Department of Linguistics
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
105 Smith Building, CB#3155
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

Email: hsub [at]

Hello! I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. My research focuses on several areas of formal syntax and phonology. Broadly, I study the sources of word-order variation, and the mental representation of optionality and exceptionality. My recent work has examined the syntax of functional projections and movement (in particular, head movement and head bundling), generative approaches to word order optionality, corpus methods in generative syntax, and several topics in Harmonic Grammar (gradient symbolic representations, constraint scaling).

More of my previous and ongoing work can be found on the Research page.

I pronounce my family name as [ɕy] with a rising tone in Taiwanese Mandarin, [ʃu] (like ‘shoe’) in English.

New and forthcoming papers

  • Hsu, Brian and Benjamin Frey. 2024 (to appear). Word order in Cherokee: information structure, thematic structure, and variability. Accepted for publication in Language. [submitted draft on Lingbuzz]
  • Hsu, Brian and Yiwen Peng. 2024 (to appear) Positions of Mandarin classifiers in and out of compounds: implications for distinctness, selection, and projection. WCCFL 39 proceedings. [submitted draft on Lingbuzz]

Recent presentations

  • Humphreys, Erin and Brian Hsu. How much overt agreement is needed for polysynthesis?: quantitative evidence from Cherokee. Talk presented at 48th Annual Penn Linguistics Conference. March 16-17, 2024. [slides]

Recent papers

Some less recent “greatest hits”