"I am a Linguist" provides a fascinating account of the academic adventures
of multi-faceted linguist, R.M.W. (Bob) Dixon. There is fieldwork (and
lengthy grammars) on Dyirbal, Yidiñ and other Aboriginal languages of
Australia, the Boumaa dialect of Fijian, and Jarawara from the dense
jungles of Amazonia. Theoretical studies include adjective classes,
ergativity and complement clauses. There are also detective novels, science
fiction stories, and pioneering work on blues and gospel discography.
Interspersed with the autobiographical narrative are explanations of how
linguistics is a scientific discipline, of the development of universities,
of diminishing academic standards, and of the treatment of Aboriginal
people in Australia.
The book is written in an easy, accessible style with numerous illustrative
anecdotes. It will be an inspiration to young linguists and of interest to
the general reader curious about what a scientific linguist does.