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Professor James Clackson

Professor James Clackson

Professor of Comparative Philology

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.

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; Sabine glosses in ancient texts; 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

Language and Society in the Greek and Roman Worlds (Cambridge University Press, 2015)

(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).

Upcoming events

Meet the Greeks

Aug 20, 2018

Cast Gallery, Museum of Classical Archaeology

The Fastest Feet in the World

Aug 21, 2018

Cast Gallery, Museum of Classical Archaeology

Upcoming events

RSS Feed Latest news

Second CREWS Conference: Call for Papers

Jun 27, 2018

We are pleased to announce the second CREWS conference, to take place Thursday 14th – Saturday 16th of March 2019. ‘Exploring the Social and Cultural Contexts of Historic Writing Systems’ aims to look at writing systems’ place in society and culture.

The Cambridge Philological Society Prize 2019 and 2020

Jun 27, 2018

The Cambridge Philological Society is pleased to announce the establishment of a prize for the best submitted article by a graduate student or early-career researcher.

Research Associate (Assistant Editor, Oxford History of the Archaic Greek World)

Jun 22, 2018

Details of how to apply for this one year fixed term post are now available online, Closing date 23 July 2018.

Life After Classics: alumni profiles

Jun 20, 2018

Our Classics alumni give us an insight into their lives after studying Classics at Cambridge.

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