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LINGUIST List 21.4283

Wed Oct 27 2010

All: In Memoriam: Ellen F. Prince

Editor for this issue: Elyssa Winzeler <elyssalinguistlist.org>


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        1.     Anthony Kroch , In Memoriam: Ellen F. Prince

Message 1: In Memoriam: Ellen F. Prince
Date: 27-Oct-2010
From: Anthony Kroch <krochchange.ling.upenn.edu>
Subject: In Memoriam: Ellen F. Prince
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It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our colleague Ellen
F. Prince. Ellen died peacefully at home in Philadelphia on Sunday, October
24, after a long battle with cancer.

After earning her doctorate in linguistics at the University of
Pennsylvania in 1974, Ellen joined the faculty of the Penn Linguistics
Department in the same year. She taught here until her retirement in 2005
and served as chair of our department from 1993 to 1997. Ellen was also
active in the affairs of the Linguistic Society of America, serving on the
executive committee and in many other capacities. She was noted for her
interdisciplinary perspective and held a secondary appointment in Penn's
Computer and Information Sciences Department. Among her many honors were
the Presidency of the Linguistic Society of America in 2008 and election as a
Fellow of the AAAS in 2009.

A pioneer in linguistic pragmatics, Ellen worked on her own and with many
colleagues and students on various aspects of the subject. Several of her
incisive and tightly argued papers became classics in the field. She is
perhaps best known for her typology of information statuses in discourse,
based on the study of naturally-occurring data; but she also devoted major
efforts to the study of the pragmatic functions of syntactic constructions,
including the various species of cleft and left-periphery constructions,
including topicalization and left-dislocation. She had a particular
interest in Yiddish and used her knowledge of that language to do
ground-breaking work on the cross-linguistic comparison of the pragmatic
functions of syntactic constructions. In later years, she continued her
work on the referential status of noun phrases in the framework of
centering theory, as developed by colleagues Aravind Joshi, Scott Weinstein
and Barbara Grosz.

Ellen was an inspirational and caring teacher, imparting high intellectual
standards while at the same time providing solid support and mentoring to
her many students. We missed her acutely when she retired from our
department; she will be even more sorely missed now and for years to come.

Friends, colleagues and students who would like to remember Ellen Prince by
making a charitable donation are asked to donate to the American Lung
Association (http://www.lungusa.org/donate/).

Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable

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