Dr Richard Waltereit
Reader in French & Romance Linguistics


After graduating from the Université de Poitiers with a Maîtrise ès Lettres, I obtained my Ph.D. from the Free University of Berlin with a thesis on French verb semantics. Subsequently, I joined the University of Tübingen. I was awarded the Habilitation (higher doctorate) degree there. Furthermore I held temporary positions at the Université Paris 7 – Denis Diderot and the University of Konstanz. I have been at Newcastle since January 2006, and was promoted to Reader in 2007.


Roles and Responsibilities

Director of Research

School Research Ethics Convenor

University Council of Modern Languages executive representative for Linguistics


2002 Habilitation, University of Tübingen
1997 Ph.D., Freie Universität Berlin (summa cum laude)
1992 Maîtrise Lettres Modernes, Université de Poitiers (mention très bien)

Previous Positions

2004-2005 Hochschuldozent (fixed-term Senior Lecturer), University of Tübingen
2003-2004 Replacement professorship, University of Konstanz
1999-2000 Maître de conférences, Université Paris 7 Denis Diderot
1998-2004 Wissenschaftlicher Assistent (Fixed-term Lecturer B), University of Tübingen
1997-1998 Wissenschaftlicher Angestellter (Fixed-term Lecturer A), Universität Tübingen
1993-1997 Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter (Fixed-term Lecturer A), Freie Universität Berlin


Association for French Language Studies
Linguistic Association of Great Britain
Société Internationale de Diachronie du Français
Society for Italian Studies
International Pragmatics Association
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft
Deutscher Romanistenverband
Deutscher Italianistenverband

Research Interests

Language change in French and other Romance languages is my main research interest. I am intrigued by the way patterns of language use and communication can shape language structure over time. Specifically, I have worked on grammaticalisation, reanalysis, the rise of discourse markers, and the role of conversational implicatures in language change.

Some of my work is available on my Newcastle e-print pages and on Academia.edu.

Current Work

I am currently interested in the left and the right margin of utterances. It is a basic property of human language that discourse unfolds in time. A logical implication of this is that the left and right margin of utterances neither behave in the same fashion nor are symmetrically opposed. We would thus expect that also language change in the left and right peripheries patterns in a cross-linguistically recurrent fashion.

Research Roles

Lead organiser of Association for French Language Studies annual conference in Newcastle 2012
AHRC Peer Review College Member 2010-2017
AFLS Research Committee Member
Peer reviewer in Linguistics  for Valutazione della Qualità della Ricerca (VQR)
External advisor for a graduate school on Ambiguity at the University of Tübingen

Postgraduate Supervision

Areas of supervision: French linguistics, in particular: semantics and pragmatics, historical linguistics, discourse markers,  Romance linguistics.

Completed PhD co-supervision:

Jo Lumley: Pragmatic perspectives on the second language acquisition of person reference in Japanese: a longitudinal study, 2013.

Pin-Ling (Mavis) Chang: Hegemony and resistance as shown in Critical Discourse Analysis of trainee interpreters from the P.R.C. and Taiwan in Mandarin-English simultaneous interpreting, 2012.

Kevin McManus: The development of aspect in a second language, 2011.

Huan-Li (Stella) Kao: Coherence and audience reception in subtitling with special reference to connectives, 2011.

Esme Winter-Froemel : Entlehnung und Lehnwortintegration aus der Perspektive der Sprachbenutzer (Loans and loanword integration from a usage-based perspective), 2009. 

I am currently supervising one PhD student, and one MLitt student.

Esteem Indicators

I am a member of the Editorial Boards of Revue Romane, Journal of Historical Syntax, and Web Journal of French Media Studies. I have reviewed papers for a number of international journals and book publishers, as well as grant proposals for the AHRC, the Fonds Wetenschapelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen, and the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique. I have been review panelist for many conferences, and I am on the Advisory Boards of Journal of French Language Studies,  Philologie im NetzCahiers AFLS, and the Histoire et évolution du français series .
I have been solicited on numerous occasions to give guest lectures and talks in many countries, as well as plenary lectures at the following international conferences:
New Reflections on Grammaticalization 4, KU Leuven, 2008
2nd International Meeting on Syntax and Semantics and their Interfaces, PUCRS Porto Alegre, 2015

View citations to my work on my  Google Scholar profile .


2010 AHRC Fellowship for project on change in the expression of reflexivity in the history of French
2006 Newcastle University HASS Faculty Futures project award
2005 DFG travel grant for attending a conference in USA
2002 DAAD grant for trip to Brazil
1999-2005 Co-director (Beratender Wissenschaftler): Project on semantic change in body-part terms and on lexical motivation (PI: Peter Koch) as part of Colloborative Research Programme (SFB) Linguistic data structures, University of Tübingen
1993 Ph.D. scholarship, University of Hamburg


Undergraduate Teaching

SML 1019 Introduction to Linguistics
SML2014 An introduction to Italian language and culture (Module leader)
FRE 2061 French Level C General Language
FRE2009 Paris - Aspects of History and Culture
FRE 4014 Historical perspectives on the French language (Module leader)

Postgraduate Teaching

SML 8105 Issues in the diachrony of French (Module leader)
HSS8004 Qualitative methods for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences