LINGUIST List 20.619

Fri Feb 27 2009

All: Obituary: Michael Noonan

Editor for this issue: Catherine Adams <>

        1.    Carol Genetti, Obituary: Michael Noonan

Message 1: Obituary: Michael Noonan
Date: 26-Feb-2009
From: Carol Genetti <>
Subject: Obituary: Michael Noonan
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It is with great sadness that we report the unexpected death of Dr. MichaelNoonan, Professor in the Department of English at the University ofWisconsin-Milwaukee, at his home on February 23rd, apparently of a brainaneurysm. Mickey (as he was fondly known) was a well-known contributor tofunctional and typological linguistics. Following publication of hisGrammar of Lango, Mickey wrote extensively on the languages of Nepal andpublished numerous articles, grammars, dictionaries, and text-collections.He also worked for some time on Salish and on Irish, his heritage language.

In addition to his invaluable grammatical studies of previously undescribedlanguages, Mickey was a frequent contributor to the literature on syntactictypology, with notable co-edited collections on word order, voice, andformalism and functionalism, as well as articles on complementation (hispaper in the Shopen volume has become part of the essential canon on thistopic), converbal constructions, subjectless clauses, nominalization, andmany other topics.

Mickey was an editor, with Bernard Comrie of Studies in Language. He wasalso the founding editor of Himalayan Linguistics; it was his vision toproduce a web-based journal which is free and accessible to all, with aseparate ''Archive'' section devoted to the publication of grammars,dictionaries, and texts. He was also the editor of the John Benjamins’Series Typological Studies in Language and with Werner Abraham, of theStudies in Language Companion Series.

Mickey was strongly devoted to the communities with which he worked. Heplayed for them an important role of teacher, sponsor, mentor, and friend.He had a deep interest in language preservation and worked with members ofthe communities to increase the awareness of the importance of theirlanguages as well as to provide practical support of language maintenanceefforts. Notable among his publication is a book of children’s stories, thefirst work ever produced in the Chantyal language, distributed free toschools in three Chantyal speaking villages and to interested members ofthe ethnic organization of the Chantyal people.

Mickey was the supervisor of numerous doctoral students and was a devotedmentor to many other young and developing scholars. His contributions totheir work were invaluable and he ceaselessly promoted the highest academicquality in the work of his students and others.

Mickey had a truly encyclopedic mind: he had a very wide range of knowledgein various areas such as history, economics, and biology, which he readilyand joyfully shared with people on social occasions. He was also a greatconnoisseur of food and wine and took great pleasure in his garden and inhis table – both were rich and abundant! (The last wine he recommended tome was a Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio from the Trentino in Italy, so ifyou come across this, have a glass and think of him!)

Mickey will be remembered for his deep linguistic analyses, his lastingdescriptive works, his constructive and insightful criticism, and hisleadership in Himalayan linguistics and beyond. He will be greatly missed.

The family requests that those wishing to make a contribution in his namecontact the Endangered Languages Fund( People making contributions shouldwrite on their check: ''In memory of Michael Noonan''.

Carol Genetti

Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable