McClure PhotoWilliam McClure

Professor of Japanese (Queens College) and Linguistics (Graduate Center)
Department Chair, 2005-2010
Dean of Faculty for the School of Arts and Humanities, 2012-Present
Interim Associate Provost, 2017-2018

Queens Hall, Room 210
Phone: 718-997-5790

PhD, Cornell University

William McClure was responsible for the Japanese language program, and taught language and culture at Queens, and semantics and Japanese linguistics at the Graduate Center; he is also expert on the uses of technology in teaching. He is a recipient of the College Teaching Award.

Research Interests

I am a formal linguist working principally on the syntax/semantics interface, and most of my work is about Japanese. I have looked at such topics as the progressive and unaccusativity, and I am focusing now on the syntax and semantics of Japanese classifying expressions. In addition, I teach Japanese language and have more than a passing interest in language pedagogy, teacher training, and second language acquisition.

My joint appointment between Queens College and the Lingui​stics department at the CUNY Graduate Center allow me to pursue research in the context of concrete pedagogical issues.


  • Japanese
  • Linguistics


2020 Breaking the illusion of modality: A pragmatic analysis of Japanese darou (with Marisa Nagano). In Evidentals and Modals, Chungmin Lee and Jinho Park (eds.). Current Research in the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface, Volume 39. Brill, Leiden and Boston. 502–519.

2019 The functional roles of lexical devices in second language learners’ encoding of temporality: A study of Mandarin Chinese-speaking ESL learners. With Li Ma and Gita Martohardjono. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching. (DOI: 10.1515/iral-2018-0298)

2018 Studies in Japanese and Korean Historical and Theoretical Linguistics and Beyond, edited with Alexander Vovin.Brill, Leiden and Boston. xxxii+198pp.

2011 Why some imperfectives are interpreted imperfectly: A study of Chinese learners of Japanese. With Alison Gabriele. Language Acquisition, 18.1. 39–83

2003 Japanese/Korean Linguistics 12, editor. Center for the Study of Language and Information, Stanford University, Stanford. x+408pp.

2002 On how to use –wa.  With Robert Fiengo.  Journal of East Asian Linguistics, 11.1. 5–42. Reprinted in 2005 in Japanese Linguistics: Critical Concepts in Linguistics. N. Tsujimura (ed.). Routledge.

2000 Using Japanese: A Guide to Contemporary Usage, Cambridge University Press. 412pp.