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Professor James Clackson

Professor James Clackson

Professor of Comparative Philology

Chair of the Faculty Board

Fellow and Director of Studies in Classics, Jesus College

Jesus College, Cambridge, CB5 8BL
Office Phone: 01223 339415 (College)

Research Interests

I have wide interests in the history of the Latin and Greek languages, ancient sociolinguistics and bilingualism, the languages and epigraphy of the ancient Mediterranean and comparative Indo-European studies. I have particular interests in the historical sociolinguistics of Latin; the other ancient Languages of the Italian peninsula especially Sabellian and Etruscan; and the history of the Armenian language. I am currently Principal Investigator of the AHRC funded project ‘Greek in Italy’. I am editor of the oldest scholarly journal devoted to the general study of language and languages that has an unbroken tradition,Transactions of the Philological Society. My latest book ‘Language and Society in the Greek and Roman Worlds will be published by Cambridge University Press in March 2015. 

Research Supervision

Current and former research projects supervised include: a study of the ways in which Greek expresses the agent after a passive verb; a re-examination of the stop system of Indo-European using recent work in phonetics; dialects of Indo-European and the development of the verbal system; the interaction of Latin, Greek and Gaulish in Southern France; the language of ancient curse tablets, especially bilingual formulae; the Oscan language in Southern Italy; the Latin of Roman Britain; registers of language use in ancient Greek; Greek borrowings in Etruscan; Latin borrowings in Punic; and individual studies of the language of several Latin and Greek literary authors.

Key Publications

(editor) A Companion to the Latin Language (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011).

Indo-European Linguistics (Cambridge, 2007).

(with Geoff Horrocks) The Blackwell History of the Latin Language (Oxford, 2007, corrected paperback edition 2010).

(ed. with A. Boud'hors, C. Louis and P. Sijpesteijn) Monastic Estates in Late Antique and Early Islamic Egypt (American Society of Papyrologists, 2009).

(ed. with Birgit Anette Olsen) Indo-European Word Formation (Copenhagen, 2004).

(ed. with Torsten Meißner) Nominal Composition in Indo-European Languages (=Transactions of the Philological Society  Vol. 100, nos. 2-3. 2002).

The Linguistic Relationship between Armenian and Greek (Oxford, 1994).

RSS Feed Latest news

'The Impact of the Ancient City': PhD Studentship

Dec 02, 2016

Applications are invited for a 3-year fully-funded PhD studentship in the context of the ERC Advanced Grant project, 'The Impact of the Ancient City', supervised by Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill.

Mary Beard addresses Italian parliament

Nov 24, 2016

Mary Beard addresses the Italian parliament (Camera dei Deputati) on the subject of violence against women in Ancient and Modern times, Rome 22 November 2016.

Curator (Maternity Cover)

Nov 18, 2016

The Museum of Classical Archaeology is seeking to appoint a temporary Curator from February 2017. See the Jobs and Vacancies page for further information.

Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship Scheme 2017

Nov 08, 2016

The Classics Faculty welcomes enquiries from potential applicants for the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship Scheme 2017. The scheme provides prestigious three-year fellowships for early career researchers within four years of their PhD viva.

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