Will Oxford

Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Manitoba


will.oxford@umanitoba.ca ▪ 545 Fletcher Argue Building ▪ he/him


I hold a PhD in linguistics from the University of Toronto. I do theoretical and descriptive research on syntax and morphology, usually involving the Algonquian languages and often from a comparative perspective, with an emphasis on agreement and morphosyntactic alignment. My fieldwork experience includes Innu, Ojibwe, Cree, and Oji-Cree (Algonquian) as well as Kapampangan and Ilocano (Philippine). I supervise MA and PhD students in theoretical syntax and Algonquian linguistics. For more information about my research and teaching, see my CV (last update July 2023).

Algonquian linguistics

I've posted some Algonquian linguistics materials that I have prepared, including a glossary, bibliography, maps, and Proto-Algonquian verb paradigms.


Research projects and selected papers

Jump to: Direct-inverse | Agreement | Grammatical relations | Inflection | Language description | Phonology | Other

Direct-inverse systems

Much of my research has sought to understand the nature of the direct-inverse agreement pattern in Algonquian languages. In 2016-19 I held a SSHRC Insight Development Grant titled Structure and Change in Direct-Inverse Systems with collaborator Heather Bliss.

Agreement and hierarchies

The theoretical work below uses Algonquian data to investigate the structural sources of variation in agreement patterns and person hierarchies.

Grammatical relations

I'm also interested in the concept of structural subjecthood. What is a subject? How does the determination of subjecthood vary across languages? Are some subjects more "subject-like" than others?

Realization of inflectional morphology

The following papers consider the role of operations such as fission and impoverishment in the determination of inflectional syncretisms and morphological templates.

Language description

I have been involved in the documentation and description of Algonquian languages since conducting fieldwork for a dictionary project in the Innu Nation in 2006. My more recent descriptive work takes a pan-Algonquian perspective.


These papers take a diachronically-informed perspective on the role of contrast and syllable structure in phonological patterns.


Miscellaneous side-projects, including one on English (!)