Comparative Philology Graduate Seminar


It is a long-standing tradition dating to at least the 1970s that the philologists—both students and staff—meet every Tuesday in term time for the Comparative Philology Graduate Seminar. Each term, the seminar has a different overarching topic; there are, however, certain trends.

In Michaelmas, the philologists consider a general linguistic topic and its applicability to (largely) ancient Indo-European languages; in the past, these topics included: the reconstructability of syntax; moods; metre; language contact; and many more.

In Hilary Term, the structure and history of a language or language family is dealt with. Contributions come from specialists in the field as well as those who have only recently taken it up. In the past, the languages studied have included: Old English; Faliscan; Old Irish; Tocharian; and many others.

In Trinity Term, students and staff present their Work in Progress; this usually involves MPhil and DPhil students sharing the findings of their dissertations.

The seminar takes place every Tuesday, 2.15–4pm in the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics (Clarendon Institute, Walton St) and is preceded by a sandwich lunch in Worcester College. For more information and in the case of any queries, please get in touch with the convenors of the seminar as specified in the announcements below.

Current Seminar

The topic of the Comparative Philology Graduate Seminar in Hilary Term 2020 will be Hieroglyphic Luwian

Date Week Speaker & Title
28 January 2

Mark Weeden (SOAS)
Introduction to Hieroglyphic Luwian

4 February 3 Philomen Probert
Synchronic and Historical Phonology
11 February 4 Jesse Lundquist
Synchronic and Historical Morphology I: the noun
18 February 5

Pat Snidvongs
Synchronic and Historical Morphology II: the verb

25 February 6

Katherine Shields
Synchronic and Historical Syntax

3 March 7

Michele Bianconi & Vladimir Olivero
Luwian in Contact

10 March 8 John Penney
Varieties of Luwian, “Luwic”, and Lycian

Past Seminars

Year Michaelmas Hilary Trinity
2019–20 The Language and Linguistics of Ancient Humour Hieroglyphic Luwian  
2018–19 Ancient Grammar and Linguistics Armenian Work in Progress
2017–18 Reconstructing the Syntax of Proto-Indo-European Old English Work in Progress
2016–17 Why languages are similar: contact, drift, inheritance Tocharian Work in Progress
2015–16 Origins of the Greek Verb Old Persian Work in Progress
2014–15 Participles Old Irish Work in Progress
2013–14 Moods Gothic Work in Progress
2012–13 Towards a synchronic Grammar of Proto-Indo-European Faliscan Work in Progress
2011–12 Metre in Indo-European Middle Iranian Work in Progress


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