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Professor Aditi Lahiri FBA has been awarded - for the second time -an advanced grant by the European Research Council 2016

The project is called:


What is it about? Basic words, and complex words derived from them, could share the same form, as in care and care-ful and rare and rar-ity do; but more often they don't, in English and elsewhere. Think of: serene - seren-ity, sane - san-ity, line - line-ear, wide - wid-th, midwife - midwifery, clean - clean-liness, flower - flor-al, etc.

We call these ' morpho-phonological alternations', and the project is investigating them across the world's languages, their typology, their history, and how difficult it is for speakers to remember and produce them, and for listeners to understand them.

We will be combining theoretical and historical linguistic analysis with neurolinguistic methods (brain imaging) and computational modelling, to answer fundamental questions such as:

▪ Why do morpho-phonological alternations exist in the first place and why are they so widespread, even though they could potentially impede language comprehension? 

▪ How do they develop over the time-course of hundreds of years?

▪ How are they represented inside people's heads and how does the brain process them?

Two Linguistics  nominations for the OUCS 2016 "Most Acclaimed Lecturer" award

We are delighted to announce that two members of the Faculty of Linguistics were nominated this year for the OUCS 'Most Acclaimed Lecturer' award:
Ms Charlotte Hemmings and Dr Louise Mycock.

Dr Mycock won the award in 2014, and this is no less than the third time that she has been nominated.
List of winners 2016

Anna Morpurgo Davies Lecture 2015

'Observing language change and language processing:

Old manuscripts, new brains'

Professor Aditi Lahiri gave the lecture on Friday 8th May 2015

Language change and language processing

Speech requires a speaker and a listener, and both have their roles to play in language transmission and change. No word is ever spoken exactly the same even by the same speaker. Despite subtle variation, listeners understand with remarkable ease. It is the speaker-listener interaction that prevents human language from ever remaining static: change is subtle, but persistent and relentless. This talk traces language change and language processing, drawing on evidence of rather different kinds: old manuscripts, the traditional source of philology, as well as modern speech analysis and brain imaging techniques.

Professor Emmon Bach

The Faculty was very sorry to announce the death of Professor Emmon Bach, in November 2014. Emmon was one of the brightest and most influential figures in formal semantics, and was also well known for his work on morphology and North American languages.  He began his career at the University of Texas at Austin, and then moved to the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he taught semantics, field methods, syntax, and morphology for many years until his retirement in 1992.  He has been with us at Oxford since 2007, when he gave the graduate lectures in Semantics, which he continued to do for several years.  In recent years we knew him best from his presence in the Syntax Working Group and in many of our lectures and the Monday seminars.  He also continued to do innovative research on morphology and semantics, having only recently finished a paper on morphosemantics and polysynthesis.

His funeral took place on Saturday, 13 December at St John's Chapel, Oxford Crematorium

Martin Maiden, FBA
Chair, Faculty Board of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics


A Memorial Service was held for Anna Morpurgo Davies on Saturday 20th June 2015 in Somerville College

The Faculty was deeply sorry to announce that Professor Anna Morpurgo Davies died on the 27th September 2014, aged 77. Professor Davies, who came to Oxford in 1962 and retired in 2004, fostered the study of linguistics in the University throughout her long career and even in retirement. The very existence of the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics owes much to her support and inspiration. The loss to academic life in, and far beyond, Oxford, and to many of us individually, is inexpressible. An outstanding scholar, a remarkably wise and kind counsellor, and above all a much-loved friend, has been taken from us. Her funeral took place in Somerville College Chapel on Saturday, 18 October 2014.For an outline of her life and achievement, see also the obituary posted by her college, Somerville. see Link

Martin Maiden, FBA
Chair, Faculty Board of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics

 Congratulations to Louise Mycock!
The award was made at a ceremony on 27 May 2014

Louise is the winner of the OUSU Teaching Award for the 'Most Acclaimed Lecturer' in the Humanities Division! The OUSU Teaching Awards are student led awards recognising excellence in teaching.

List of Winners 2014

Professor Jim Higginbotham

The Faculty was deeply sorry to learn of the death, on 25th April 2014, of Professor Jim Higginbotham

Jim held the Chair of General Linguistics in Oxford from 1993 to 2000, and was Chair of the Committee for Comparative Philology and General Linguistics and Curator of the Centre for Linguistics and Philology. He was a Fellow of Somerville College and became a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995. He provided lasting intellectual stimulus, guidance and inspiration to countless students and colleagues in Oxford, and he will be greatly missed. A further appreciation of his career and work can be found on the website of the University of Southern California, where he moved in 2000:

Oxford Linguistics ranked fourth in the world by QS World Rankings: Link

Professor Martin Maiden awarded the title of Commander in the 'Ordinul Naţional & Idquo“Serviciul Credincios”'

By a decree dated 18 December 2013, gazetted on 23 December 2013, the President of Romania awarded Professor Martin Maiden, the Professor of the Romance Languages, the title of Commander in ‘Ordinul Naţional “Serviciu Credincios”’ (‘The National “Faithful Service” Order’), an honorific order whose origins can be traced back to 1878. The citation praises Professor Maiden for his work in promoting the Romanian language in the United Kingdom, and especially at the University of Oxford, where he has been instrumental in founding the Lectorate in Romanian, and for his role in fostering academic collaboration between Romania and the UK and in promoting Romania’s image abroad.

Congratulations.... to Dr Richard Ashdowne, formerly a Ling-Phil student, on the completion of the Oxford University-based

Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British sources.

Congratulations to Professor Martin Maiden

Professor Martin Maiden, FBA, Professor of the Romance Languages and Fellow of Trinity, was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Bucharest on 26 September 2013, in recognition of his work in promoting Romanian Studies.  More information is available (in Romanian) here.

Congratulations to Professor Aditi Lahiri

We are delighted to announce that Professor Aditi Lahiri,  the Professor of Linguistics, has been elected an honorary life member of the Linguistic Society of America.

The Linguistic Society of America (LSA) is the major professional society in the USA that is exclusively dedicated to the advancement of the scientific study of language. As such, it plays a critical role in supporting and disseminating linguistic scholarship, as well as facilitating the application of current research to scientific, educational, and social issues concerning language.

Foreign scholars of distinction in linguistic studies, not resident in the USA, may be elected an honorary member by the Society on recommendation of the Executive Committee. Not more than three honorary members are elected in any one year.

The LSA Executive Committee recommended Professor Lahiri as "a remarkable polymath with a strong research profile in five areas: historical and comparative linguistics of Germanic, phonology, phonetics, psycholinguistics, and neurolinguistics. As noteworthy as the range of this research is its unified conception, which brings together traditional and innovative methodologies into a single research enterprise and vision of contemporary linguistics. She has played an important role in bringing this kind of linguistics to life not just in her own research, but also in her teaching, and especially through her sponsorship of international workshops and seminars over the years

Oxford University mission to save a language spoken by three people

A team of academics from Oxford University have been sent to a remote area of Indonesia in order to save a language spoken by only three people... read more
Last few speakers of Indonesian language Dusner nearly wiped out by flood, volcano. Linguists from the University of Oxford have rushed to Dusner, an Indonesian village, to capture the language, also called Dusner, before it is lost for ever... read more


An interactive session with four distinguished Oxford scholars on the relevance of the humanities was held recently at the British Council... read more

Oxford call to Calcutta students
Oxford University wants more Calcuttans in its humanities and social sciences classrooms...
read more