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Did the ancient Greeks and Romans do historical linguistics?

last modified Feb 08, 2021 03:26 PM
This year’s annual J H Gray Lecture will be delivered virtually by Philomen Probert, Professor of Classical Philology and Linguistics, University of Oxford and a Fellow of Wolfson College.

The J H Gray Lectureship was endowed in 1926 by a gift of £1,000 from the Cambridge University Rugby Union Football Club to commemorate the services of the Reverend Canon Joseph Henry Gray as President of the Club since 1895. Canon Gray (1856-1932) was Fellow and Vice-President of Queens’ College, author of school editions of Roman Comedy and Provincial Grand Master for the Freemasons (1915–32). It was Canon Gray's wish that the income of the fund should be at the disposal of the Faculty of Classics to provide lectures, or courses of lectures, on subjects not adequately catered for in the regular lecture cycle.  The first set of J H Gray Lectures were given in 1928.

Philomen Probert is a leading authority on the accentuation of the Classical languages and on the syntax of relative clauses in early Indo-European languages.  Her latest book, Latin Grammarians on the Latin Accent, is a fascinating account of how Roman grammarians adapted Greek thought to the description of the Latin language.

On Tuesday 9 March Philomen will speak on ‘Did the ancient Greeks do historical linguistics?’, followed by a second lecture on Thursday 11 March on ‘Did the Romans do historical linguistics?’. Both will be livestreamed at 5pm.

Professor Probert will also deliver a seminar on ‘κακῶς λέγεις: how did Greek grammarians argue?’ on Wednesday 10 March at 2pm.

The lectures are open to all members of the University and others who are interested.  To register your interest please contact us at .

2021 J H Gray Lectures poster

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