Sam Wolfe awarded Philip Leverhulme Prize

Sam Wolfe, Catz Fellow and Professor of French and Romance Linguistics, has been awarded a prestigious Philip Leverhulme Prize from the Leverhulme Trust.

The prize, worth £100,000, will support Sam’s research for three years. During this time, he will embark upon an ambitious project to understand the factors which can increase or slow the speed of grammatical change in the Romance languages.

The project will consider data from well-known Romance languages such as French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian alongside lesser-known languages such as Occitan, Balearic Catalan, Ladin, Venetian, and Sardinian.

Philip Leverhulme Prizes are awarded to researchers at an early stage of their careers whose work has had an international impact. The winners must also have an ‘exceptionally promising future research career’.

‘A transformational impact’

Speaking about the award, Sam said: ‘This award will have a transformational impact on my research and allow me to dedicate my time to better understanding how and why languages change.

‘The project will be challenging and involve research into dozens of languages spoken on four continents, but I am very much looking forward to seeing the results it produces and the impact on our understanding of linguistic variation and change.’

The Leverhulme Trust provides grants, scholarships, bursaries and prizes to support research across all academic disciplines. It is one of the UK’s largest research funders, giving around £100 million each year.

This year, Sam is one of four Oxford academics who have received a Philip Leverhulme Prize – read about them all on the University’s website. You can also read about all of this year’s prize winners on the Leverhulme Trust website.

About Professor Sam Wolfe

Sam Wolfe is Director of Studies for Linguistics at St Catz and its Tutor in French Linquistics. He is also Professor of French and Romance Linguistics at the University.

His recent books include Syntactic Change in French (2021, OUP), Variation and Change in Gallo-Romance Grammar (2020, OUP), and Verb Second in Medieval Romance (2018, OUP).

Sam has a particular interest in access and outreach work: he currently serves as Director of Schools Liaison and Outreach for the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty and has coordinated a national project to improve the number of care-leavers accessing Higher Education.

Read more about Professor Sam Wolfe.

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