Dr Sam Wolfe

Departmental Lecturer in French Linguistics


BA Hons Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics (Cantab), MPhil in Linguistics (Cantab), PhD in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (Cantab)

Academic Background

Dr Wolfe completed a BA in Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics at the University of Cambridge before completing an MPhil and PhD at the same university. He has particular research and teaching interests in French language and linguistics and has published and taught widely on topics in comparative Romance dialectology and general linguistics.

Undergraduate Teaching

In Oxford, Sam Wolfe teaches contemporary French linguistics, the history of French and French language. Prior to his arrival in Oxford, he had held a Teaching Fellowship in formal syntax at the University of Manchester and undertaken lecturing and small group teaching on comparative Romance linguistics, Italo-Romance dialectology, French linguistics, historical linguistics, the history of English, varieties of English and introductory and advanced syntactic theory at the University of Cambridge.

Research Interests

Dr Wolfe has particular research interests in the history of French and historical-comparative Romance linguistics. He has published widely on diachronic syntax, the Verb Second property, parameter theory, null arguments and subjects and so-called ‘cartographic’ approaches to clausal structure. He is currently finalising a monograph entitled ‘Verb Second in Medieval Romance’ which will be published with Oxford University Press in 2017.

Forthcoming a. Verb Second in Medieval Romance. Oxford Studies in Historical and Diachronic Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. For submission June 2017.

Forthcoming b. Rethinking Verb Second. Rethinking Comparative Syntax Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Edited with Theresa Biberauer and Rebecca Woods.

Forthcoming c. “Redefining the V2 Typology: The View from Romance and Beyond”. (Ed.) Christine M. Salvesen. Invited submission to Linguistic Variation (Special Issue 'A Micro-Perspective on V2 in Romance and Germanic’).

Forthcoming d. "On the C-System of Medieval Occitan". In J. Berns, H. Jacobs and D. Nouveau (eds.) Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 2015: Selected Papers from Going Romance Nijmegen 2015. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Forthcoming e. “Syntactic Variation in Two Sister Languages:
A Study of Word Order in Old French and Old Occitan”. In R. Zafiu, G.P Dindelegan, A. Dragomirescu, A. Nicolae and I. N. Paraschiv (eds.) Romance Syntax. Comparative and diachronic perspectives. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.

2016a. A Comparative Perspective on the Evolution of Romance Clausal Structure. Diachronica (4).

2016b. On the Left Periphery of V2 Languages. Rivista di Grammatica Generativa: Selected Papers from the 41st Incontro di Grammatica Generativa (38). 287-310.

2015a. Medieval Sardinian: New Evidence for Syntactic Change from Latin to Romance. In Dag T.T. Haug (ed.), Historical Linguistics 2013: Selected papers from the 21st International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Oslo, 5-9 August 2013, 303–324. (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 334). Amsterdam ; Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

2015b. Microparametric Variation in Old Italo-Romance Syntax: The View from Old Sicilian and Old Sardinian. In Enoch Oladé Aboh (ed.), Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 2013: Selected papers from “Going Romance” Amsterdam 2013, 51–66. (Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 8). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

2015c. Microvariation in Medieval Romance Syntax: A Comparative Study. University of Cambridge PhD Dissertation.

2015d. Microvariation in Old Italo-Romance Syntax: The View from Old Sardinian and Old Sicilian. Archivio Glottologico Italiano 100(1). 3–36.

2015e. The nature of Old Spanish verb second reconsidered. Lingua 164, Part A. 132–155. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2015.06.007.

2015f. The Old Sardinian Condaghes. A Syntactic Study. Transactions of the Philological Society 113(2). 177–205. doi:10.1111/1467-968X.12046.

2015g. Verb-Initial Orders in Old Romance: A Comparative Account. Revue roumaine de linguistique LX(2-3). 148–172.


Cooking; language-learning; school and college governance and educational access and outreach work.