, Foris Publications, 1987, pp 273-300.

"Wh Phrase and Wa," in John Hinds et al, eds., Perspectives on Topicalization: Studies on the Japanese Wa, Benjamin Press, 1987, pp. 185-217.

"Historical Development of the Accusative Case in Japanese (with Setsuko Matsunaga), " Journal of Asian Culture, UCLA Vol. 8, 1986, pp. 87-101.

"Verb Classes in English and Japanese: A Case Study in the Interaction of Syntax, Morphology, and Semantics," (with Naoki Fukui and Carol Tenney), Lexicon Project Working Papers 7, Center for Cognitive Science, MIT, 1985, pp. 87-101.

"Blocking and Japanese Causatives," Lingua 64, 1984, pp. 177-207.

"Pragmatics of Causation in Japanese," Studies in Japanese Language Use, S. Miyagawa and C. Kitagawa, eds., 1984, pp. 147-184.

"Requesting in Japanese," Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese 17, 1984, pp. 123-143.

"Self-Sustaining Dialect: A Model for Second Language Teaching (with Galal Walker)," Proceedings of the XIIIth International Congress of Linguists, S. Hattori, ed., Tokyo, 1983, pp. 1136-1138.

"Paradigmatic Structures and Word Formation," Coyote Papers 2, University of Arizona Linguistics Circle, 1982, pp. 145-162.

 

Linguistic theory should tell us how languages are the same, and in what ways they can be different.
— Shigeru Miyagawa
20140916-squarespace-1555-blur.jpg

MIT News - February 23, 2012 "Unique languages, universal patterns." To the chagrin of anyone who knows one of these languages but not the other, English and Japanese appear to be frustratingly different tongues governed by drastically different rules.

 
The sounds uttered by birds offer in several respects the nearest analogy to language.
— Charles Darwin