About this Fellow
Patrick Sims-Williams has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 1996. His research is focused on ancient and medieval Celtic language, literature and history. From 1977 to 1993 he was a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, before becoming Professor of Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth University in 1994. He is the founding editor and publisher of ‘Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies’ (1981-), renamed ‘Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies’ in 1993, and also publishes its related book series: see www.cmcspublications.com. Between 1998 and 2008 he served on the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales and he is the current President of the International Congress of Celtic Studies (since 2011). He directs the British Academy project ‘The Development of the Welsh Language/Datblygiad yr Iaith Gymraeg’ (2007-), and has directed eight other collaborative research projects funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2), the AHRC (4), and the Modern Humanities Research Association (2). His work has won the 1992 Sir Israel Gollancz Prize (British Academy), for Religion and Literature in Western England, 600-800; the 1999 Antiquity Prize, for the ‘Best Paper’ in 1998 (‘Genetics, Linguistics and Prehistory: Thinking Big and Thinking Straight’, ‘Antiquity’, 72 (1998), 505-27); the 2007 G. T. Clark Award (Cambrian Archaeological Association), for ‘The Celtic Inscriptions of Britain: Phonology and Chronology’, c. 400-1200; and the 2011 Vernam Hull Prize, for ‘Irish Influence on Medieval Welsh Literature’.
- Emeritus Professor of Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth University
- Assistant Lecturer, Lecturer, and Reader in Celtic and Anglo-Saxon, University of Cambridge, 1977 - 1993
- Professor of Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth University, 1994 - 2016
British Academy Appointments
- Member of Council, 2012 - 2015
Historical linguistics; semantic change, cognitive and interactional pragmatics; theories of grammaticalisation and construction grammar
Phonology, morphology, historical linguistics, metrics, and the Sanskrit grammatical tradition. The relation between word structure and sentence structure, and the principles governing language change.
Sociolinguistics; language change in multilingual urban centres, adolescent language, language & education, syntactic & discourse variation, syntax of spoken English.
An anthropologist linguist. In addition to primary work recording the endangered indigenous languages of Australia & New Guinea, he has written widely on their implications for linguistics, cognitive science, anthropology, prehistory & other fields