LINGUIST List 20.2732

Mon Aug 10 2009

All: Obituary: Vladimir Petrovich Nedjalkov

Editor for this issue: Catherine Adams <catherinlinguistlist.org>


        1.    Werner Abraham, Obituary: Vladimir Petrovich Nedjalkov

Message 1: Obituary: Vladimir Petrovich Nedjalkov
Date: 09-Aug-2009
From: Werner Abraham <werner_abrahamt-online.de>
Subject: Obituary: Vladimir Petrovich Nedjalkov
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Vladimir Petrovich Nedjalkov, a great Russian linguist and typologist, diedJuly 21, 2009 in St. Petersburg, at age 81, after a few months of heavyillness.

Vladimir Petrovich Nedjalkov graduated from the Moscow Institute of ForeignLanguages in 1950. He started his academic career in 1959 with entering thepost-graduation study (aspirantura) at the Department of German Philologyof the Lenin-grad Pedagogical Institute (Pedagogicheskij Institut imeniGercena). His early works concentrated on German grammar and pedagogicalaspects of teaching German.

The scope of his interests crucially extended in 1961, when, afterdefending his Candidate dissertation (kandidatskaja dissertacija), hejoined the Research Group for a typological study of languages at theLeningrad Institute of Linguistics, founded and directed by AlexanderXolodovich.

Vladimir Petrovich Nedjalkov became one of the most brilliantrepresentatives of what is now known as the famous Leningrad/St. PetersburgTypological School, greatly contributing to the development of themethodology, achievements, and successes of the Research Group. During theyears of the Iron Curtain, when many eminent linguists left Soviet Union,Vladimir Nedjalkov remained and contributed to the development of theunique typological tradition in the country. His interests mainly focusedon the typology of verbal categories, such as voice and valency changing(causatives, reciprocals, reflexives, passives), aspect and actionality(resultatives, inchoatives/inceptives), converbs, etc. We owe Nedjalkovcomprehensive descriptions and minute analyses of several categories bothin the typological perspective and on individual languages - German,Chukchee, Nivkh, Evenki, and numerous others. The works of the last decademostly concentrated on a typological study of reciprocal constructions – along-term project. It has found its outcome in the fundamental five-volumework, a true Encyclopaedia of reciprocals - an impressive monument of hisscientific life.

Nedjalkov's linguistic intuition, typological horizon and sharp eye hasmade him a unique editor – every volume published under his editorshipbecame a remarkable event within our linguistic horizons.

Nedjalkov was a man of rare integrity. He did not draw much of a differencebetween life and scientific work. His exuberant energy was topic of legendsand helped him to launch and realize the most fantastic collectiveprojects. He literally ‘infected’ his colleagues with his energy, makingpossible endeavors which otherwise would never have been brought to theirend. He liberally shared his ideas and insights with people who surroundedhim. Many talented young researchers were attracted into his ‘magneticlinguistic’ field, being greatly helped by Nedjalkov to develop theirprofessional skills and to find their place within the scientific andacademic infrastructure.

Vladimir Nedjalkov's charming personality, his sense of humour, his sharpcriticism, and his friendly invaluable help to colleagues will be sorelymissed. But he survives in his fundamental works, in his students, and inhis colleagues and their works.

Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable