The Annual Lecture of the Jesus Professor of Celtic, Oxford


On Thursday 24th June at 5pm Professor David Willis will deliver the first annual lecture of the series since his appointment as Jesus Professor of Celtic at the University of Oxford.

Professor David Willis

The lecture will be entitled ‘Digital methods and Middle Welsh dialects’ and will be delivered in Welsh with simultaneous translation into English.

Professor Willis, a specialist of historical linguistics and in theoretical and dialect syntax, working primarily on material from Celtic languages, said:

Literary scholars and historians have often held the view that medieval Wales had a standard written language that obscured the dialect differences of the spoken language. Dialectologists and other linguists on the other hand have succeeded in identifying the roots of modern dialects in Middle Welsh texts.

This lecture will look at how current digital and statistical methods can be used to extend this work, revealing a wealth of dialect diversity whose significance can now be established with ever greater certainty.”

The lecture is part of the strategic alliance between the University of Wales, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Jesus College Oxford based on the expertise of the Centre of Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies as well as the University's Lampeter provision.

Professor Elin Haf Gruffydd Jones, Director of the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies said:

“We very much look forward to Professor Willis’s lecture, the first in a new series of annual lectures given by the Jesus Chair of Celtic as part of the close collaboration between CAWCS and Jesus College through the strategic alliance.”

Professor Medwin Hughes DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David added:

“I’m delighted to welcome Professor David Wills to deliver the inaugural lecture as the incumbent of Sir John Rhys’ Chair of Celtic at Jesus College Oxford.  

The strategic alliance with Jesus College builds on the long tradition that has existed between Wales and Oxford and offers us the unique opportunity to build academic collaboration between the institutions for the benefit of Celtic Studies and the Welsh language at the highest international level”.


The lecture will be held in Welsh with simultaneous translation into English on Thursday, 24 June 2021, at 5.00 pm. Email to receive the Zoom link.

Note to Editor

The Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies (CAWCS) was established by the University of Wales in 1985 as a dedicated research centre conducting team-based projects on the languages, literatures, culture and history of Wales and the other Celtic countries. It is located in Aberystwyth, adjacent to the National Library of Wales, which is an internationally-renowned copyright library with excellent research facilities.

CAWCS is home to the University of Wales Dictionary of the Welsh language

CAWCS collaborates with universities, research institutes, organizations and communities across the world in its specialist areas, namely: Early Celtic Linguistics, the Enlightenment and Romanticism, Wales in the Middle Ages, Contemporary Connections between the Celtic Countries, literary translation, Place Name Studies, Lexicography and Language Planning.

CAWCS works offers unique opportunities for postgraduate students to work alongside specialists in a dynamic and supportive environment. We welcome enquiries about MPhil/PhD topics in any of our research areas. For more information about research opportunities, or for an informal chat about possible topics, contact our Head of Graduate Studies, Dr Elizabeth Edwards:

CAWCS website: 


Further Information

Contact: Dr Angharad Elias 01970 636543