Early Career Researcher Forum 2019

On this site you will find the programme of the Philological Society Early Career Researcher Forum 2019, held at Wolfson College, Oxford, on 8 and 9 March 2019.

Out of 50 submissions, the following 20 (15 talks and 5 poster presentation) were chosen by the Scientific Committee for their merit, clarity, and originality.

Below are listed the names, affiliations, and titles of the talks and posters which were presented. An abstract of each talk is available in PDF format; please click on the title of the abstract. To view a brief academic biography of the presenter, please hover over their name. At the bottom of the list are a number of of the presentations and posters to download.

The programme and schedule of the Forum is available here. For pictures of the event, please visit the Twitter hashtag #PhilSocECRF.


Bach (Oxford) – Alienability distinctions as inflectional classes
Xavier Bach just finished his DPhil in Linguistics with a thesis in diachronic morphological typology on the origins of inflectional classes. His work is centred on morphological typology, and on the evolution of the morphosyntax of the Romance languages and Austronesian languages from Indonesian Papua. He is currently Lecturer in French at Worcester College, Oxford.

Baker (Cambridge) – Changing patterns of English split intransitivity
I studied for my BA, MPhil and PhD – all in linguistics – at the University of Cambridge, where I now teach undergraduates. My MPhil dissertation considered the history of the perfect and passive in early Romance, particularly Latin to early Old French. For my PhD I looked at split intransitivity from synchronic formal and typological perspectives, with a particular focus on English, Basque and Georgian. My ongoing research covers various areas in syntax, including the diachrony of split intransitivity (the focus of my talk) and the behaviour of ditransitives and particle verbs in present-day English.

Blaxter (Cambridge) – The geography of actualisation – mapping the restructuring of the genitive in the history of Norwegian
Tam did her BA in Linguistics at the University of Essex before the MPhil at Oxford and PhD at Cambridge. Her work takes a quantitative approach to questions around language change, diffusion and geospatial variation. Her PhD thesis was on contact, diffusion and change in medieval Norwegian, and in particular explored hypotheses about the effects of contact on linguistic complexity. She continues to work on medieval Norwegian. She has also worked on Modern English dialectology with crowdsourced data and social media as well as traditional sociolinguistic methods. She has written on statistical methods in sociolinguistics and in historical dialectology.

Chen (Auckland) – Null Subjects in Chinese
Shuangshuang Chen is currently a PhD candidate in linguistics at the University of Auckland. Her research topic is Null subjects in Chinese, which aims to analyze null subjects in Chinese systematically, exploring their properties, distribution and resolution both at the sentence level and the discourse level within the framework of Centering Theory. Her research interests include Chinese linguistics, Chinese grammar pedagogy and theoretical linguistics.

de Kreij (Oxford) – Making sense of the syntactic variety of similative expressions in Homer
Nina de Kreij is a DPhil student in Classical Languages and Literature at Oxford University. Her project is a study of all expressions of comparison in Homeric Greek, including comparisons whose result is a similarity and those whose result is a difference or inequality. The basic goal of this study is to establish a typology of all the syntactic types of comparison that appear in the Homeric epics. Building on that, semantic and literary aspects are explored, for example the difference between comparatives and superlatives, and the role that comparisons play within the epic narrative.

Fendel (Cambridge) – Qu’il en soit ainsi! Insubordination in French
Victoria Beatrix Fendel finished her DPhil in Classical Languages and Literature at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, in July 2019 with a thesis on Coptic interference in the syntax of documentary Greek. She is currently working on an MPhil in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at Peterhouse, Cambridge. Her MPhil thesis is on Support-verb constructions in contemporary French.

Ginevra (Cologne) –Baldr’s Love and Death in the Light of Indo-European Studies – Old Norse Nanna Nepsdóttir ‘Maiden Sky-Daughter’ and Hǫðr ‘Darkness’
Dr. Riccardo Ginevra received his PhD in Historical Linguistics from the Università per Stranieri di Siena in joint supervision with the University of Cologne (where he is currently based), with a dissertation on the onomastics and phraseology occurring in the Norse mythological poem Vǫluspá from the perspective of historical linguistics and Indo-European studies. He has published articles and given talks dealing with the comparative analysis and reconstruction of Indo-European poetic formulas, theonyms, and myths attested in, among others, Germanic languages, Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Hittite, and Celtic languages.

Macleod (Ulster) – The preterite and perfect in Middle English
Dr Morgan Macleod received his BA (2005) from the University of British Columbia, and his MPhil (2008) and PhD (2012) from the University of Cambridge. His doctoral thesis, ‘The Perfect in Old English and Old Saxon’, used quantitative corpus-based methodologies to investigate the variation between the past tense and the new periphrastic perfect. After completing his PhD, he worked in the financial sector, at RBS, developing small-scale, customised software solutions to automate planning tasks. He is currently a research associate at the University of Ulster, working on the AHRC-funded project ‘Case in Diachrony’ to investigate syntactic change in Greek.

Nichols (Manchester) – Vowel pair frequencies and phonotactic restrictions in Lozi
I am a third-year PhD student in linguistics at the University of Manchester. My PhD project uses various types of data to explore the grounding of vowel height harmony in the Bantu languages, with a particular focus on the five-vowel languages in the family. My main line of research is the investigation of sound change using experimental and quantitative methods, though I also work on more strictly formal approaches to synchronic phonology (especially processes of (dis)harmony). More generally, I also have an interest in under-documented and under-investigated languages as well as various aspects of linguistic typology.

