Conference proceedings/Working papers (peer-reviewed) 

An abridged version can be found on my academic webpage

The following papers were peer-reviewed and published in conference proceedings/working papers by institutions at which I had presented my work. Synopses and downloadable copies are listed in reverse chronological order:  


'Differential Object Marking: Nominal and Verbal Parameters’. Poster presentation at the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) Annual Meeting, Hilton New Orleans Riverside, New Orleans, Louisiana, 2nd January 2020. 

While the robust cross-linguistic distribution of Differential Object Marking (DOM) indicates linguistic and cognitive universals in denoting nominal and verbal markedness, the different diachronic pathways in its genesis reveal subtle microvariations in the mechanisms underlying DOM, as shown in a comparison between Latin/Romance preposition ad and Chinese co-verb ba (把), the former being more nominally-driven and the latter more verbally-driven. 


Abstract downloadable here:  

Proceedings paper downloadable: 


'Formation of Chinese clefts: microparametric 'lateral' grammaticalization’. Poster presentation at the Third Buckeye East Asian Linguistics Forum (BEAL-3), Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States, 22nd October 2018. 

A formal analysis of the typology of cleft structures in Chinese dialects reveals some common similarities, namely the use of the copula in assigning focus which accords with the cross-linguistic distribution of it-clefts/pseudo-clefts, as well as some microvariations which give rise to different forms of clefts in different areas of the Sinosphere.  

Abstract downloadable here:  

Poster downloadable here: 

Proceedings paper downloadable here: 

Keith Tse


I shall never forget the day I received notification from the University of Geneva informing me that my paper had been accepted for publication in their working papers (2012). It was my first publication and it was nice to gain some visibility in my field (and beyond). As my seniors tell me that publications are the key to academic success, one has to keep publishing, publishing, and publishing. Roll on the next paper! 


‘Chinese ba: grammaticalization, ‘lateral’ grammaticalization and Case theory’, in Proceedings of the Twenty-Fifth North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-25)​University of Michigan, published by Ohio State University. 

'Lateral' grammaticalization (Chinese de and shi) is similar to yet different from grammaticalization in Minimalism, since while both involve 'structural simplification', the latter displays 'phonological weakening', 'univerbation' and 'semantic bleaching' which the former does not (Tse (2013a, b)). There is another functional category which is not analysed in Roberts and Roussou's (2003) Minimalist account of grammaticalization, namely K(case), which is postulated to represented morphological case (van Kemenade and Vincent (1997:18-21)). An analysis of case-markers (K) in Chinese (ba) suggests that they are 'laterally' grammaticalized, which is significant for Chinese and modern Case theory since it entails that K(case) is not universal and cannot be equated with abstract Case.

Abstract downloadable here: 

Published proceedings paper downloadable here:  


‘What is ‘lateral’ grammaticalization?’, in Languages at the University of Essex (LangUE), Proceedings for LangUE 2012, pp. 98-110.

Simpson and Wu (2002) and Wu’s (2004) ‘lateral grammaticalization’ is a Minimalist analysis of Chinese de, which has been re-analysed from a determiner (D) to a verbal suffix (T). Roberts and Roussou (2003) and van Gelderen (2011) deal with grammaticalization within Minimalism, though neither take ‘lateral grammaticalization’ into account (Vincent and Borjars (2010:293)). A comparison between these accounts reveals that Roberts and Roussou’s (2003) and van Gelderen’s (2011) ‘feature economy’ also accounts for the cross-linguistic distribution of ‘lateral grammaticalization’, which is the main theoretical thrust of their accounts (Roberts and Roussou (2003:2-7), van Gelderen (2011:4-17)). However, the lack of ‘upward feature analysis’ (Roberts and Roussou (2003:200)) in ‘lateral grammaticalization’ sets it formally apart from grammaticalization, and this ties in empirically with the lack of ‘phonological weakening’, ‘univerbation’ and ‘semantic bleaching’ in ‘lateral grammaticalization’ when these are the diagnostic traits of grammaticalization (Campbell (2001), Roberts and Roussou (2003:224-232)). All this entails some significant revisions to Minimalism as a model for grammaticalization and ‘lateral grammaticalization’, the former of which involves an upward shift of features while the latter involves a re-analysis of features from pragmatics.

Abstract downloadable here:  

Paper downloadable here:  

Full volume downloadable here: 

‘K(case)Ps: ‘configurationality’ and ‘structural simplification’, in Languages at the University of Essex (LangUE), Proceedings for LangUE 2012, pp. 85-97. 

Roberts and Roussou (2003) analyse grammaticalization within Minimalism, and Ledgeway (2011a, 2011b) deals with grammaticalization in Latin/Romance, also within Minimalism. Neither of them analyses the grammaticalization of KPs (case-markers) and so this is the theme of this paper. The grammaticalization of two very important Latin/Romance KPs (de marking genitive, ad marking dative) indeed conforms to both Robert & Roussou’s and Ledgeway’s hypotheses, since they originate from Latin PPs (de denoting separation, ad denoting direction), and within X’-theory complements (e.g. KPs) are ‘simpler’ than adjuncts (e.g. PPs) in that the former require fewer feature place-holders than the latter (Robert & Roussou (2003:106)), and so by Roberts & Roussou’s (2003:200-201) ‘structural simplification’ (reduction of ‘feature syncretisms’) PPs are grammaticalized as KPs. Robert & Roussou’s ‘structural simplification’ assumes configurationality and can only occur in configurational syntax, and so configurationality is a prerequisite for grammaticalization in Minimalism, which conforms to Ledgeway’s argument (2011a:405-434)) that the key syntactic change from Latin to Romance is the rise of configurationality, which gives rise to functional categories in Romance (Ledgeway (2011a:409)). Finally, as configurationality is a controversial notion, alternative scenarios are considered in the appendix where configurationality no longer has explanatory value, and ‘re-analysis’ is argued to be the key to understanding grammaticalization, since it is in itself sufficient to explain grammaticalization, with or without configurationality.

Abstract downloadable here:  

Paper downloadable here:  

Full volume downloadable here: 


'Grammaticalization and ‘lateral’ grammaticalization, formalism and functionalism’, in Working papers of the University of Geneva, GG@G, SWIGG 12, pp. 95-115. 

Roberts and Roussou (2003) and van Gelderen (2011) analyse grammaticalization in Minimalism and argue that it involves ‘structural simplification’, which explains its cross-linguistic distribution. Simpson and Wu (2002) analyse ‘lateral’ grammaticalization, also within Minimalism. Vincent and Borjars (V & B) (2010) argue that the latter is problematic for R & R and van Gelderen’s hypotheses, since it does not display an ‘upward shift of features’, yet I argue in this paper that it actually fits into their definitions of ‘structural simplification’ since Agree relations are lost in the process. Furthermore, the lack of ‘upward shift of features’ in ‘lateral’ grammaticalization correlates with the empirical differences, namely ‘phonological weakening’, ‘univerbation’ and ‘semantic bleaching’, all of which occur in grammaticalization but not in ‘lateral’ grammaticalization. Finally, V & B (2010) argue that formalism and functionalism are not mutually exclusive, which can be verified by examining the cross-linguistic examples of both grammaticalization and ‘lateral’ grammaticalization, since while they all undergo ‘structural simplification’, their ‘cues’ are also strikingly similar.

Abstract downloadable here:  

Paper downloadable here: 

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© Keith Tse (2015-) 

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London, United Kingdom