Professor Sam Wolfe

Professor of French and Romance Linguistics; Tutor and Fellow of St Catherine's


Sam Wolfe is Professor of French and Romance Linguistics in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages and the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics.

His research focuses on understanding the nature of grammatical variation, acquisition and change, principally in the Romance languages. Within Romance, he works on both standard and non-standard Romance varieties, with particular interests in French, Occitan, Spanish, and the languages of Italy. Professor Wolfe is also interested in the history and structure of the Germanic languages, and has taught courses on the history and structure of English.

Recent monographs and edited volumes include Syntactic Change in French (OUP; 2021), Continuity and Variation in Germanic and Romance (OUP; 2021), Rethinking Verb Second (OUP; 2020), Variation and Change in Gallo-Romance Grammar (OUP; 2020), and Verb Second in Medieval Romance (OUP; 2019).

Professor Wolfe is currently writing a major monograph on the internal and external factors driving the grammatical differentiation of the Romance languages from the medieval period to the present day, as part of a project funded by a Philip Leverhulme Prize.

In addition to funding from the Leverhulme Trust, his research has also been funded by the British Academy and the John Fell Fund. In recent years, Professor Wolfe has held Visiting Professorships at the University of Padua, University of Naples Federico II, and Beijing Language and Culture University, and has delivered invited lectures at many universities in Europe, the United States, and Asia.


  • Linguistics
  • Language variation, acquisition, and change
  • Noam Chomsky and universal grammar
  • The history of the Romance languages, in particular Italian, Italian dialects, French, Spanish, and Portuguese


English, French, Italian