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LINGUIST List 23.3405

Tue Aug 14 2012

All: Obituary: Henry Honken

Editor for this issue: Kristen Dunkinson <kristenlinguistlist.org>

Date: 13-Aug-2012
From: Chris Collins <cc116nyu.edu>
Subject: Obituary: Henry Honken
E-mail this message to a friend

It is with great sadness that we report the passing away of the linguist
Henry J. Honken at the age of 74 on June 25, 2012 at the Indianhead
Medical Center in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.

Henry's main contributions were in the field of historical Khoisan
linguistics. Henry was an amateur linguist, in the sense that he never
received any linguistics degrees. However, in spite of this lack of formal
training, he made significant contributions to the field. Henry was also a
science fiction author and published several popular works with a
linguistic focus.

Henry Honken was born in Jefferson City, Mo., on April 6, 1938 to
Edith Marsalek and Henry D. Honken. He served two years in the
United States Army from 1961-1963 as a medical specialist at Fort
Belvoir, Virginia. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in
1966 with a major in anthropology and a minor in linguistics. Then, he
spent two years in Japan, teaching English to Japanese students in a
juku. He worked for many years as sales coordinator for Yasutomo and
Company, an import-export company based in San Francisco, until his
retirement, when he moved to Sarona, Wisconsin in 2005.

One of Henry's accomplishments was his career long documentation of
the similarities between ǂHoã (spoken south of the Khutse game
reserve in Botswana) and the northern Ju languages (northern
Botswana, northern Namibia and Southern Angola) (see Honken 1977,
1988, 2004, Heine and Honken 2010). Although the possible
connection between ǂHoã and the northern Khoisan languages had
been discussed briefly in the literature (see Traill 1973, 1974, Westphal
1974), Henry was the first person to work it out systematically. In large
part through his efforts, the new Khoisan linguistic family Kx'a has been
widely accepted (see Heine and Honken 2010). At the time of his
death, he had been working on the 421 page manuscript "ǂHoã as a
Northern Khoesan Language".

In addition to his work on establishing the language family Kx'a, Henry
did work in many other areas of Khoisan linguistics. He was putting
together a grammar and dictionary of the extinct South African
language ǁXegwi (a language of the !Ui family previously spoken in
South Africa) from unpublished notes of various South African linguists.
Of note also is his work on fused loans (Honken 2006). A perpetual
problem in establishing historical relations amongst the Khoisan
languages is the question of whether a shared lexical item is a
borrowing or a cognate derived from a shared historical source. In
Honken 2006, cases are investigated where a phrase or a complex
word are borrowed from Khoekhoe into other Khoisan languages.
These cases show clearly that borrowing has taken place, and also
show the direction of the borrowing. Honken 2008 was a significant
contribution towards the reconstruction of the Khoe (Central Khoisan)

Henry had a very special intellect that shows through in his papers. He
was wildly resourceful in finding interesting new data, owing in part to
his grasp of a vast amount of primary literature (grammars, dictionaries,
unpublished field notes). He worked on all the different Khoisan
language families (!Ui, Taa, Kx'a, Khoe) and had a deep knowledge of
all of them. Henry died at the zenith of his career. He had several
important unpublished manuscripts that he was working on, many in
collaboration with other Khoisan scholars. Although he started his
career with the assumption common at the time that Khoisan
constituted a single family, near the end he was part of a general
movement toward building up Khoisan language classification from the
bottom up, in a more careful and traditional manner (see Honken 2004,

As a science fiction author, he published under the pseudonym Sam
Cash. He also had an interest in popularizing the field of linguistics,
and wrote some of his articles on Khoisan.

Chris Collins
Bonny Sands

List of Publications

As Sam Cash

Cash, Sam. 2005. Alienation. Wondrous Web Worlds, vol. 8. ed. J. Alan
Erwine. Cedar Rapids, IA: Sam's Dot Publishing.

Cash, Sam. 2006. Language in Burroughsland 67. Brandon, MB
(Canada): Burroughs Bibliophiles.

Cash, Sam. 2010. Yelloween. Crossed Genres 20: Lies, July 2010. ed.
Bart R. Leib, K. T. Holt. Somerville, MA: Crossed Genres Publications.

Popular linguistics

Honken, Henry. May 2007. I Couldn't Read You, E.T. Analog Science
Fiction and Fact vol. 127.5, pgs. 41-53.

Honken, Henry. May 2008. Strange Croaks and Ghastly Aspirations.
Analog Science Fiction and Fact vol. 128.5, pgs. 37-46.

Honken, Henry. March 2009. From Token to Script: The Origin of
Cuneiform. Analog Science Fiction and Fact vol. 129.3, pgs. 24-33.

Hoken, Henry. June 2010. Der Mann, Die Frau, Das Kind. Analog
Science Fiction and Fact vol. 130.6, pgs. 34-40.

Khoisan Linguistics

Honken, Henry. 1977. Submerged features and Proto-Khoisan.
Khoisan Linguistic Studies, 3. ed. Anthony Traill. Communications from
the African Studies Institute, no 6. University of the Witwatersrand.
Johannesburg. pp. 145-169.

