Christopher Michael Davis (he/him)
University of the Ryukyus
Department of Global and Regional Studies
1 Senbaru, Nishihara
Okinawa, Japan 903-0213
April 2014 – present, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and Letters, University of the Ryukyus.
April 2012 – March 2014, Assistant Professor, 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.
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. 2011.
Christopher Davis. To appear. Deriving categorical and continuous properties of Javanese speech levels. Proceedings of Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA) 28.
Christopher Davis. 2020. Pragmatic constraints on subject-oriented honorifics in Yaeyaman and Japanese. In Joseph Rhyne, Kaelyn Lamp, Nicole Dreier, and Chloe Kwon (eds.), Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 30, 674-693: LSA and CLC Publications. https://doi.org/10.3765/salt.v30i0.4838
Elin McCready and Christopher Davis. 2020. Sentence-final particles: marking the territory of information. In Wesley M. Jacobsen and Yukinori Takubo (eds.), Handbook of Japanese Semantics and Pragmatics, 655-683. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. https://doi.org/10.1515/9781614512073-014
Christopher Davis and Elin McCready. 2020. The Instability of slurs. Grazer Philosophische Studien 97(1): 63-85. https://doi.org/10.1163/18756735-09701005
Christopher Davis. 2019. 沖縄県竹富町小浜島・八重山語小浜方言の動詞の活用について [Verbal conjugations in Kohama Yaeyaman]. 文化庁委託事業報告書「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」. 琉球大学島嶼地域科学研究所.
Elin McCready and Christopher Davis. 2017. An invocational theory of slurs. In Proceedings of LENLS14.
Christopher Davis. 2017. Evidentiality, maximize presupposition, and Gricean quality in Okinawan. In Andrew Lamont and Katerina Tetzloff (eds.) Proceedings of NELS 47, Volume 3, 229–242.
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 [A description of adjectives in Miyara Yaeyaman, aimed at a descriptive grammar and learning materials]. 文化庁委託事業報告書「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）」. 琉球大学国際沖縄研究所.
Christopher Davis and Elin 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. 2016. 八重山語宮良言葉による「桃太郎」の書き起こしと表記法 [Transcription and writing system for Miyara Yaeyaman based on the Momotaro story]. 文化庁委託事業報告書「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」. 琉球大学国際沖縄研究所.
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 Patrick Heinrich, Yukinori Takubo, and Michinori Shimoji (eds.), Handbook of the Ryukyuan Languages, 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 [The Miyara dialect of Okinawa prefecture]. 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）[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 [Syntactic position and semantic domain of the particle du in Miyara Yaeyaman]. 琉球諸語と古代日本語に関する比較言語学的研究 [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, Elin 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 (SALT) 17, 71–88. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.
Refereed Conference Talks and Posters
May 2021: Deriving categorical and continuous properties of Javanese speech levels. Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA) 28, McGill/NUS.
September 2020: The pragmatics of honorification: Evidence from Yaeyaman and Japanese. Japanese/Korean Linguistics (JK) 28, UCLan.
August 2020: Pragmatic constraints on subject-oriented honorifics in Yaeyaman and Japanese. Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 30, Cornell.
July 2018: Slurs as invocations. ICL20, Cape Town. [with Elin McCready]
November 2017: An invocational theory of slurs. LENLS14. University of Tsukuba. [with Elin McCready]
January 2017: Pragmatic competition and evidentiality in Okinawan. LSA Annual Meeting. University of Texas at Austin.
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 Elin McCready]
August 2016: The semantics of expressive and presuppositional features in wh-expressions. Theoretical Linguistics at Keio (TaLK). [with Elin McCready]
May 2016: Expressives and alternatives. Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) 26. UT Austin. [with Elin 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 22, 2013: Evidentiality, expressivity and OT pragmatics. CIL Workshop on Modality as a Window on Cognition. [Yurie Hara and Christopher Davis]
February 8, 2013: The role of focus particles in wh-interrogatives: Evidence from a Southern Ryukyuan language. The 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics.
November 6, 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).
May 2007: Evidential marking, interrogatives, and the Maxim of Quality. Semantics and Linguistic Theory 17. UConn. [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
March 18, 2021: Invocations, slurs, and social meaning. Linguistic Circle, University of Edinburgh. [with Elin McCready]
January 2019: The instability of slurs. Meaning and Reality in Social Context, Institute of European and American Studies, Academica Sinica, Taipei. [with Elin McCready]
May 4, 2018. Pragmatic competition and evidentiality in Okinawan. National Tsing Hua University.
September 5, 2017. Pragmatic competition and evidentiality in Okinawan. UH Manoa Tuesday Seminar.
July 7, 2016. Evidentials in Okinawan. The Semantics of African, Asian, and Austronesian Languages (TripleA) 3.
May 21, 2016. Incorporating heritage languages in the classroom. Pan-SIG, Meio University.
April 24, 2016. Tense, aspect, and evidentiality in Okinawan. The English Linguistic Society of Japan 9th International Spring Forum. Kobe City University of Foreign Studies.
September 15, 2015. Reduplication and plurality in Yaeyama Ryukyuan questions. UH Manoa Tuesday Seminar.
November 8, 2014. Contextual relations and pragmatic constraints. The 32nd Conference of The English Linguistic Society of Japan, Symposium on Discourse Expressions and Information Structure. Gakushuin University.
