LINGUIST List 20.2937

Tue Sep 01 2009

All: Obituary: G. Nick Clements

Editor for this issue: Catherine Adams <>

        1.    Elizabeth Hume, Obituary: G. Nick Clements

Message 1: Obituary: G. Nick Clements
Date: 31-Aug-2009
From: Elizabeth Hume <>
Subject: Obituary: G. Nick Clements
E-mail this message to a friend

It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of G. NickClements, who died on Sunday, August 30, 2009 in Chatham, Massachusettsfrom cancer.

Nick Clements's career as a linguist spanned nearly forty years, duringwhich time he contributed to our understanding of phonetics, ofphonological theory, and of a range of languages of Africa and Europe.After receiving his PhD from the School of African and Oriental Studies in1973 for a study of Ewe syntax, he spent nine years in Cambridge,Massachusetts, working first at MIT and then at Harvard. He moved toCornell University in 1982, where he was professor of Linguistics anddirector of the phonetics laboratory. In 1992, he became Directeur deRecherche at the CNRS in Paris, France, which became the home of his workfrom that time forward. He was an invited professor and lecturer around theworld, and taught at many linguistics institutes both in the United Statesand abroad. Nick's contributions to the field of linguistics wereinnovative and influential, and an inspiration to many. Guided by keeninsights and a rigorous scientific method, his search for the truth aboutaspects of language advanced our understanding of the categorization andorganization of phonological features, of African syntax and tone, of vowelharmony systems, of the phonetics-phonology interface, among many othertopics. His studies were always the epitome of careful research and elegantargumentation.

Those among us who were honored to have been associated with Nick willforever remember him as a man of tremendous humility, a sincere and carefullistener, and a creative thinker with the ability to masterfully synthesizeideas and data so as to bring clarity to some long-standing problem. Hiskind and fun-loving spirit touched many, but none more so than the familyhe loved: his life partner, Annie Rialland, his children, William andCélia, and his brothers, sisters and their families.

I know that I speak for so many in saying that it was an honor and aprivilege to have been associated with such a great man.

Elizabeth HumeProfessor and ChairDepartment of LinguisticsThe Ohio State University

Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable