Lecturer in Linguistics

Richard Ashdowne


  • From 2011-14 I was the final Editor of the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources, seeing this hundred-year-old project through to completion.

  • I am in interested in all aspects of how languages work and especially in how languages change over time. As well as Latin of the medieval period I work on Latin throughout its history and its modern-day descendants.

  • in addition to teaching linguistics, I have a particular interest in the teaching of Latin and ancient Greek, and am a regular tutor at the JACT Greek Summer School.

Richard Ashdowne


I oversee the linguistics course for Modern Languages and Linguistics (MLL) students at Trinity. The first-year linguistics course involves three broad subject areas and I give classes and tutorials for two of these (Grammatical Analysis and General Linguistics) to accompany the lectures provided by the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics; the third (Phonetics and Phonology) is taught through faculty lectures and classes. In the second and final years of the MLL course I teach the compulsory core paper in General Linguistics. I also give tutorials for the Historical Linguistics, and History and Structure of French papers for MLL and other students at Trinity and other colleges who have chosen these options. I also teach for three other colleges in linguistics or classical languages.

Richard Ashdowne researching


I am interested in all aspects of how languages work and change. The focus of my research has been on Latin and the Romance languages, and I have particular interests in lexical semantics (the meanings of words) and pragmatics (the use of language in context).

Earlier in my career I spent six years as a lexicographer of British medieval Latin. I have written about the process of lexicography in various publications and I am on the advisory board for the Anglo-Norman Dictionary project. I still retain a strong interest in the use of the Latin language in the medieval period in Britain and its relationship to the other languages of the British Isles, most recently investigating how medieval Latin texts may preserve the oldest or even only evidence for items of English vocabulary.

Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources

Selected Publications

-mannus makyth man(n)? Latin as an indirect source for English lexical history’ in L. Wright (ed.), The Multilingual Origins of Standard English (De Gruyter: Berlin/Boston, 2020), 411-441

Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources (rev. ed.), ed. R. K. Ashdowne, D. R. Howlett & R. E. Latham (British Academy/OUP: London, 2018) [The introduction is available as a free download here]

Latin in Medieval Britain, ed. R. Ashdowne & C. White (British Academy/OUP: London, 2017)

Word of Mouth (2017) (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08lh6r1)

Address Systems’ in A. Ledgeway & M. Maiden (eds.), The Oxford Guide to the Romance Languages (OUP: Oxford, 2016), 897-906

Dictionaries of Dead Languages’ in P. Durkin (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Lexicography (OUP: Oxford, 2015), 350-66

Richard Ashdowne & James Morwood, Writing Latin (Duckworth/Bristol Classical Press, 2007)

Modern Languages and Linguistics
Dr Ashdowne

How things are said is as fascinating as what things are said.