LINGUIST List 3.23

Sun 12 Jan 1992

FYI: Yale Linguistics to be Abolished?

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  1. Michael Covington, Yale abolishes linguistics department and programs

Message 1: Yale abolishes linguistics department and programs

Date: Mon, 13 Jan 92 00:35:20 ESYale abolishes linguistics department and programs
From: Michael Covington <>
Subject: Yale abolishes linguistics department and programs

I am reliably informed that Yale University has decided to abolish its
department of linguistics. This was discussed as a possibility for some
time and the decision was apparently made last week. Nothing has been
announced about provisions for students who are currently enrolled.

I have no inside information about the reason for the abolition.
The Yale department is somewhat unusual in that it never embraced gener-
ative grammar; to my knowledge no generativist was ever a senior faculty
member (the nearest is Larry Horn, the present head, who is a formal
semanticist). Graduate student instruction in syntax and phonology
relied entirely on junior faculty who were only there temporarily.
Nonetheless, the quality of instruction in my time (1978-82) was very good.

It is sad to see a department with such a distinguished history come to
nothing. The demand for undergraduate linguistics courses at Yale is
very strong and I hope a way will be found to continue them.

-- Michael Covington, Yale '82 Ph.D. (Linguistics)
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