Cafe with blue chairss Map showing relief Carved stonework Sign to Calamosche House with green shutters Map showing placenames House in Cuba Stone sculpture Picture map of city Romance words Romance words Romance poem Sculpture of 4 faces Map of Europe


Members and Associates of the Research Centre in Oxford: Academic Staff | Research students

Academic Staff

Professor Martin Maiden
Professor of the Romance Languages
Fellow of Trinity College

Prof Martin MaidenMartin Maiden has worked on the history of a range of Romance languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, French, Sardinian, Romansh, and Dalmatian, but his main area of interest is Romanian and Italo-Romance. He focuses particularly on historical morphology, and on the diachronic persistence and replication of apparently unmotivated morphological irregularities. He is co-editor of two major recent surveys of the Romance languages, namely the Cambridge History of the Romance Languages (2011/2013) and The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages (2016). He has recently published The Romance Verb. Morphomic Structure and Diachrony (OUP 2018), and is currently working (jointly, with four Romanian colleagues) on The Oxford History of Romanian Morphology (OUP).

Dr Sandra Paoli
Deputy Director
Associate Professor in Linguistics (Romance Languages)
Fellow of Balliol College

Dr Sandra PaoliSandra’s research interests range from a number of phenomena in specific Romance varieties to specific phenomena (e.g. grammaticalization, modal/discourse particles, sentential negation, pronominal forms, pragmatics-syntax interface - especially contrastive and mirative focus) across Romance varieties. In her research she favours the combination of a detailed synchronic investigation of a phenomenon and its diachronic development. Her original training was in transformational Syntax, and she still has an interest in the Cartographic approach to mapping syntactic positions, but over the last few years her interests have moved in the direction of Historical Pragmatics and, more in general, of the role of discourse in language change. Her more recent work focuses on the development and establishment of post-verbal negative markers, the diachronic trajectory of acquisition and loss of pronouns, the development and spread of forms of the verb ‘have’ and discourse particles. More.

Mr JC Smith (Retired)
Deputy Director Emeritus
Faculty Lecturer in French Linguistics
Fellow of St Catherine’s College

My main field of interest is historical morphosyntax, and I have published widely on agreement, refunctionalization, deixis, and the evolution of case and pronoun systems, with particular reference to Romance, although I have also worked on other language families, including Germanic and Austronesian.

Dr Víctor Acedo-Matellán
Associate Professor in Spanish and Portuguese Linguistics
Fellow of Oriel College

A theoretical linguist, I have specialized in the grammatical realization of argument and event structure and the syntax-lexicon and syntax-morphology interfaces. My overarching interest is the architecture of grammar, i.e., how the different grammatical modules interact, from a generative perspective. In my dissertation, published in 2016 by Oxford University Press, I explored issues in the argument structure of Latin, and compared this language to the Slavic and Germanic languages within the domain of the morphosyntactic expression of transition events. Related research interests include the cross-linguistic typology of the expression of motion events, the syntax of roots, the grammatical representation of inner aspect, the structure of adpositions and prefixes, and the diachrony of argument structure from Latin into Romance and within the history of Catalan.

Dr Richard Ashdowne
College Tutor in Linguistics

Richard Ashdowne mainly works on aspects of the history of Latin and French. He has a particular interest in the semantics and syntax of forms of address and their development. He spent six years as a lexicographer on the project compiling the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (, of which he became the third and final editor in 2011. He teaches a wide range of papers in linguistics as well as Latin and Greek language, and is the joint author of a Latin prose composition textbook.

