Marc Olivier, (PhD Researcher)

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Personal profile


After a baccalauréat in Literature and Drama, I studied a BA in English Studies at Université François Rabelais of Tours, France. During my undergraduate studies, I received training as an EFL teacher in French Secondary Education, where I taught with a tenured teacher. After graduating, I moved to the UK and took on the role of language assistant within the School of Modern Languages at Ulster University. My Masters ended up with a dissertation on the syntax of Old French entitled A diachronic study of proclisis-enclisis alternation on infinitives and imperatives in Old French. After graduating, I started a VCRS-funded PhD under the supervision of Dr Christina Sevdali and Prof Raffaella Folli in order to investigate the syntax of Old French more deeply. 



  • BA English Studies
  • MSc Language & Linguistics
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

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Phd Researcher Profile

Thesis title: On word order issues in the diachrony of French

Thesis abstract: This research focuses on the structure of Old French. As a result of my MSc dissertation – A diachronic study of proclisis-enclisis alternation on infinitives and imperatives in Old French –, I decided to propose a study of clitic placement in Old French. My project is based on the investigation of legal and epistolary texts from different regions of Northern France to contrast findings from literary texts: I investigate historical texts in a quantitative framework in order to study the distribution of clitics. I aim to give a probabilisitc and data-driven language model while integrating gaps in the evolution, due to lack of data for the earliest periods. My research interests lie primarily in the understanding of change, DPs, word order and the creation of syntactic categories. My aim is to focus on the loss of infinitival enclisis and clitic climbing, and other phenomena linked to clitic placement. My corpus study includes texts from the 11th century to the 15th century and my approach falls within the scope of the Minimalist Program. 

Supervisors: Dr Christina Sevdali and Prof Raffaella Folli

Research Interests

Syntax, Generative Theory, DP languages, Change & Variation, Proto-Romance.

Teaching Interests

Linguistic theory - syntax - diachrony - morphology - EFL - French foreign language - translation


  • PC Romance languages
  • French
  • Old French
  • Syntax
  • Word Order
  • Diachrony
  • Generative Syntax
  • Old Romance
  • Variation
  • Historical linguistics

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