Roncero (Surrey) –Morphosyntactic feature values in the penumbra – insights from the NUMERATIVE
Kristian is about to defend his PhD thesis at the University of Surrey. He has been doing fieldwork on West Polesian, an Eastern Slavonic variety spoken in an area between Belarus, Ukraine and Poland which has been isolated for centuries due to the topography. His work focuses on describing morphosyntactic phenomena in West Polesian that have emerged from that peculiar sociolinguistic setting and which are interesting from a typological perspective. He is also involved in a documentation project on Chamalal (Andic, Nakh-Dagestanian).

Schintu (Salamanca) –Language, Ideology and Enregisterment in 20th-century Derbyshire
Paula Schintu holds a BA degree in English Studies (University of Salamanca) and a MA degree in Advanced English Studies (Universities of Salamanca and Valladolid). She is currently a PhD student and lecturer in the Department of English Philology at the University of Salamanca. Her main research interests include Historical Linguistics and Sociolinguistics, with an emphasis on social or regional linguistic variation in the early and late modern English periods.

Simpson (SOAS) – Analysis of an Invented Writing System for the Shanghainese Language
Logan Simpson recently completed his MA in Language Documentation and Description at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and is also completing work for an MA of Sociology at Shanghai University. He has also received a certificate in Mandarin from Shanghai International Studies University and received his BA in French Literature and Chinese Language from The University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. Logan recently accepted a linguistic research position with the Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre in Port Hedland, Australia that will commence at the end of March.

Sivianes Martin (Murcia) –Attitudes towards Variation in the Pronunciation of Recent Anglicisms in Spanish
Rosario Sivianes-Martin is a PhD student in the English Philology Department at the University of Murcia, Spain. Her research interests centre around language variation and change, geolinguistics and social and linguistic attitudes towards language and language variation. Her current research focuses on the influence of the standard variety of Spanish over the more innovative southern varieties, and addresses it from a sociolinguistic and geolinguistic point of view. At the same time, she is involved in research related to social and linguistic attitudes towards English as a foreign language in Spain.

Suleymanov (EPHE Paris) –Stem regularisation, stem synthesis and stem production in Tat
Murad Suleymanov obtained his B.A. in Linguistics and Language Studies (York University, Toronto) in 2009 and his M.A. in Languages, Speech, Texts, and Societies (INaLCO / Université Paris Sorbonne Cité, Paris) in 2015. He is currently in his final year of Ph.D. in History, Texts and Documents (EPHE / Université Paris Sciences et Lettres, Paris), writing a descriptive grammar of a lesser known non-written variety of Tat, an Iranian language spoken in the Caucasus.

Taylor (Oxford) – Purposive participles in Herodotos’ Histories
Roxanne finished her BA in Classics and English in 2017 and is now at Wolfson College, Oxford, studying for an MPhil in General Linguistics and Comparative Philology, working on Old English and Greek linguistics.


Ainsworth (Oxford) –The Loss of the Latin Case System
Zeprina Ainsworth is a third-year DPhil candidate studying linguistics at Oxford University, investigating the development of Finnic and Latin case systems. Previous presentations include work on contact, drift and inheritance in Balto-Finnic languages (Oxford Philology Seminar), the development of suffixes in Finno-Ugric languages (Helsinki University Research Seminar), and the informativeness of morphology and gender in Romanian, old French and Latin (Cambridge Romance Seminar). Papers include work on the Veps illative (Transactions of the Philological Society) and declension classes in Livonian (to appear, Linguistica Uralica). Zeprina holds an MSt in linguistics (Oxford University) and a Classics degree (University of Exeter).

Hause (Oxford) – The Spread of Arabic “al-” in Spanish
Brittany Hause is a DPhil student with the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics at the University of Oxford. Her current thesis, supervised by Dr Chiara Cappellaro, looks at word borrowing and its aftereffects on derivational morphology in Spanish, taking both a diachronic and a synchronic approach to the examination of alleged examples of “affix borrowing” in the language. By bringing previous accounts of relevant phenomena together with original fieldwork, the thesis elaborates on underdescribed topics in the linguistic history of Spanish and contributes to the broader crosslinguistic discussion surrounding language contact and its effects.

Judson (Cambridge) –Writing and editing practices in the Linear B documents
Anna P. Judson is a Research Fellow at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, an Affiliated Lecturer and a member of the Mycenaean Epigraphy Group in the Faculty of Classics, and a Fellow of the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. She specialises in the study of the Late Bronze Age Greek writing system Linear B, and is currently working on a research project focusing on the writing practices of the scribes in the palace of Pylos in south-western mainland Greece.

Poortvliet (Amsterdam) – A CxG Approach to Germanic Copularization
Marjolein Poortvliet is a lecturer at the Department of Literary Studies and Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. She received her DPhil degree in Linguistics from the University of Oxford in 2018. Her specialization lies in the grammaticalization of copular verbs and the diachronic rise of evidential and epistemic markers. Her current work focuses on the formal modelling of Germanic grammaticalization in Construction Grammar.

Smith (Oxford) – The {i} of the beholder: a corpus approach to ancient Greek spelling
Winnie Smith is a PhD student at the University of Oxford. Her DPhil concentrates on corpus-based approaches to spelling variation in documentary Greek papyri from Roman Egypt.

Downloadable Presentations/Posters

Blaxter – The geography of actualisation: mapping the restructuring of the genitive in the history of Norwegian
Hause – Spread of “Arabic al-” in Spanish ”
Nichols – Vowel-pair frequencies & phonotactic restrictions in Lozi
Ginevra – Baldr’s Love and Death in the Light of Indo-European Studies: Old Norse Nanna Nepsdóttir ‘Maiden Sky-Daughter’ and Hǫðr ‘Darkness’
Macleod – The Preterite and Perfect in Middle English
de Kreij – Making sense of the syntactic variety of similative expressions in Homer