Xavièr Bach
Junior Research Fellow in Linguistics, Trinity College

My main area of work are in theoretical morphology, syntax and historical linguistics. My D.Phil thesis investigated the diachrony of inflectional classes centred on languages from New Guinea. Within Romance languages, I mostly investigate Gallo-Romance varieties, in particular Occitan. I have worked on nominal morphology (the number system of Languedocian Occitan; lexicalisation of inflected forms in French and Occitan; morphology and semantics of augmentatives in Occitan), and in verbal morphology (the morphology of infinitives, and on a theoretical investigation of French conjugation errors, all joint work with Dr Louise Esher, CNRS, Toulouse). For the past few years, I have worked with Dr Benjamin Fagard (CNRS, Paris) on the semantics of categories in Romance languages, in particular on colour terms and spatial relators in diachrony. Finally, I retain important to editing new texts and sources, in particular from underinvestigated registers: early evidence of verlan like slangs in France, medieval letters in Occitan, and, together with Pierre-Joan Bernard (Archives municipales de Montpellier) early modern songs in Occitan.

Dr Chiara Cappellaro
Research Fellow in Linguistics

Chiara’s research interests and expertise lie in morphology, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, Italian and comparative Romance linguistics (Italo- and Ibero-Romance in particular). Further interests include multilingualism and intelligibility across cognate varieties and language documentation. She is currently completing a monograph on Personal Pronouns in Romance which is based on her British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship research at Oxford. She has also been awarded a TORCH Knowledge-Exchange Fellowship for 2017-2018 for a project which proposes to create a permanent museum and a sociolinguistic archive devoted to the language and culture of Bocchigliero (Calabria, Southern Italy; see article published in Cosenza here). Recent publications include: (i) 2017 (forthcoming). ‘The semantic specialization of Esso as [–Human] in Standard Italian’. Revue Romane. 52.2. ​(ii) 2017. ‘Plurality and Gender in a Central Calabrian Dialect: The emergence of an innovative type of Romance Genus Alternans in Bocchiglierese’. Archivio Glottologico Italiano 2/2015. 208-231. 2016. ‘Tonic Pronominal System: morphophonology’ in Ledgeway, A. and Maiden, M. (Eds) Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages. Oxford: OUP.

Dr Juan-Carlos Conde
Associate Professor in Medieval Spanish Literature
Fellow of Magdalen College

Juan-Carlos CondeDr Conde’s main field of research is medieval Hispanic literature. He is the author of different publications on Pablo de Santa María, Poema de mio Cid, Celestina, Juan de Lucena’s Diálogo de vita beata, medieval historiography, medieval translation, and other topics related to that period. Others of his fields of expertise, in which he has also published extensively, are the history of the Spanish language (especially lexical history), textual criticism, bibliography, history of the book, and manuscript studies.

Dr Hannah Davidson
Post-doctoral Researcher

I am currently on a John Fell funded postdoc that investigates verbal and discourse modality in Mauritian Creole.

Dr Paloma Garcia-Bellido (Retired)
Associate Professor in Spanish Linguistics

Professor Sophie Marnette
Professor of Medieval French Studies
Fellow of Balliol College

Prof Sophie MarnetteSophie Marnette’s research offers a linguistic and philological approach of literary issues such as the expression of narrative voice and point of view, the origins and evolution of medieval literary genres, the relationship between history and fiction, etc. Her first book Narrateur et points de vue dans la littérature française médiévale: Une approche linguistique (Peter Lang, 1998) focuses on storytelling in the French Middle Ages and her second book Speech and Thought in French: Concepts and Strategies (John Benjamins, 2005) studies reported discourse in medieval literary texts as well as in contemporary oral narratives, press and literature. Her current research project is entitled Quoting Her: Female Expression in Medieval French Narratives and funded through a British Academy research grant. It proposes a fresh interdisciplinary approach (i.e. linguistic, narratological and literary) that takes reported discourse as a meaningful criterion, based on textual evidences, to examine how female characters’ discourse is framed and how it is expressed in medieval French narratives. Using a corpus of lais, fabliaux and fabless ranging from the 12th to the 14th c., the analysis aims to assess whether female expression differs between these three literary genres and whether it is related to the specific ideologies that underlie each of them. Sophie Marnette is a founding and executive member of Ci-dit, an international research group on reported discourse (

Dr Anna Paradís
Lector in Catalan

Anna’s main areas of interest are theoretical syntax and linguistic variation with a primary focus on Catalan dialects. Her main research topics are Romance clitics and non-finite complement clauses. She is interested in exploring the mechanisms offered by Universal Grammar to establish long-distance dependencies and interclausal phenomena. She has recently defended her dissertation on Clitic Climbing (and how it correlates with Restructuring and Control) at the Centre de Lingüística Teòrica (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). Anna’s work also includes Sociolinguistics and Language teaching. She is a member of the group Grammar Oriented towards Competences (GrOC).

