Professor Martin Maiden FBA

Professor Martin Maiden FBA
Statutory Professor of the Romance Languages, Fellow of Trinity College

Research interests and profile:

My areas of interest are:

  • history and structure of all the Romance languages (especially Romanian with other Romance varieties of eastern Europe and Italian with other Italo-Romance dialects)
  • historical linguistics (especially historical morphology and phonology)
  • morphological theory
  • dialectology

Recent research projects which I have directed within the Research Centre for Romance Linguistics:

Autonomous morphology in diachrony: evidence from the Romance languages (2006-2010, funded by the AHRC). This explores the emergence and persistence of ‘morphomic’ (‘autonomously morphological’) structures in the verb, drawing on a vast range of dialectological material.

The Romance Noun: a comparative-historical study of plural formation (2011-12, funded by the Leverhulme Trust). This explored, from minute examination of dialectological and other materials, the morphological evolution of number marking in Romance.

The ‘morphome’: a psycholinguistic investigation (2021-22, funded by Oxford’s John Fell Fund). In this project traditional historical linguistics (‘philology’) meets psycholinguistic lab-based experimentation and lays the foundation for an investigation into the psychological mechanisms underlying so-called ‘morphomes’ (abstract patterns of variation between the different grammatical forms of a word, which apparently ‘do not make sense’ yet are stable and productive over time).

ISTROX: the Istro-Romanian Language and the Oxford University Hurren Donation (2018-21, funded by Oxford’s John Fell Fund). This is a two-year interdisciplinary project based on a body of sound recordings donated to the Taylor Institution Library in Oxford. It combines linguistic research and community-sourcing to explore the history of a severely endangered language: Istro-Romanian. Fifty years after these recordings were made by the Oxford linguist Tony Hurren, we use an online platform to engage the remaining speakers of the language to transcribe, translate, and open up this material to specialist linguists and the Istro-Romanian community.

Major recent publications

The Cambridge History of the Romance Languages I Structures; II Contexts. (CUP, 2011/2013). (edited with J. C. Smith and A. Ledgeway)


The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages (OUP 2016). (edited with A. Ledgeway)

The Romance Verb: morphomic structures and diachrony (OUP 2018)

The Oxford History of Romanian Morphology (OUP 2021) (jointly authored with G. Pană Dindelegan, A. Dragomirescu, O. Uță Bărbulescu, R. Zafiu).

The Cambridge Handbook of Romance Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (CUP 2022) (edited with A. Ledgeway)


BA (Modern and Medieval Languages) Trinity Hall Cambridge 1980
M.Phil (Linguistics) Trinity Hall Cambridge 1981
Ph.D. (Linguistics) Trinity Hall Cambridge 1987

Lecturer in Italian, University of Bath 1982-1989
Lecturer in Romance Philology, University of Cambridge 1989-1996
Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge, 1989-1996
Professor of the Romance Languages, Oxford, 1996 –
Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, 1996 –

Fellow of the British Academy, 2003 –

Member, Academia Europea, 2018 –

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