Contact Info

Christopher Michael Davis

University of the Ryukyus
Faculty of Law and Letters

1 Senbaru, Nishihara
Okinawa, Japan 903-0213

Phone: +81-90-6905-8858
Email: cmdavis AT ll DOT u-ryukyu DOT ac DOT jp



April 2014 – present, Associate Professor (tenured), Faculty of Law and Letters, University of the Ryukyus.

April 2012 – March 2014, Assistant Professor (tenured), Faculty of Law and Letters, University of the Ryukyus.

June 2011 – April 2012, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Research Fellow, Kyoto University.


PhD, Linguistics, University of Massachusetts Amherst, May 2011.

BA, Highest Honors and Departmental Honors, Linguistics and Japanese, University of Texas at Austin, 2004.


2011. Constraining Interpretation: Sentence Final Particles in Japanese. Department of Linguistics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Primary advisor: Christopher Potts. Committee members: Angelika Kratzer, John Kingston, Adrian Staub.


Eric McCready and Christopher Davis. Forthcoming. Sentence-final particles: marking the territory of information. To appear as a chapter in Handbook of Japanese Semantics and Pragmatics, Wesley M. Jacobsen and Yukinori Takubo (eds.), Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.

Christopher Davis. 2017. 八重山語・宮良言葉:記述文法と学習資料に向けた形容詞の記述. In 文化庁委託事業「危機的な状況にある言語・方言のアーカイブ化を想定した実地調査研究」(奄美方言・国頭方言・沖縄方言・八重山方言)」報告書.

Christopher Davis and Eric McCready. 2016. Expressives in questions. In Mary Moroney, Carol-Rose Little, Jacob Collard, and Dan Burgdorf (eds.), Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 26, 753-772: LSA and CLC Publications.

Christopher Davis. 2015. Plurality and distributivity in Yaeyaman wh-questions. In Sarah D’Antonio, Mary Moroney, and Carol-Rose Little (eds.), Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 25, 636-655: LSA and CLC Publications.

Christopher Davis and Daniel Gutzmann. 2015. Use-conditional meaning and the semantics of pragmaticalization. In Eva Csipak and Hedde Zeijlstra (eds.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 19, 197-213: Göttingen.

Christopher Davis and Tyler Lau. 2015. Tense, Aspect, and Mood in Miyara Yaeyaman. In Handbook of the Ryukyuan Languages, Patrick Heinrich, Yukinori Takubo, and Michinori Shimoji (eds.), Ch.11, 253-297. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.

Tyler Lau and Christopher Davis. 2014. Phonological Reduction and the (Re)Emergence of Attributive Forms in Ryukyuan. In Theodore Levin, Ryo Masuda, and Michael Kenstowicz (eds.), Japanese/Korean Linguistics 23, 291–306: CSLI Publications.

Christopher Davis and Yurie Hara. 2014. Evidentiality as a Causal Relation: A Case Study from Japanese youda. In Christopher Piñón (ed.), Empirical Issues in Syntax and Semantics 10, 179-196.

Christopher Davis. 2014. The Role of Focus Particles in Wh-Interrogatives: Evidence from a Southern Ryukyuan Language. In Robert E. Santana-LaBarge (ed.), Proceedings of the 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, 124–133: Cascadilla.

Christopher Davis. 2014. 沖縄県宮良方言 Okinawaken miyarahougen [The Miyara dialect of Okinawa prefecture]. In 危機的な状況にある言語・方言の実態に関する調査研究(八丈方言、国頭方言、沖縄方言、八重山方言)Kikitekina joukyou ni aru gengo/hougen no jittai ni kansuru chousakenkyuu (hachijouhougen, kunigamihougen, okinawahougen, yaeyamahougen) [Field research on the conditions of endangered languages and dialects (Hachijou, Kunigami, Okinawa, Yaeyama)].

Christopher Davis. 2013. Surface Position and Focus Domain of the Ryukyuan Focus Particle du: Evidence from Miyara Yaeyaman. International Journal of Okinawan Studies 4(1):29–49 (Special Issue on Ryukyuan Languages).

