Audrey Li

Professor of Linguistics
Pronouns She / Her / Hers Email Office GFS 339 Office Phone (213) 740-2986

Research & Practice Areas

Syntax, Chinese language and linguistics


  • Ph.D. , University of Southern California
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Professor, University of Southern California, 01/01/2001 –
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Yen-hui Audrey Li, Ph.D. (University of Southern California).
    Audrey Li is interested in the structural properties of natural languages: how and why human languages are the way they are and how and why languages differ in the way they do. The theme of her works is that languages differ in a principled and systematic manner. Meaningful cross-linguistic comparison is based on in-depth investigation of individual languages. The topics of her research include the issues related to constituency and order at the sentential and nominal level, the interpretive mechanisms in universal grammar and the well-formedness conditions on the interpretation and spell-out of syntactic structures, constraints and interpretations of ellipsis structures, interaction between grammar and prosody. The data have been mainly drawn from English and East Asian languages from a comparative perspective.
    Li is also interested in the issues regarding language acquisition and pedagogical implications.

    Research Keywords

    syntax, Chinese language and linguistics, order and constituency, scope, syntax and prosody, quantification, ellipsis, complex sentences.

  • Book

    • Li, Yen-Hui Audrey, Andrew Simpson and Dylan Tsai (Ed.). (2015). Chinese Syntax in a Cross-linguistic Perspective. Oxford University Press.
    • James Huang, Audrey Li and Andrew Simpson (Ed.). (2014). The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Chinese Linguistics. Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell Publisher. PubMed Web Address
    • Huang, J., Li, Y. A., Li, Y. (2009). The Syntax of Chinese. Cambridge,: Cambridge University Press.
    • Simpson, A. A., Li, Y. (2003). Functional Structure(s), Form and Interpretation: Perspectives from Asian Languages. Routledge-Curzon.
    • Li, Y. A., Aoun, J. (2003). Essays on the representational and derivational nature of grammar: the diversity of wh-constructions.
    • Li, Y. A., Humphries, J., Wei, C. (2000). Ultimate Chinese, Living Languages.
    • James Huang, Yen-Hui Audrey Li (Ed.). (1996). New Horizons in Chinese Linguistics. Dordrecht: Kluwer Publishers.
    • Li, Y. A., Aoun, J. (1993). Syntax of Scope.
    • Li, Y. A. (1990). Order and Constituency in Mandarin Chinese.

    Book Chapter

    • Li, Y. A. (2016). Facilitating language learning: a generative perspective. Integrating Chinese Linguistic Research and Langua pp. 33-58. John Benjamins.
    • Li, Y. A. (2016). Verb Phrases. Chinese Reference Grammar pp. 81-115. Cambridge University Press.
    • Li, Y. A. (2015). Analyses and syntheses: objects. Chinese Syntax in a Comparative Perspective pp. 179-206. Oxford University Press.
    • Barrie, M., Li, Y. A. (2015). The Semantics of (Pseudo) Incorporation and Case. Syntax & Semantics, Vol. 40. The Syntax and Seman pp. 159-188. Brill Publishers.
    • Li, Y. A., Wei, T. (2014). Ellipsis. the Wiley-Blackwell Handbook on Chinese Linguistic Wiley-Blackwell.
    • Li, Y. A. (2014). Quantification. the Wiley-Blackwell Handbook on Chinese Linguistic Wiley-Blackwell.
    • Li, Y. A. (2013). Case, Tense and Clauses. Breaking down the Barriers: Interdisciplinary Stud
    • Li, Y. A. (2012). Noun incorporation and non-canonical objects. West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics 30 Cascadilla Press.
    • Li, Y. A. (2011). Looking into clauses. Current Issues in Chinese Linguistics London: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
    • Li, Y. A. (2009). Case, Tense and Clauses. the Festschrift Alain Peyraube Taipei: Academia Sinica.
    • Aoun, J., Li, Y. (2008). Ellipsis and missing objects. pp. 251-274. MIT Press, Cambridge: Foundational Issues in Linguistic Theory/MIT Press.
    • Li, Y. A. (2006). Chinese ba. pp. 374-468. Malden, Mass: Blackwell.

    Encyclopedia Article

    • Li, Y. A. (2016). The Disposal Construction. (Rint Sybesma et al., Ed.). Leiden: Brill.

    Journal Article

    • Li, Y. A., Wei, W. (2019). Microparameters and Language Variation. Glossa. Vol. 4 (1), pp. 1–34.
    • Li, Y. A., Feng, S. (2018). “Variations in the Role of Stress and Focus Marking in Tonal Languages: Evidence from Chinese [Num + Cl + de + NP] Expressions. Studies in Prosodic Grammar. Vol. 3 (2), pp. 1-31.
    • Wei, W., Li, Y. A. (2018). Adverbial Clauses in Mandarin Chinese, Part 1: Preverbal adverbial PPs and clauses. Linguistic Analysis. Vol. 42 (1-2), pp. 163-234.
    • Wei, W., Li, Y. A. (2018). Adverbial Clauses in Mandarin Chinese, Part 2. Ordering and syntax-discourse-prosody interface. Linguistic Analysis. Vol. 42 (1-2), pp. 235-298.
    • Wei, W., Li, Y. A. (2018). Adverbial Clauses in Mandarin Chinese, Part 3. Postverbal purpose clauses – complementation vs. adjunction. Linguistic Analysis. Vol. 42 (1-2), pp. 299-330.
    • Li, Y. A., Wei, T. (2017). Sluicing, Sprouting and Missing Objects. Studies in Chinese Linguistics. Vol. 38 (2), pp. 63-92.
    • Li, Y. A., Wei, W. (2016). Formal linguistics and language learning. Foreign Language Teaching and Research. Vol. 48 (5), pp. 707-719.
    • Wei, T., Li, Y. A. (2016). How to do so in Chinese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics. Vol. 25 (2), pp. 183-212.
    • Li, Y. A. (2016). Waltraud Paul. 2015. New Perspectives on Chinese Syntax. Glossa. pp. 18 pages.
    • Li, Y. A., Feng, S. (2015). The prosodic conditions on the deletion of ‘one’. Linguistic Sciences. Vol. 14 (1), pp. 1-12.
    • Li, Y. A. (2014). Born Empty. Lingua. (151), pp. 43-68.
    • Li, Y. A. (2014). Thematic Hierarchy and Derivational Economy. Language and Linguistics. Vol. 15 (3), pp. 295-339.
    • Li, Y. A. (2014). Structure of Noun Phrases – Left or Right?. Taiwan Journal of Linguistics. Vol. 12 (2), pp. 1-32.
    • Li, Y. A. (2013). P-insertion and Ellipsis. Studies in Chinese Linguistics. Vol. 34 (2), pp. 99-128. PubMed Web Address
    • Li, Y. A. (2013). Formal Linguistics and ‘the Best Practices’ of Language Instruction. Journal of Chinese Language Teaching. Vol. 10 (2), pp. 1-38.
    • Li, Y. A. (2012). The structure of Mandarin nominal phrases: from the perspective of the MinNan modification marker. Shanghai Education Publisher (Shanghai Jiaoyu Chubanshe). Vol. 11, pp. 82-92.
    • Li, Y. A. (2012). Mandarin de ? Taiwanese e. Studies in Chinese Linguistics. Vol. 33 (1), pp. 17-40. PubMed Web Address
    • Li, Y. A. (2011). Non-canonical objects and case. Korea Journal of Chinese Language and Literature. Vol. 1 (1), pp. 21-51.
    • Ke, C., Li, Y. A. (2011). Chinese as a foreign language. Journal of Chinese Linguistics. Vol. 39 (1), pp. 177-238.
    • Li, Y. A. (2008). Theories of phrase structures and DE as a head. Contemporary Linguistics, Academy of Social Sciences. (2), pp. 97-108.
    • Li, Y. A. (2007). Beyond empty categories. Bulletin of the Chinese Linguistic Society of Japan. (254), pp. 74-106.
    • Li, Y. A. (2007). Theories of empty categories and Chinese null elements. Linguistic Sciences. Vol. 6, pp. 37-47.


    • Li, Y. A. (2018). Argument ellipsis and structures of noun phrases. pp. 195-214. Chicago. the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. University of Chicago.