Breaking news!

In the Speculative Grammarian, this news flash:

Zwicky Unretires Again
SpecGram Wire Services

(SpecGram — Wikipedia entry here, homepage here — describes itself as the “premier scholarly journal featuring research in the neglected field of satirical linguistics.”)

The story in full:

Auburn, ALABAMA—Some linguists see retirement as a relief from the stress of performing at the highest level of intercollegiate academics. They prefer to let their journal subscriptions lapse, lock their offices for the last time, and relax on a remote beach.

Not Arnold Zwicky.

Auburn University announced today that the famed linguist is coming out of retirement for a second time, this time to try his hand at competition in the SEC [the Southeastern Conference for collegiate sports].

“I’m just thankful to Auburn for giving me a chance to show that I can still compete at the highest level,” Zwicky said.

Fans may have some doubts about this possibility. After dominating the Big Ten conference for a generation at Ohio State, Zwicky seemed to be on the downside of a hall-of-fame career, and his brief retirement in 1995 seemed to be well-timed. His fans were delighted when he quickly had a change of heart, ended his retirement, and signed with PAC10 [Pacific-10 conference for collegiate sports — now the PAC-12] power Stanford. Though he had slowed somewhat, he remained an important role player for the Cardinal for several more years.

Zwicky’s latest retirement from Stanford followed a season in which he published very little, due to unspecified injuries, and it looked like he was relinquishing his last editorial position for good when he retired for a second time in 2010.

Auburn Academic Director Bryan “Buddy” Jones [Auburn is genuinely in the SEC, and it has an Athletics Director (Jay Jacobs), but the office of Academic Director is a SpecGram invention] issued a statement welcoming Zwicky out of retirement again. “Auburn Linguistics is on the verge of making a huge impact in the SEC, and we feel that Zwicky’s experience and leadership will push us to the top of the conference standings this year.”

The addition of Zwicky in a year when the SEC was expected to be less competitive on the national stage adds an interesting twist to Academic Linguistics. If Zwicky can stay healthy, he makes Auburn a favorite in the SEC race and possibly even a national contender.

I do in fact have a familial connection to Auburn University: my late brother-in-law, Bill Transue, taught math there for many years, and my sister-in-law Virginia still lives in town. In addition, John Heilman, professor of political science at Auburn and a friend from my teenage years, retired a few years ago as provost of the university.

As for the breaking news: You read it here first.

(Hat tip to Ben Zimmer.)


One Response to “Breaking news!”

  1. Gregory Stump Says:

    Arnold Zwicky in the SEC; it’s about time. SECOL’s in Lexington next spring; hope to see you there!

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