Christopher Davis. 2013. 八重山語宮良方言における「どぅ」の統語上の位置と意味範囲 Yaeyamago Miyarahougen ni okeru du no tougojou no ichi to imihan’i [Syntactic position and semantic domain of the particle du in Miyara Yaeyaman]. In 琉球諸語と古代日本語に関する比較言語学的研究 Ryuukyuushogo to kodai nihongo ni kansuru hikakugengogakuteki kenkyuu [Comparative Linguistic Research on Ryukyuan Languages and Old Japanese].

Yurie Hara and Christopher Davis. 2013. Darou as a deictic context shifter. In Kazuko Yatsushiro and Uli Sauerland (eds.), Formal Approaches to Japanese Linguistics 6, 41–56. MITWPL.

Christopher Davis and Christopher Potts. 2010. Affective demonstratives and the division of pragmatic labor. In Maria Aloni, Harald Bastiaanse, Tikitu de Jager, and Katrin Schulz, eds., Logic, Language, and Meaning: 17th Amsterdam Colloquium Revised Selected Papers, 42–52. Berlin: Springer.

Christopher Davis. 2010. Decision Theory and Discourse Particles: A Case Study from a Large Japanese Sentiment Corpus. In Ryo Otoguro, Kiyoshi Ishikawa, Hiroshi Umemoto, Kei Yoshimoto and Yasunari Harada (eds.), Proceedings of the 24th Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computation (PACLIC 24), 105–114.

Christopher Davis. 2009. Decisions, Dynamics, and the Japanese Particle yo. Journal of Semantics 26(4):329–366.

Noah Constant, Christopher Davis, Christopher Potts, and Florian Schwarz. 2009. The Pragmatics of Expressive Content: Evidence from Large Corpora. Sprache und Datenverarbeitung 33(1-2):5–22.

Christopher Potts, Luis-Alonso Ovalle, Ash Asudeh, Rajesh Bhatt, Seth Cable, Christopher Davis, Yurie Hara, Angelika Kratzer, Eric McCready, Tom Roeper, and Martin Walkow. 2009. Expressives and Identity Conditions. Linguistic Inquiry 40:356–366.

Christopher Davis, Christopher Potts, and Margaret Speas. 2007. The pragmatic values of evidential sentences. In Masayuki Gibson and Tova Friedman (eds.), Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory 17 (SALT 17), 71–88. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.


Refereed Conference Talks

October 2016. Evidentiality, maximize presupposition, and Gricean quality in Okinawan. NELS 47. UMass Amherst.

September 2016. Expressives are not presuppositions: Evidence from expressive wh-expressions. New Ideas in Semantics and Modelling 2016 (NISM 2016). EHESS, Paris. [with Eric McCready]

August 2016. The semantics of expressive and presuppositional features in wh-expressions. Theoretical Linguistics at Keio (TaLK). [with Eric McCready]

May 2016. Expressives and alternatives. Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 26. UT Austin. [with Eric McCready]

May 2015. Plurality and distributivity in Yaeyaman wh-questions. Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 25. Stanford University.

September 2014. Expressive Negation and the Semantics of Pragmaticalization. Sinn und Bedeutung 19. [Christopher Davis and Daniel Gutzmann]

October 2013. Phonological Reduction and the (Re)Emergence of Attributive Forms in Ryukyuan. Japanese/Korean Linguistics 23. [Tyler Lau and Christopher Davis]

October 2013. Building Rhetorical Questions in Japanese. Logic and Engineering of Natural Language Semantics 10 (LENLS 10).

July 2013. Focus Particles, GIVENness, and Wh-Questions in a Southern Ryukyuan Language. CIL Session 6: Semantics-pragmatics interfaces.

July 2013. Evidentiality, Expressivity and OT Pragmatics. CIL Workshop on Modality as a Window on Cognition. [Yurie Hara and Christopher Davis]

February 2013. The Role of Focus Particles in Wh-Interrogatives: Evidence from a Southern Ryukyuan Language. The 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics.

2010. Decision theory and discourse particles: a case study from a large Japanese sentiment corpus. 24th Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information, and Computation (PACLIC 24).

2008. Contexts, decisions, and the Japanese particle yo. Logic and Engineering of Natural Language 2008 (LENLS2008).

2007. Evidential marking, interrogatives, and the maxim of quality. Semantics and Linguistic Theory 17. UConn, May 11-13. [Christopher Davis, Christopher Potts and Margaret Speas].

2007. The Japanese discourse particle yo: a lexical modifier of sentential strength. Georgetown University Roundtable on Language and Linguistics (GURT), Georgetown University.

