Alexander Vovin specializes in Japanese historical linguistics (with emphasis on etymology, morphology, and phonology), and Japanese philology of the Nara period (710–792), and to a lesser extent of the Heian period (792–1192). His most current and ambitious project involves the complete academic translation into English of the Man'yōshū (ca. 759), the earliest and the largest premodern Japanese poetic anthology, alongside the critical edition of the original text and commentaries. He also researched the moribund Ainu language in northern Japan, and worked on Inner Asian languages, especially those only preserved in Chinese transcription, as well as on Old and Middle Korean texts.
Vovin, Alexander (2003). A Reference Grammar of Classical Japanese Prose. London: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN0-7007-1716-1.
Vovin, Alexander (2005). A Descriptive and Comparative Grammar of Western Old Japanese: Part 1: Sources, Script and Phonology, Lexicon and Nominals. Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental. ISBN1-901903-14-1.
Vovin, Alexander (2006). The Manchu-Tungusic Languages. Richmond: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN978-0-7007-1284-7.
Vovin, Alexander (2008). Korea-Japonica: A Re-evaluation of a Common Genetic Origin. Hawaii studies on Korea. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN978-0-8248-3278-0.
Vovin, Alexander (2009). A Descriptive and Comparative Grammar of Western Old Japanese: Part 2: Adjectives, Verbs, Adverbs, Conjunctions, Particles, Postpositions. Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental. ISBN978-1-905246-82-3.
Vovin, Alexander (2009). Man'yoshu Volume 15: A New English Translation Containing the Original Text, Kana Transliteration, Romanization, Glossing and Commentary. Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental. ISBN978-1-906876-03-6.