Alan C. L. Yu

Faculty Photo
William Colvin Professor, Department of Linguistics and the College
-Chair, Linguistics Department-
Rosenwald 205F
Office Hours: Thursdays 1:00pm-2:00pm
(773) 627-6221
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2003
Teaching at UChicago since 2003
Research Interests: Laboratory and Theoretical Phonology, Language Variation and Change

Dr. Alan Yu is interested in questions related to language variation and change, particularly with regard to the so-called actuation problem: what causes the inception of language change, if the linguistic conditions favoring particular changes are always present? He approaches this question from the point of view of individual differences, focusing particularly on how differences in the socio- and neuro-cognitive make-ups lead to variability in perceptual and production norms across individuals and how such variability relates to socio-indexical factors. He has done extensive work on Cantonese and Washo, a Native American language spoken in California and Nevada. In his spare time, he also works on the morphology-phonology interface, his first love in linguistics.

Recent Publications


  • Yu, Alan C. L. 2007. A natural history of infixation. Oxford: The Oxford University Press.
  • Yu, Alan C. L. 2013. Origins of sound change: Approaches to phonologization. 2013. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • John Goldsmith, Jason Riggle, and Alan C. L. Yu (eds). 2011. The Handbook of Phonological Theory, 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Selected Articles/Chapters:

Research Leave in AY22-23