Invited Talks and Colloquia

2016. Evidentials in Okinawan. The Semantics of African, Asian, and Austronesian Languages (TripleA) 3. July 7.

2016. Incorporating heritage languages in the classroom. Pan-SIG, Meio University. May 21.

2016. Tense, Aspect, and Evidentiality in Okinawan. The English Linguistic Society of Japan 9th International Spring Forum. Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, April 24.

2015. Reduplication and plurality in Yaeyama Ryukyuan questions. UH Manoa Tuesday Seminar, September 15.

2014. Contextual Relati
ons and Pragmatic Constraints. The 32nd Conference of The English Linguistic Society of Japan, Symposium on Discourse Expressions and Information Structure. Gakushuin University, November 8.

2013. The evolution of nidan verbs in Old Japanese and Ryukyuan. UH Manoa, September 20.

2013. Focus and interrogatives in Yaeyama Ryukyuan. UH Manoa Tuesday Seminar, September 17.

2012. The Focus Particle du in Ryukyuan. Georg-August-Universitat Goettingen, July 13.

2012. Focus and Interrogatives in Miyara Yaeyaman. 12th Korea-Japan Workshop on Linguistics and Language Processing, Kyung Hee University, Seoul Korea, March 24.

2012. Focus Particles and Interrogatives in a Southern Ryukyuan Language. City University of Hong Kong, March 5.

2012. Focus and Particles in Miyara Yaeyaman. Workshop on Formal Semantics, Kyoto University, March 2.

2011 Decomposing Rhetorical Questions. Semantics Research Group Meeting, Keio University, December 16.

2011. Building Rhetorical Interpretations: Evidence, Bias, and Update. Pre-JK Workshop on Evidentials and Modals, Seoul National University, October 19.

2010. Particle Pragmatics. Kyoto University, November 8.

2010. Scope and Prosody in the Japanese Contrastive Topic Construction. The 4th Workshop on Prosody, Syntax, and Information (WPSI), September 18.

2009. Sentence final particles and intonation in Japanese. The Fifth Workshop on Inferential Mechanisms and their Linguistic Manifestation, Kyoto University, July 19.

Other presentations

July 2016. Conventional and nonconventional content in expressives. Okinawan Semantics Workshop. Unviersity of the Ryukyus. [Christopher Davis and Eric McCready]

June 2015. Plural indeterminates in Yaeyaman. Semantics Research Group, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa.

July 2012. 八重山語宮良方言の助詞「du」について [On the particle du in Miyara Yaeyaman]. Okinawan Language Research Center, University of the Ryukyus, July 7.

December 2012. 八重山宮良焦点辞「du」の記述:文法と談話場面による分布 [Describing the focus particle du in Yaeyama Miyaran: Grammatical and contextual effects on distribution]. University of the Ryukyus. December 16.

September 2006. The Japanese particle yo as a marker of illocutionary strength. Southern New England Workshop on Semantics (SNEWS), Yale, September 30.

2006. Evidence against movement in Japanese relative clauses. ECO5 Workshop, MIT.

Data and Corpus Projects

UMass Amherst Linguistics Sentiment Corpora [Noah Constant, Christopher Davis, Christopher Potts, and Florian Schwarz]. Description: A set of large, multilingual [Chinese, English, German, and Japanese] sentiment corpora, derived from over 700,000 online product review sites. Publicly released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license.

Grants and Funded Research Projects

Principal Investigator, Interrogatives and the Focus Particle du in Yaeyaman, JSPS Project No 25770152. April 2013–March 2016.

Collaborating Researcher, Basic Research on the Grammatical Description of Ryukyuan and Hachijoan as Endangered Languages, JSPS Project No 24242014, April 2012–March 2015. PI: Shigehisa Karimata.

Collaborating Researcher, Endangered Dialects Project. National Institute for Japanese Language. PI: Nobuko Kibe.

External Investigator, The Interaction Among Clause Types, Discourse Markers, and Intonation. University of Hong Kong Project No. 9610227, June 2012–May 2013. PI: Yurie Hara.

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Project: Semantics and Prosody of Focus-sensitive Discourse Particles in Japanese, June 2011–April 2012.

Research Assistant to Christopher Potts, SUBTLE: Situation Understanding Bot Through Language and Environment. Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative, Army Research Office, January 2009–May 2010.