September 20, 2013. The evolution of nidan verbs in Old Japanese and Ryukyuan. UH Manoa.
September 17, 2013. Focus and interrogatives in Yaeyama Ryukyuan. UH Manoa Tuesday Seminar.
July 13, 2012. The focus particle du in Ryukyuan. Georg-August-Universitat Goettingen.
March 24, 2012. Focus and interrogatives in Miyara Yaeyaman. 12th Korea-Japan Workshop on Linguistics and Language Processing, Kyung Hee University, Seoul Korea.
March 5, 2012. Focus particles and interrogatives in a Southern Ryukyuan language. City University of Hong Kong.
March 2, 2012. Focus and particles in Miyara Yaeyaman. Workshop on Formal Semantics, Kyoto University.
December 16, 2011. Decomposing rhetorical questions. Semantics Research Group Meeting, Keio University.
October 19, 2011. Building rhetorical interpretations: Evidence, bias, and update. Pre-JK Workshop on Evidentials and Modals, Seoul National University.
November 8, 2010. Particle pragmatics. Kyoto University.
September 18, 2010. Scope and prosody in the Japanese contrastive topic construction. The 4th Workshop on Prosody, Syntax, and Information (WPSI).
July 19, 2009. Sentence final particles and intonation in Japanese. The Fifth Workshop on Inferential Mechanisms and their Linguistic Manifestation, Kyoto University.
April 23, 2021: Les emplois adversatifs des marqueurs exclusifs à travers les langues et en diachronie. 50 ANS DE LINGUISTIQUE À L’UQAM : Regards croisés sur les enjeux de la linguistique. [with Grégoire Winterstein]
September 23, 2019: Evidentiality, maximize presupposition, and Gricean quality in Okinawan. McGill.
July 2016: Conventional and nonconventional content in expressives. Okinawan Semantics Workshop. University of the Ryukyus. [with Elin McCready]
June 2015: Plural indeterminates in Yaeyaman. Semantics Research Group, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa.
July 7, 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.
December 16, 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.
September 30, 2006: The Japanese particle yo as a marker of illocutionary strength. Southern New England Workshop on Semantics (SNEWS), Yale.
March 4, 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 Investigatory, Comparative Semantics of Yaeyaman Verbal Morphology, JSPS Project No 18K12374. April 2018–March 2022
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: Social Meaning (graduate)
Semantics Seminar: Event Semantics (graduate)
Master’s Course in Semantics (graduate)
Field Methods (undergraduate) (Languages investigated: Polish, Indonesian, Javanese)
Seminar on English Grammar (undergraduate)
Japanese-English Comparative Linguistics (undergraduate)
English Semantics and Pragmatics (undergraduate)
Seminar on English Linguistics (undergraduate)
Seminar on Regional Languages [Ryukyuan] (undergraduate)
Language and Communication 2: Meaning (undergraduate)
Language and Communication 1: Syntax, Phonetics (undergraduate)
Foundations Course (undergraduate)
Japanese-English Translation (undergraduate)
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)
Masters Theses at the University of the Ryukyus
Matthew Topping (2018)
Topics in the Grammar of Sïka Yaeyama
Undergraduate Theses at the University of the Ryukyus
Natsuki Kinjo (2015)
Seiichirou Horikoshi (2015)
Journal of Semantics, Linguistics and Philosophy, Natural Language Semantics, Semantics & Pragmatics, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Language, Glossa, Journal of Linguistics, Snippets, International Journal of Okinawan Studies, Gengo Kenkyu, Kyoto University Linguistics Research
Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT), Sinn und Bedeutung, West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL), Logic and Engineering of Natural Language Semantics (LENLS), Japanese and Korean Linguistics (JK), The Semantics of African, Asian, and Austronesian Languages (TripleA), Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics (WAFL), Going Romance, Amsterdam Colloquium
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.
2019: Integrating Approaches to Social Meaning 2. European Summer School of Logic Language and Information, Riga. (co-organized with Elin McCready and Grégoire Winterstein)
2017: Integrating Approaches to Social Meaning. European Summer School of Logic Language and Information, Toulouse. (co-organized with Elin McCready and Grégoire Winterstein)
At the University of the Ryukyus
Undergraduate Academic Advisor, April 2013 – March 2017 Student Affairs Committee Departmental Representative, April 2014 – March 2015 Hawai‘i Study Tour, Faculty Coordinator, Summer 2013, Summer 2015, Summer 2017 Departmental Representative, April 2012 – April 2014 Overseas Educational Training Coordinator, 2012
Linguistics, meaning, and “endangered” languages. Podcast interview on Wonderlabs with Chris Richardson, September 29, 2019.
Ooritaboori. Miyara Yaeyaman language learning podcast, created with Madoka Hammine (9 episodes).
General Public Presentations
June 14, 2019: Prolegomon to a Linguistic Inquiry into the Grammar of Expletives (or, what “fucking” can teach us about language). Nerd Nite, Okinawa.
December 5, 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 2, 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.
November 10, 2012. 世界の中の琉球諸語 [A global perspective on Ryukyuan languages], Okinawa University.
LaTeX, ELAN, Praat, R Statistical Programming Language, Scripting (Python and Ruby)
NAUI advanced scuba diver
ASA safe boating and docking