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Research Interests and Teaching


My research in linguistics is concentrated on the ‘grammar’ of address (in the broadest sense) and how its linguistic form (in terms of morphosyntax, semantics and pragmatics) and function interact both synchronically and diachronically. In my DPhil thesis (Names and Addresses: Aspects of Address in Latin and Romance, Oxford 2007) I argue that detailed analysis of both form and function in forms of address illuminate each other in terms of synchronic and diachronic patterns, providing evidence that forms of address can and should be a focus of attention for linguistic research and should no longer be side-lined or ignored as being unsystematic.

I have given a number of papers on the analysis of address and on other topics in Oxford and at conferences elsewhere, including the Cambridge RLS, ICHL and ICLVL. I have contributed papers to the Oxford Working Papers in Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics (vol. 7 and vol. 9) and to volumes of proceedings from both ICHL and ICLVL.

My interests in linguistics, however, are far from limited to this narrow area: I have a wider interest in the history of Latin and the Romance languages, together with the synchronic problems associated with these. Looking backwards, I also have a background in comparative philology and Indo-European reconstruction, and looking forwards, I have interests too in the history of linguistics (e.g. the history of the category of ‘interjections’, Löfstedt).

I currently offer undergraduate teaching in general linguistics and French linguistics for two colleges, and I am a member of the University’s Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics and Faculty of Modern Languages.


My background is as a Classicist: I read Literae Humaniores in Oxford, graduating in 2000. As part of the degree I worked on some papyri from the Oxyrhynchus collection in the Ashmolean Museum. So far, one text I have edited has been published, in vol. 69 of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri series. I am also looking forward to the appearance of my editions of two mathematical papyri from the collection. My thesis for Greats was entitled Greek Geometry on Papyrus (a part is available online here).

During my time as a graduate student in Oxford, I taught both Latin and Greek language for the Faculty of Classics, and worked on developing online, interactive language-training resources for the faculty (‘Accidence and Acronyms’). I have also been active in outreach visits to schools, giving talks on the history of the Latin language through the ages at a number of schools and at the biennial faculty open day.

My first book, entitled Writing Latin, written jointly with the former Grocyn Lecturer, James Morwood, came out in July 2007, and is published by Bristol Classical Press (an imprint of Bloomsbury). It is available from all good booksellers (including Blackwells and Amazon); a Key to Writing Latin is also available. The launch party for Writing Latin in July 2007 was attended by academics and schoolteachers from across the UK, and we were delighted to be able to welcome as guest of honour, Colin Dexter, author and former Classics teacher.

I am presently working on a second Latin textbook, for Cambridge University Press.

My current position in the University is as an assistant editor for the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources, which is a research project of the Faculty of Classics, of which I am a member. I have written about the genesis of this dictionary in Chris Stray’s Classical Dictionaries. The dictionary is currently undergoing a significant modernisation, and I hope to write about this process in due course.

This page © 2010 Richard Ashdowne
Last updated: November 2010