Mr John Charles Smith

Emeritus Professor of French

John Charles Smith, M.A.
Faculty Lecturer in French Linguistics, Fellow of St Catherine’s College


JC Smith’s main field of interest is historical morphosyntax, and he has published widely on agreement, refunctionalization, deixis, and the evolution of case and pronoun systems, with particular reference to Romance, although he has also worked on other language families, including Germanic and Austronesian. He is Secretary of the International Society for Historical Linguistics, and is currently co-editing the Cambridge History of the Romance Languages. He is Co-Investigator (with Professor Martin Maiden) on the AHRC-funded research project ‘Autonomous morphology in diachrony: comparative evidence from the Romance languages’.


‘French’, in The Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics (second edition), ed. Keith Brown (Oxford: Elsevier, 2006), IV: 629-632

‘How to do things without junk: the refunctionalization of a pronominal subsystem between Latin and Romance’, in New Perspectives on Romance Linguistics: selected papers from the 35th Linguistic Sympsium on Romance Languages (LSRL), Austin, Texas, February 2005. Volume II: Phonetics, Phonology and Dialectology, ed. Jean-Pierre Y. Montreuil, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 276 (Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2006), 183-205

‘Some refunctionalizations of the nominative-accusative opposition between Latin and Gallo-Romance’, in A Companion in Linguistics: a Festschrift for Anders Ahlqvist on the occasion of his sixtieth birthday, ed. Bernadette Smelik, Rijcklof Hofman, Camiel Hamans & David Cram (Nijmegen: De Keltische Draak, 2005), 269-285

‘Middle French. When? What? Why?’, Language Sciences, 24 (2002), 423-445

‘Markedness, functionality, and perseveration in the actualization of a morphosyntactic change’, in Actualization: linguistic change in progress, ed. Henning Andersen, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 219 (Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2001), 203-223

Editor, with Delia Bentley, Historical Linguistics 1995: selected papers from the 12th International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Manchester, August 1995. Volume 1: General Issues and Non-Germanic Languages, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 161, 1st, 1 (Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2000)

‘Markedness and morphosyntactic change revisited: the case of Romance past participle agreement’, in The Emergence of the Modern Language Sciences: studies on the transition from historical-comparative to structural linguistics in honour of E. F. K. Koerner. Volume 2: Methodological Perspectives and Applications, ed. Sheila Embleton, John E. Joseph & Hans-Josef Niederehe (Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1999), 203-215

With Mark Donohue, ‘What’s happened to us? Some developments in the Malay pronoun system’, Oceanic Linguistics, 37 (1998), 65-84

‘Types and tokens in language change: some evidence from Romance’, in Language History and Linguistic Modelling: a Festschrift for Jacek Fisiak on his 60th birthday, ed. Raymond Hickey & Stanislaw Puppel, Trends in Linguistics: Studies and Monographs 101 (Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1997), 1099-1111

‘Surfonctionnalité et hyperanalyse: l’accord du participe passé dans les langues romanes à la lumière de deux théories récentes’, Faits de langues, 8 (1996), 113-120

Editor, with Martin Maiden, Linguistic Theory and the Romance Languages, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 122, 1st, 1 (Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1995)

‘L’évolution sémantique et pragmatique des adverbes déictiques ici, et là-bas’, Langue française, 107 (1995), 43-57

‘The agreement of the past participle conjugated with avoir and a preceding direct object: a brief history of prescriptive attitudes’, in Authority and the French Language: papers from a conference at the University of Bristol, ed. Rodney Sampson (Münster: Nodus, 1993), 87-125

‘La desaparición de la concordancia entre participio de pasado y objeto directo en castellano y catalán: aspectos geográficos e históricos’, in Actas del Primer Congreso Anglo-Hispano: tomo I, Lingüística, ed. Ralph Penny (Madrid: Castalia, 1993), 275-285

‘Circumstantial complements and direct objects in the Romance languages: configuration, Case, and thematic structure’, in Thematic Structure: its role in grammar, ed. I. M. Roca, Linguistic Models 16 (Berlin: Foris, 1992), 293-316

‘Problemi dell’accordo del participio passato coll’oggetto diretto nei tempi composti coniugati con avere in italiano, con speciale riferimento ai dialetti’, in Tra Rinascimento e strutture attuali: saggi di linguistica italiana (Atti del Primo Convegno della Società Internazionale di Linguistica e Filologia Italiana, Siena, 28-31 marzo 1989, volume 1?), ed. Luciano Giannelli, Nicoletta Maraschio, Teresa Poggi Salani & Massimo Vedovelli (Torino: Rosenberg & Sellier, 1991), 365-371

‘Thematicity and “object”-participle agreement in Romance’, in New Analyses in Romance Linguistics: selected papers from the Eighteenth Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages, April 7-9, 1988, ed. Dieter Wanner & Douglas A. Kibbee, Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 69 (Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1991), 335-352

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