LINGUIST List 15.1020

Sat Mar 27 2004

All: Obituary for R.E. MacLaury

Editor for this issue: Sarah Murray <>


  1. Terri Mackeigan, Obituary for R.E. MacLaury

Message 1: Obituary for R.E. MacLaury

Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 09:59:20 -0500 (EST)
From: Terri Mackeigan <>
Subject: Obituary for R.E. MacLaury

We are deeply sorry to announce the death, on February 18 2004, of
Dr. Robert E. MacLaury. 

Rob MacLaury was a scientist and scholar of huge stature, enormous
originality and breathtaking productivity. He began his academic life
as an anthropologist, doing fieldwork in Oaxaca, Mexico, where he
carried out an exhaustive study of phonology, grammar and semantics of
Zapotec languages. Amongst the many publications resulting from this
work was his seminal 1989 paper on the semantics of Zapotec body part
locative terms. 

He gained his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in
1986. Rob became involved in the World Color Survey, based in
Berkeley, and was himself responsible for the Meso-American Color
Survey, culminating in his book ''Color and Cognition in Mesoamerica:
Constructing Categories as Vantages'', published in 1997. Rob's
involvement in research in color perception and language was not
confined to Central America, encompassing also work in Africa, Canada,
New Zealand and American North and Southwest. It was his color
research that provided the spur for the theoretical work that occupied
the last few years of his life. 

Rob MacLaury's name will always be associated with Vantage Theory, an
approach to categorization that significantly extended prototype
theory by incorporating, as its name suggests, speaker vantage point,
entrenched in the semantics of particular languages, into the process
of human categorical perception.

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