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LINGUIST List 20.2937

Tue Sep 01 2009

All: Obituary: G. Nick Clements

Editor for this issue: Catherine Adams <catherinlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Elizabeth Hume, Obituary: G. Nick Clements

Message 1: Obituary: G. Nick Clements
Date: 31-Aug-2009
From: Elizabeth Hume <ehumeling.osu.edu>
Subject: Obituary: G. Nick Clements
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It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of G. Nick
Clements, who died on Sunday, August 30, 2009 in Chatham, Massachusetts
from cancer.

Nick Clements's career as a linguist spanned nearly forty years, during
which time he contributed to our understanding of phonetics, of
phonological theory, and of a range of languages of Africa and Europe.
After receiving his PhD from the School of African and Oriental Studies in
1973 for a study of Ewe syntax, he spent nine years in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, working first at MIT and then at Harvard. He moved to
Cornell University in 1982, where he was professor of Linguistics and
director of the phonetics laboratory. In 1992, he became Directeur de
Recherche at the CNRS in Paris, France, which became the home of his work
from that time forward. He was an invited professor and lecturer around the
world, and taught at many linguistics institutes both in the United States
and abroad. Nick's contributions to the field of linguistics were
innovative and influential, and an inspiration to many. Guided by keen
insights and a rigorous scientific method, his search for the truth about
aspects of language advanced our understanding of the categorization and
organization of phonological features, of African syntax and tone, of vowel
harmony systems, of the phonetics-phonology interface, among many other
topics. His studies were always the epitome of careful research and elegant

Those among us who were honored to have been associated with Nick will
forever remember him as a man of tremendous humility, a sincere and careful
listener, and a creative thinker with the ability to masterfully synthesize
ideas and data so as to bring clarity to some long-standing problem. His
kind and fun-loving spirit touched many, but none more so than the family
he loved: his life partner, Annie Rialland, his children, William and
CĂ©lia, and his brothers, sisters and their families.

I know that I speak for so many in saying that it was an honor and a
privilege to have been associated with such a great man.

Elizabeth Hume
Professor and Chair
Department of Linguistics
The Ohio State University

Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable

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