Death notices

A colleague and I have been wrestling with the question of death notices on Language Log. We have somewhat different notions of what LLog should be, and in my colleague’s estimation, death notices are inappropriate, though (regrettably, to this friend’s mind) the LLoggers have posted a number of them.

As a contribution to the discussion, here’s my list of obit postings on new LLog and this blog; you can find the links by searching on the posting titles. (My own are boldfaced.)

New LLog:

Vi Hulbert (BPo)
Michael Noonan (AZ)
Eleanor Harz Jorden (AZ)
Yuki Kuroda (AZ)
Venetia Phair, namer of Pluto (AZ)
Richard Allsop (BZ)
Nick Clements (EB)
William Safire (BZ)
Dell Hymes (ST, RS)
Manfred Shroeder (ML)
Martin Gardner (ML)
Gösta Bruce (ML)
James J. Kilpatrick (AZ)
Edwin Newman (GN)
Partha Niyogi (ML)
Ellen Prince (ML)
Fred Jelinek (ML)
Ilse Lehiste (AZ)
Bill Shipley (EB)
Max Mathews (ML)

AZBlog (including artists, scientists, scholars, other cultural figures):

Some deaths (incl. George Williams)
Objects of desire (Sylvia Sleigh)
Some deaths of 2010 (incl. Philippa Foot)
Owsley Stanley
George Tooker
Thomas Eisner
Manning Marable
Robert Vickrey
Phoebe Snow
Four deaths (incl. Harold Garfinkel and Kate Swift)

On this blog, I have the liberty of talking about things that have in some way affected me personally, rather than always seeing myself as representing linguistics to non-linguists.

2 Responses to “Death notices”

  1. Greg Morrow Says:

    I have appreciated LL’s obituaries — many deeply laudatory and often personal. Whatever LL is, I cannot believe that it succeeds less in its mission when it is human enough to care about the people who pursue the science and appreciate their contributions.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      I agree with you, but not all LLoggers take this view. Some think that obituaries are entirely inappropriate in a little magazine on linguistics for (mostly) non-linguists, as are postings that merely report on stories in the press that have to do with language. (We get occasional slams for “failing to cover” this story or that, as if we were a press agency. Several times I’ve gotten e-mail from people crowing about having “scooped” LLog on some story.) Some of these same people think that postings about what LLog is about are also beyond the pale — which is why I now post on these matters here, rather than on LLog itself (and that means I also avoid the stream of comments, some bordering on abusive, that attend such postings in LLog).

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