The Romance languages have a very special place in linguistics, historical linguistics in particular, because we already know much about the language from which they derive (Latin), because we have extensive textual attestations of Romance since the Middle Ages (and let’s not forget that Oxford’s library holdings on Romance languages are some of the best in the world), and because the vast range of modern languages and dialects are both accessible and very well described in the linguistic literature.
The Romance languages therefore provide an extremely rich testing ground for ideas about the nature of language change, and we believe in exploiting to the full the huge body of historical and comparative information to which we have access. This means that we are interested in all the Romance languages: not only those particularly studied in Oxford (Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese), but in other varieties taught here (e.g., Romanian, Catalan, Galician), and in countless further lesser-known varieties. Very often, exciting comparative insights are to be derived from ‘minor’ varieties such as Sardinian or Friulian, or even extinct ones such as Dalmatian.
While we currently have particularly strong research interests in morphology and syntax, we are keen to encourage work on any aspect of the structure of the Romance languages. We are not tied to any particular theoretical position, but it is our firm belief that the study of the Romance languages should continually be informed by knowledge of relevant areas of linguistic theory. The data always come first, but we encourage everyone to be constantly aware of what the data have to contribute to current issues in linguistic theory.