Honken, Henry. 1977. Change of word order in Zu|'hõasi. Bushman
and Hottentot Linguistic Studies. (papers of seminar held on 25
October 1975). ed. J.W. Snyman. (A.S.I. communication, no. 2). African
Studies Institute of University of Witwatersrand Communication 2.
Johannesburg. University of Witwatersrand. pp. 1-10.

Honken, H. 1979. Internal reconstruction in Zu|hòãsì. Khoisan
Linguistic Studies, 5: 1-7. Johannesburg: Dept. of Linguistics,
University of the Witwatersrand.

Honken, H. 1984. Word groups in the click languages. Newsletter
(African Language Association of Southern Africa. Khoisan Special
Interest Group), 2: 6-8.

Honken, H. 1988. Phonetic correspondences among Khoisan
affricates. New Perspectives on the Study of Khoisan. ed. Rainer
Vossen. Quellen zur Khoisan-Forchung, 7. Hamburg. H. Buske. pp. 47-

Honken, Henry. 1998. Types of sound correspondence patterns in
Khoisan languages. Language, Identity, and Conceptualization among
the Khoisan. ed. Mathias Schladt. Quellen zur Khoisan-Forschung 15.
Köln: Rüdiger Köppe. pp. 171-191.

Honken, H. 2006. Fused loans in Khoesan. Pula, 20(1): 75-85.

Honken, Henry. 2008. The split tones in Central Khoesan. Khoisan
Languages and Linguistics: Proceedings of the 2nd International
Symposium January 8-12, 2006, Riezlern/Kleinwalsertal. ed. Sonja
Ermisch. (Quellen zur Khoisan-Forschung Band 22). Köln: Rüdiger
Köppe. pp. 185-224.

Honken, Henry. 2010. A Khoekhoegowap dictionary. Khoisan
Languages and Linguistics: Proceedings of the 1st International
Symposium, January 4-8, 2003, Riezlern/Kleinwalsertal. ed. Matthias
Brenzinger & Christa König. (Quellen zur Khoisan-Forschung, 24).
Köln: Rüdiger Köppe. pp. 356-362.

Heine, Bernd & Henry Honken. 2010. The Kx'a family: A new Khoisan
genealogy. Journal of Asian and African Studies (Ajia Afuriku gengo
bunka kenkyu), 79: 5-36. (Research Institute for Languages and
Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA), Tokyo University of Foreign

Honken, Henry. 2010.Genetic relationships: an overview of the
evidence. In: Rainer Vossen (ed.), The Khoesan Languages.
(Routledge Language Family Series.) London: Routledge (in press).

Honken, Henry. 2012. Phonetics and phonology: Eastern =Hoan. In:
Rainer Vossen (ed.), The Khoesan Languages. (Routledge Language
Family Series.) London: Routledge (in press).

Honken, Henry. 2012. Tonology: Eastern =Hoan. In: Rainer Vossen
(ed.), The Khoesan Languages. (Routledge Language Family Series.)
London: Routledge (in press).

Honken, Henry. 2012. Morphology: Eastern =Hoan. In: Rainer Vossen
(ed.), The Khoesan Languages. (Routledge Language Family Series.)
London: Routledge (in press).

Khoisan Linguistics (unpublished, partial list)

Honken, Henry. 2009. A New Look at Khoisan. Manuscript. [446pp]

Honken, Henry. 2010. Some Notes on the History of Khoe; a Research
Aid. Manuscript. [242pp]

Honken, Henry. 2012. ǂHoã as a Northern Khoesan Language.
Manuscript. [421 pp]

Collins, Chris and Henry Honken. 2012. The Plural Prefix in Kx'a, ǃUi
and Taa. Ms., New York University.

Honken, Henry. forth. Khoisan Languages -- an Endangered World, In
Memory of Professor Anthony Traill, 1939-2007 (3rd International
Symposium on Khoisan Languages and Linguistics, 6-10 July 2008,
Riezlern/Kleinwalsertal). ed. Sven Siegmund, Martina Ernszt & Alena
Witzlack-Makarevich. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe.

Honken, Henry. forth. Gender assignment rules in Ju/'hoan and !Xóõ.
In: Rainer Vossen & Wilfrid H.G. Haacke (eds), Lone Tree -
Scholarship in the Service of the Koon. Essays in memory of Anthony T
Traill. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe.

Sands, Bonny & Henry Honken. forth.ǂHoan Body Part Terminology in
Comparative Perspective. Proceedings of the special session on the
Kalahari Basin Area of the 20th International Conference on Historical
Linguistics (ICHLXX), July 25-30, 2011, National Museum of Ethnology,
Osaka, Japan (Workshop 18: Genealogical and Areal Linguistic
Relations in the Kalahari Basin). ed. Robyn Loughnane & Tom
Güldemann. (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, series editor E.F.K.
Koerner). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Honken, Henry. forth. Short Grammar and Dictionary of ||Xegwi.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

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