LINGUIST List 19.492

Mon Feb 11 2008

FYI: Ian Catford's Life in Linguistics

Editor for this issue: Matthew Lahrman <>

        1.    Alan Pagliere, Ian Catford's Life in Linguistics

Message 1: Ian Catford's Life in Linguistics
Date: 04-Feb-2008
From: Alan Pagliere <>
Subject: Ian Catford's Life in Linguistics
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I am thrilled to announce that ''The Catford Tapes: Professor Catford'sLife in Linguistics'' are now available to the world.

The Catford Tapes are a series of eight one-hour lectures given by IanCatford in early 1985, on the occasion of his retirement from theUniversity of Michigan Linguistics Department. For anyone with an interestin linguistics, from theoretical to applied, from English to Kabardian,from grammar to phonetics, from Henry Sweet to ... well, to Ian Catford,these lectures make clear just how fascinating and remarkably broadProfessor Catford's life in linguistics has been. Background and history ofthe Catford Tapes below.

Videos of the lectures are hosted by Deep Blue, the UM's service providingaccess to work in research and teaching:

Feb. 7, 1985: 14, 1985: 21, 1985: 7, 1985: 14, 1985: 28, 1985: 4, 1985: 18, 1985:

or use Deep Blue's home page ( ) and searchfor ''catford''--Deepest thanks to the following for freely giving their time, advice andeffort to promote the project of preserving this treasure and making itfreely accessible.

Ian Catford, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, UMJohn Swales, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics and Director Emeritus,English Language InstituteFran Blouin, Director, Bentley Historical Library, Professor of Informationand Professor of HistoryJim Otaviani, Coordinator Deep BlueTom Bray, Managing Producer Media Resources, Digital Media Commons andAdjunct Assistant Professor of Art, School of Art and DesignGreg Kinney and Brian Williams, Associate Archivists, Bentley HistoricalLibraryNancy Deromedi, Assistant Archivist, Bentley Historical LibraryDavid Erdody, Media Development/Services, English Language Institute--Background / History

In 2002, it had been nearly 20 years since anyone had watched the CatfordTapes. It was unclear exactly where they were stored and whether anyone wasactually benefiting from the fascinating content and story- tellingtherein. Making sure that the lectures were not lost to obscurity or tofailing media was important. The mission: to have the tapes archivedsomewhere, somehow, and made available to a larger audience.

The original eight VHS tapes, it turned out, were not at the LinguisticsDepartment, but rather at the English Language Institute Library. The ELIwas moving due to building demolition and the tapes were finally found in acardboard box, ready to be moved. I grabbed the tapes, with permission, andcontacted people for advice and help.

The VHS tapes fortunately transfered to digital tapes easily. From thesemasters came other derivatives including other digital format tapes, mpegfiles and DVDs. Masters, DVDs and the original accompanying handouts,obtaind from Prof. Catford himself, were accessioned by the Bentley.

Two missions are better than one .... Next was to see who might hostweb-accessible versions of the videos. With help, the videos became thefirst Bentley Library content to be hosted at Deep Blue, with downloadableand streaming versions of the lectures. And here we are today. Follow thelinks above.

The lectures were introduced by Alton Becker, Professor Emeritus ofLinguistics. So, these videos ''star'' the two people who most influencedmy view of linguistics and therefore two of the people who most influencedmy view of the world.

Alan PagliereMA, 1980, Linguistics, University of MichiganStudent of Professor Catford's, 1978-80Teaching Assistant for Professor Catford's Course in Phonetics

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics; Discipline of Linguistics; General Linguistics; History of Linguistics; Linguistic Theories; Phonetics; Phonology; Translation