Dr Stephen Parkinson (Retired)
Associate Professor in Portuguese Linguistics

Dr Elinor Payne
MA, MPhil, PhD (Cantab)
PgDip (SOAS)
Associate Professor in Phonetics and Phonology
Fellow of St Hilda's College (

Dr Elinor PaynePrior to starting in Oxford, I was a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Cambridge University, and a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Phonetics at UCL. Here in Oxford, I tutor and lecture in phonetics and phonology to undergraduates and postgraduates, and supervise doctoral students in topics related to speech prosody, phonetic variation and influences on phonological structure.
While I work on a wide range of languages, and seek to address more general theoretical questions, I first discovered Linguistics as an undergraduate studying Romance Languages (specifically Italian and Spanish, with some extracurricular courses in Portuguese and Romanian). The importance of both the historical perspective, and dialectological variation, to the study of Romance languages has undoubtedly shaped the kind of phonetics research I do today, even while working on non-Romance languages. As a postgraduate, I cut my teeth in experimental phonetics with a doctoral thesis on Italian consonant gemination, thus nurturing an academic soft spot for geminates that at least in part drew me to certain other languages (notably Norwegian, and more recently to Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages). It also sparked a much broader interest in speech timing and, by extension, prosody more generally.
My overarching research interest is speech variation - how it arises, what shapes it and how speakers use it - and its relationship to phonology. Within this frame, I have worked on speech timing and prosody, in adult and child speech, for a range of languages, including Romance (see my Romance-related publications below). Current research interests include the effects of speech context on prosody (especially who the speaker is talking to) and variation arising from societal multilingualism and contact linguistics, looking in particular at variation and convergence in Indian English, as spoken in India and the diaspora. But Romance languages remain relevant to my general evolving interests, and I am also investigating linguistic contact between Veneto dialect and Italian (funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation (

Selected publications on Romance languages (For a more detailed list please see my Faculty webpage)
Payne, E. (forthcoming 2021) “Comparing and deconstructing speech rhythm across Romance languages” in Gabriel, C., Gess, R. and Meisenburg, T. (eds.) Manual of Romance phonetics and phonology. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter.
Astruc, L., E. Payne, B. Post, P. Prieto & M. Vanrell (2013) “Tonal targets in early child Catalan, Spanish and English” Language and Speech, 56: 229-253.
Payne, E., B. Post, L. Astruc, P. Prieto & M. Vanrell (2012) “Measuring child rhythm” Language and Speech, 55:2, 203-229.
Prieto, P., M. Vanrell, L. Astruc, E. Payne & B. Post (2012) “Phonotactic and phrasal properties of speech rhythm. Evidence from Catalan, English, and Spanish” Speech Communication, 54, 681-702.
White, L, E. Payne & S. Mattys (2009) “Rhythmic and prosodic contrast in Venetan and Sicilian Italian” in M. Vigario, S. Frota & M Freitas (eds) Interactions in Phonetics and Phonology, Benjamins, 137-158.
Payne, E. (2006) “Non-durational indices of Italian geminates: an EPG study” Journal of the International Phonetic Association, vol. 36(1), 83-95.
Payne, E. (2005) “Phonetic variation in Italian consonant gemination” Journal of the International Phonetic Association, vol. 35(2), 153-189.

Dr Alessandra Petrocchi
Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow

Dr Alessandra Petrocchi is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow in the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics at the University of Oxford.

Dr Ros Temple
Associate Professor in French Linguistics
Fellow of New College

Dr Ros TempleRos works on phonetics and phonology and their interface, particularly in relation to variation in continuous speech (including sociophonetics). She has worked mainly on French, Welsh and English but has also supervised research on Béarnais, Spanish, Polish, Lithuanian and Cantonese, amongst other languages. She teaches French linguistics and Sociolinguistics. She is a Fellow of New College.


