University of Calgary

Robert Murray

  • Professor Emeritus of Languages - Linguistics - Literatures & Cultures

Research Interests

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


My areas of specialization include historical linguistics, phonology, and the Germanic languages. I am interested in sound change, especially in the Germanic languages generally and in English in particular. Lately I have also taken an interest in the historiography of our discipline. A major project during my stays (2009-2014) as an External Senior Fellow at the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (FRIAS) involved the translation and critical discussion of selected portions Hermann Paul's Prinzipien der Sprachgeschichte (see publications below, Auer & Murray 2015). Hermann Paul is a renowned late 19th century scholar and the Neogrammarians' most impressive theoretician.

I also had the great pleasure of serving for 10 years (2004-2014) as editor of the Journal of Germanic Linguistics, published for the Society of Germanic Linguistics by Cambridge University Press.

I wish here to gratefully acknowledge the research support and funding I have received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (two Standard Research Grants, 2001-2004 and 2006-2009), the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies (External Senior Fellow), the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (doctoral scholarship, faculty research stay), and a Killam Resident Fellowship at the University of Calgary. 



Auer, Peter, & Robert W. Murray (eds.). 2015. Hermann Paul's Principles of "Language History" Revisited: Translations and Reflections. [Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies, Linguae & Litterae.] Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 

1988. Phonological Strength and Early Germanic Syllable Structure. Munich: Fink.


Journals Edited

2004-2014. Journal of Germanic Linguistics 16.4-26.4. Published for the Society for Germanic Linguistics by Cambridge University Press. [I served as Editor and Chair of the Editorial Committee for this period. I am now Consulting Editor.]


 [For all items below, I am sole author unless otherwise indicated.]

Chapters (* = refereed; ** = invited and reviewed)

**2015. In the beginning was the sound image. Paul's theory of sound change. In Auer & Murray 2015, 257-290. (See Books above.)

**2015. The early history of historical phonology. In The Handbook of Historical Phonology, ed. by Patrick Honeybone & Joseph C. Salmons Oxford: Oxford University Press, 11-31.

**2012. Old English phonology. In Historical Linguistics of English: An International Handbook, ed. by Alexander Bergs & Laurel Brinton, 255-273. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

**2010. Language and space. The neogrammarian tradition. In Language and Space. An International Handbook of Linguistic Variation, ed. by Peter Auer & Jürgen Erich Schmidt, 70-87. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

**2006a. Historical linguistics in the age of structuralism. In History of the Language Sciences, ed. by Sylvain Auroux, Konrad Koerner, Hans J. Niederehe, & Kees Versteegh, 2430-2446. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 

**2006b. Modern theories of linguistic change: An overview. In History of the Language Sciences, ed. by Sylvain Auroux, Konrad Koerner, Hans J. Niederehe, & Kees Versteegh, 2479-2500. New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 

2004. Language change. In Encyclopedia of Linguistics, ed. by Philipp Strazny. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn. 

**2002a. Accents and medieval English phonologists. In Sounds and Systems: Studies in Structure and Change. A Festschrift for Theo Vennemann, ed. by David Restle & Dietmar Zaefferer, 91-120. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

**2002b. Syllable cut prosody in early Modern English: John Hart's testimony. In Silbenschnitt und Tonakzente, ed. by Peter Auer, Peter Gilles, & Helmut Spiekermann, 103-127. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.

**2000. Historical linguistics. In Contemporary Linguistic Analysis: An Introduction, ed. by William O'Grady & John Archibald (4th rev. edn), 262-316. Toronto: Addison Wesley Longman. 

*1995. Phonologically-based morphological change: High vowel deletion and paradigmatic implications in Old English. In Historical Linguistics 1993, ed. by Henning Andersen, 323-336. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

**In press[?]. Paradoxes, Probabilities, and Preferences: The Luickian Edifice Revisited, noch einmal. In A Festschrift for Raimo Anttila, ed. by Sheila Embleton. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 


Articles (* = refereed; ** = invited)

*2000. Syllable cut prosody in early Middle English. Language 76. 617-654.

*1998. Old problems, new approaches, and optimizing preferences: A reply to Ham. Journal of Comparative Germanic Linguistics 3. 221-237.

**1995. Orm's phonological-orthographic interface and quantity in early Middle English. Amsterdamer Beiträge zur älteren Germanistik 42.125-147. 

**1994. Murray, Robert W., & Naomi Cull. Proto-Romance and the origin of the Romance languages. Lingvisticæ Investigationes 13. 427-432. 

*1993. PGmc. *VCjV: A response to Barrack. American Journal of Germanic Languages and Linguistics 5. 1-27. 

*1992. Sound change, preferences, and explanation: A response to Picard. Lingvisticæ Investigationes 16. 421-441.

*1992. Phonological drift in early English. Indogermanische Forschungen 97. 122-144.

*1991. Early Germanic syllable structure revisited. Diachronica 8. 201-238.

*1989. On epenthesis. Folia Linguistica 23. 293-316.

*1989. The distributional approach to syllable structure. Revue québécoise de linguistique 18. 151-170.

*1988. The shortening of stressed long vowels in Old English. Diachronica 5. 73-107.

*1987. Preference laws and gradient change: Selected developments in Romance. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 32. 1-18.

1987. Nuclear phonology and aspiration and flapping in English. Calgary Working Papers in Linguistics 13. 27-41.

*1986. Urgermanische Silbenstruktur und die westgermanische Konsonantengemination. Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur 108. 333-356.

*1985. Phonological strength and preferred syllable structure. Language Research 21. 479-501.

*1983. Murray, Robert W., & Theo Vennemann. Sound change and syllable structure in Germanic phonology. Language 59. 514-528. 

*1982. Consonant cluster developments in Pali. Folia Linguistica Historica 3. 163-184.

*1982. Murray, Robert W., & Theo Vennemann. Syllable contact change in Germanic, Greek, and Sidamo. Klagenfurter Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft 8. 321-349. 


Reviews (invited)

2009. Review of Word Frequency and Lexical Diffusion, by Betty S. Phillips. Language 85. 487-490.

2001. Review of Phonology and Morphology of the Germanic Languages, ed. by Wolfgang Kehrein & Richard Wiese. (Linguistische Arbeiten 386.) Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Journal of Germanic Linguistics 13. 83-88. 

1994. Review of Phonotaktisch gesteuerte Konsonantenveränderungen in der Geschichte des Englischen, by Angelika Lutz. (Linguistische Arbeiten 272.) Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. Word 45. 225-235. 

1992. Review of Über Aspiration. Ein Kapitel aus der natürlichen Phonologie, by Bernhard Hurch. (Ergebnisse und Methoden moderner Sprachwissenschaft 23.) Tübingen: Gunter Narr. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 37. 455-459.



  • DrPhil
    Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, 1984
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