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LINGUIST List 23.4554

Wed Oct 31 2012

All: Obituary: Professor Robert Stockwell, UCLA

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

Date: 30-Oct-2012
From: Anoop Mahajan <amahajanucla.edu>
Subject: Obituary: Professor Robert Stockwell, UCLA
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The founding chair of the UCLA Linguistics Program, Professor Robert Stockwell, passed away on October 28, 2012, following a long illness.

Professor Robert Stockwell was born June 12, 1925, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He was educated at the University of Virginia, where he received a B.A. in English and Greek in 1946, an M.A. in English in 1949, and a Ph.D. in English Philology in 1952. He worked from 1952 to 1956 School of Languages of the Foreign Service Institute, where he developed highly effective pedagogical materials, grounded in linguistic theory, for the teaching of Spanish. He came to UCLA as an Assistant Professor in the English Department in 1956 and was soon was marshaling the resources for an effective linguistics program. Thanks to his efforts, the Interdepartmental Program in Linguistics was approved in 1960, followed by the Center for Research in Languages and Linguistics in 1963, and then full department status in 1966. Professor Stockwell served as the new department's chair many times throughout the years 1966-1970, 1971-1973, and 1980-1985 until his retirement in 1994.

The department proved to be an intellectually very lively place, one to which strong faculty were readily attracted. With a number of important recruitments, the department rose in only a few years to scholarly eminence and thence to a very high national program ranking. He organized a series of conferences on Historical Linguistics and hosted the LSA Institute as its Director in 1983. Professor Stockwell was also in the thick of the new department's research activities, notably in his coauthorship of The Major Syntactic Structures of English (1973), with Paul Schachter and Barbara Partee. His work on English historical phonology, in recent years much of it coauthored with colleague and later spouse Donka Minkova (UCLA English Department), has been foundational to the field and has inspired many generations of linguists. As his health declined during the last few years we saw little of Professor Stockwell, but the strong academic culture of the department he left behind has remained as an attestation of his scholarship and his foresight.

Linguistic Field(s): Discipline of Linguistics

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