Research Assistant to Christopher Potts, Expressive Context and the Semantics of Contexts, June 2007–December 2007. NSF Grant No. BCS-0642752

Research Assistant to Margaret Speas and Tom Roeper, Epistemology and Indexicality in Navajo, Tibetan, and English, NSF Grant No. BCS-0527509, June 2006–August 2006.

Awards and Honors

2010. Departmental Dissertation Fellowship (UMass Amherst).
2007. Fellowship for LSA Summer Institute at Stanford
2003. University of Texas Distinguished Scholar
2002. Boren Scholarship for Study in Japan (National Security Education Program)
2002. Bridging Scholarship for Study in Japan (Association of Teachers of Japanese) 2002. Jacolyn Alexander Scholarship (UT Austin)

2002. Texas Wranglers Scholarship (UT Austin)


At the University of the Ryukyus

Semantics Seminar: Event Semantics (graduate, fall 2014)
Master’s Course in Semantics (graduate, spring 2014-2015) 
Seminar on English Grammar (undergraduate, fall 2014,2016)
Japanese-English Comparative Linguistics (undergraduate, spring 2013, fall 2014,2016)
English Semantics and Pragmatics (undergraduate, fall 2012-2013,2016, spring 2014-2015)
Seminar on English Linguistics (undergraduate, spring 2012)
Seminar on Regional Languages [Ryukyuan] (undergraduate, fall 2013,2015-2016)
Language and Communication 2: Meaning (undergraduate, fall 2012–2016)
Language and Communication 1: Syntax (undergraduate, spring 2015)

Foundations Course (undergraduate, spring 2013)
Advanced English Seminar 1 (undergraduate, spring 2012–2013)
Advanced English Seminar 2 (undergraduate, fall 2012–2013)
Writing 3 (undergraduate, spring 2014)
College English (undergraduate, spring 2012–2014,2016)
Advanced English Writing (undergraduate, fall 2012, spring 2016)
Oral Communication (undergraduate, fall 2012)
Writing 1 (undergraduate, spring 2012,2015) 

At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Introduction to Linguistic Theory (undergraduate, fall 2008, spring 2010, spring 2011)
People and Their Language (TA; Primary Instructor: Lisa Green; undergraduate, fall 2007)
Introduction to Linguistic Theory (TA; Primary Instructor: Kyle Johnson; undergraduate, fall 2006) 


Graduate Theses at the University of the Ryukyus

Matthew Topping (expected 2018)
“Toward a Grammatical Description of Ishigaki Yaeyaman”

Undergraduate Theses at the University of the Ryukyus

Natsuki Kinjo (2015)
Seiichirou Horikoshi (2015)

Service to the Field

Journal Refereeing

Journal of Semantics, Linguistics and Philosophy, Natural Language Semantics, Semantics & Pragmatics, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Language, Glossa, Snippets, International Journal of Okinawan Studies, Kyoto University Linguistics Research

Conference Refereeing

Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT), Sinn und Bedeutung, West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL), Logic and Engineering of Natural Language Semantics (LENLS), Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics (WAFL), Going Romance


Christopher Davis, Amy Rose Deal and Youri Zabbal, eds. 2006. NELS 36: Proceedings of the Thirty-Sixth Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society, Volumes 1 and 2. Amherst: GLSA.

Departmental Service

At the University of the Ryukyus

Undergraduate Academic Advisor, April 2013 – present
Student Affairs Committee Departmental Representative, April 2014 – March 2015
Hawai‘i Study Tour, Faculty Coordinator, Summer 2013, Summer 2015
Departmental Representative, April 2012 – April 2014
Overseas Educational Training Coordinator, 2012

Community Outreach

General public presentations

2012. 沖永良部・島ことば調査のつどい [A Get-Together for Island Language Investigations on Okinoerabu], Okinoerabu, December 5.

2012. 与論島・島ことば調査のつどい [A Get-Together for Island Language Investigations on Yoron], Yoron Island, December 2.

2012. 世界の中の琉球諸語 [A global perspective on Ryukyuan languages], Okinawa University, November 10.



English (Native)
Japanese (Fluent)
Yaeyaman (Research)
Okinawan (Basic)


LaTeX, ELAN, Praat, R Statistical Programming Language, Scripting (Python and Ruby)


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