Archive for the ‘Linguists’ Category

Zippy’s diary

July 17, 2015

Today’s Zippy:

An eventful life indeed, and this was just one day.


Dead Tongues

July 15, 2015

News from the 2015 Linguistic Institute (at the University of Chicago), from Stephanie Shih: a performance yesterday by Dead Tongues, the (un)official band of Stanford Linguistics. Plus a stunning Lingstitute2015 logo for the band by Stephanie:


Cue the Rolling Stones.


Paul Chapin

July 9, 2015

From the Linguistic Society of America’s website on the 2nd:

In Memoriam: Paul Chapin, 1938-2015

The LSA mourns the July 1, 2015 death of Paul Chapin, LSA member since 1965, Life Member of the Society, Fellow of the LSA (Class of 2008) and former Secretary-Treasurer (2003-2008).


Stanford news: the Sunday NYT

January 22, 2015

Two Stanford linguistics stories in the Sunday (January 18th) New York Times: Tyler Schnoebelen at the American Dialect Society meetings, Will Leben on product naming.


Emmon Bach

December 6, 2014

On Language Log yesterday, an obituary for Emmon Bach (6/12/29 – 11/29/14) by Barbara Partee. Briefly: Emmon was born in Japan, gew up in Fresno CA and Boulder CO, finished a Ph.D. in Germanic Studies at Chicago, went on to German and then Linguistics at UTexas-Austin and ultimately to a long career at UMass-Amherst, and retired to an appointment at SOAS (University of London) and then at Oxford.

From Barbara:

As the Oxford linguists write, “Emmon was one of the brightest and most influential figures in formal semantics, and was also well known for his work on morphology and North American languages [notably those of British Columbia].  He also continued to do innovative research on morphology and semantics”

Now a few more personal notes.


Lives well lived

November 21, 2014

I am currently dithering over writing a death notice for my Stanford colleague Patrick Suppes (philosopher and more), who died recently after a long and immensely satisfying career. Mostly I’m hoping that Margalit Fox will produce one of her elegant and thoughtful obits for the New York Times, so that I can piggy-back on that. [Added a few hours later: Drat! Fox tells me she’s on leave from the paper, working on her next book, so no Foxobits for a while.]

While I dither, a few notes on recently-ended lives well lived (Mike Nichols, Milton Rubin, and San Francisco’s Brown twins), and on Fox, who is, yes, a card-carrying linguist.


Family, language, and food in the New Yorker

November 4, 2014

The November 3rd New Yorker (“The Food Issue”) has two pieces connected, by family relationships, to “linguistics and the language sciences” (as we say in the AAAS): Adam Gopnik’s Our Local Correspondents piece “Bakeoff: What is happening to our pastry?” and Dana Goodyear’s Letter from California piece “Élite Meat: A food entrepreneur offers a delicious — but pricey — solution for guilty pleasures”, about meat entrepreneur Anya Fernald. The former leads us to McGill linguist Myrna Gopnik (mother of Adam) and Berkeley psychologist, specializing in cognitive and language development, Alison Gopnik (sister of Adam); and the latter to Stanford psychologist, specializing in infant-directed speech, Anne Fernald (mother of Anya).


Geoff Leech

August 30, 2014

Died on August 19th, linguist Geoffrey Leech of Lancaster University (in the UK). The quick overview from Wikipedia:

Geoffrey Neil Leech (16 January 1936 – 19 August 2014) was a specialist in English language and linguistics. He was the author, co-author or editor of over 30 books and over 120 published papers. His main academic interests were English grammar, corpus linguistics, stylistics, pragmatics and semantics.

A nice notice on Language Log by Ben Zimmer on the 20th, emphasizing the importance of Geoff’s work in corpus linguistics.


Linguist in the media

May 13, 2014

In the SundayReview section of the NYT on the 11th (in print), an interview by Kate Murphy with my friend and colleague Dan Jurafsky. The lead-in:

Daniel Jurafsky is a professor of linguistics and computer science at Stanford. He teaches a popular freshman seminar course called “The Language of Food,” which is also the title of his forthcoming book.

These Sunday interviews are all a single column (on p. 2), with some fixed topics and some designed for the interviewee’s experiences, opinions, and enthusiasms.


Bibliographic query

April 15, 2014

Recently, mail from my friend and occasional co-author Philip Miller (Univ.of Paris Diderot – Paris 7), about my former student Nancy S. Levin, whose 1979 Ohio State dissertation (Main-Verb Ellipsis in Spoken English) was published by Garland Press in 1986). Philip admired the work, and I’m very proud of it.

Unfortunately, Nancy left the academic world some years ago, and I’ve lost track of her. If anyone can help me (and Philip) get in touch with her, we’d appreciate that.

Meanwhile, Philip is hoping to get a copy of Nancy’s 1978 Chicago Linguistics Society paper “Some identity of sense deletions puzzle me. Do they you?”. I have a copy of the volume, but in a place where at the moment I’m not able to get to it. If anyone could supply him with one, that would be wonderful. Mail him at to discuss arrangements.

I’ll post this query to the Linguist List as well as here.

[Added 4/16/14: The wonders of the net. First, from one reader I got a possible line on Nancy Sue Levin, which I need to check out; it could be someone else with this name. Second, another reader had the volume with the article Philip was looking for, copied it, and sent the copy on to Philip. All this before I got to posting to the Linguist List.

Many thanks to these two readers.]


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