Dr Sam Wolfe

Sam Wolfe MPhil, MA, PhD (Cantab.)
Associate Professor of French Linguistics, Tutor and Fellow of St Catherine's


The main focus of my research is on French and Gallo-Romance, though I have also published on the syntax of other Romance varieties. I am currently writing a monograph entitled Syntactic Change in French and co-editing a volume on connections between Germanic and Romance languages alongside a handbook-style treatment of the Verb Second property, entitled Rethinking Verb Second. A monograph on word order in Medieval Romance languages will appear shortly with OUP, entitled Verb Second in Medieval Romance.


I teach a broad range of papers within the Oxford course, including French language and linguistics at all levels, comparative Romance linguistics, historical linguistics and Italo-Romance linguistics. I also teach the general linguistics course both at Prelims and FHS level for St Catherine’s and St John’s.

Graduate Teaching

I am always keen to hear from prospective graduate students working on topics within synchronic or diachronic Romance morphosyntax as well as general topics within historical linguistics.

Access and Admissions

I have interests in school governance and educational policy and am happy to participate in access and admissions initiatives both within Oxford and elsewhere. I am currently coordinating a national project to improve the number of care-leavers accessing Higher Education.


Books (Monographs and Edited Volumes):

In Prep. Syntactic Change in French.

In Prep. Germanic and Romance: Continuity and Variation (co-edited with Christine Salvesen).

Forthcoming. Verb Second in Medieval Romance. Oxford: OUP.

Forthcoming. Rethinking Verb Second. Oxford: OUP (co-edited with Rebecca Woods and Theresa Biberauer).


Forthcoming. “The Curious Syntax of Old French ‘si’ ”. Transactions of the Philological Society.

Forthcoming. “On Microvariation in V2 Systems in Old Romance and Beyond”. Invited submission to Linguistic Variation: Special Issue ‘A Micro-Perspective on V2 in Romance and Germanic’.

2016.”A Comparative Perspective on the Evolution of Romance Clausal Structure”. Diachronica 33 (4), 461-502.

2016. “On the Left Periphery of V2 Languages”. Rivista di Grammatica Generativa 38, 287-310.

2015. “Verb-Initial Orders in Medieval Romance: A Comparative Account.” Revue Romaine de Linguistique. Special Issue on Syntactic Variation.

2015. “The nature of Old Spanish verb second reconsidered.” Lingua 164, 132-155.

2015. “Microvariation in Old Italo-Romance Syntax: Evidence from Old Sardinian and Old Sicilian.” Archivio Glottologico Italiano 100 (1), 3-36.

2015. “The Old Sardinian Condaghes: A Syntactic Study.” Transactions of the Philological Society 113 (2), 177-205.

Book Chapters:

In Prep. “Deriving the North/South Split in Romance Dialect Syntax: Old Sicilian and Old French word order compared.” In T. Biberauer, S. Wolfe and R. Woods (eds.) Rethinking Verb Second. Oxford: OUP.

Forthcoming. “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.

2018. “Variation in Two Sister Languages: 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, 53-85. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.

2015. “Medieval Sardinian: New Evidence for Syntactic Change from Latin to Romance”. In D. T. T. Haug (ed.) Historical Linguistics 2013: Selected papers from the 21st International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Oslo, 5-9 August 2013. Amsterdam: John Benjamins

2015. “Evidence for Microparametric Variation in Medieval Romance Syntax? The View from Old Sicilian and Old Sardinian”. Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 2013. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


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