Dr Oana Uţă Bărbulescu
Lector in Romanian

Oana’s areas of interest include historical linguistics (especially historical morphology and syntax), history and structure of Romance languages (with special focus on Romanian), dialectology (with special focus on trans-Danubian dialects) and translation studies. She is also currently working with Prof. Maiden and three Romanian colleagues on The Oxford History of Romanian Morphology (OUP).

Dr Ian Watson
Associate Professor in French Language and Linguistics
Fellow of Christ Church College

Prof Ian WatsonDr Watson’s research interests are in linguistics and phonetics, with special reference to French, especially the description of modern French phonetics and phonology. He also works with speech perception, prosody, and language acquisition, especially the acquisition of sound patterns.

Dr Sam Wolfe
Associate Professor in French Linguistics
Fellow of St Catharine’s College

Dr Wolfe has particular research interests in the history of French and historical-comparative Romance linguistics. He has published on diachronic syntax, the Verb Second property, parameter theory, null arguments and subjects and so-called ‘cartographic’ approaches to clausal structure. Empirically, he has drawn mostly on Gallo-Romance and Italo-Romance data, though also has interests in Spanish linguistics. His first monograph Verb Second in Medieval Romance appeared with OUP in 2018 and his second monograph, Syntactic Change in French is currently under contract with OUP. He is co-editor of three forthcoming OUP volumes and is currently collaborating with colleagues at the University of Padua in writing a grammar of Old Venetan.

Research students (working on, or with strong interests in, Romance linguistics)

Zeprina-Jaz (Zeppy) Ainsworth
PhD student

I am currently working on the development of the morphological case system from Latin to the modern Romance languages with particular focus on old Gallo-Romance and modern Romanian. My DPhil compares the loss of inflexional case distinctions in Romance to the maintenance and expansion of the morphological case system of Finnic languages and attempts to offer some potential reasons for these divergent developments.

Brittany Hause
PhD student

Brittany's MPhil thesis, supervised by Chiara Cappellaro, looked at the function and distribution of evaluative-forming affixes in an eastern Bolivian variety of Spanish. Her current research builds off her findings in this area to examine the morphosyntactic effects of contact with Portuguese and certain languages indigenous to South America on Spanish as it is spoken near the Brazilian border.

Andrew Lloyd
PhD student

My DPhil thesis examines the sociolinguistic, dialectal, and discourse-pragmatic influences on the distribution, grammaticalisation, and obsolescence of units of minimal value in Gallo-Romance dialects during the Middle Ages in France. As both a quantitative and qualitative study, it aims to explain the structured variation we find for these variables across texts of diverse origin, typology, and genre.

Béatrice Rea
PhD student

I am interested in sociolinguistics, language variation and change, morphosyntax, and anything that has to do with Gallo-Romance dialects. My DPhil research focuses on Laurentian French, as it is spoken in the city of Montréal. My project examines a morphosyntactic feature that can be found in this variety: the alternation of the auxiliary verb être BE with avoir HAVE in contexts that conventionally require the exclusive use of être (ex. Je suis tombé vs J’ai tombé ‘I fell/have fallen’' and Je me suis fait mal vs Je m’ai fait mal 'I hurt/have hurt myself'). The main goal of my doctoral fieldwork is to analyse the direction of this potential linguistic change by understanding how social and linguistic factors influence this levelling phenomenon.

Amanda Thomas
PhD student

Amanda’s interests in linguistics include syntax, morphology and typology, with a special focus on the Romance languages. Her DPhil research is on historical developments in Portuguese morphosyntax, particularly the pronominal and verbal systems, using the theoretical frameworks of Lexical Functional Grammar (LFG) and Paradigm Function Morphology (PFM). Previous work on Romance includes an investigation of double past participle forms across Portuguese, Galician, Spanish and Italian; a formal account of the grammatical features of polite pronouns; and a project on null object pronouns in Brazilian Portuguese.