LINGUIST List 23.3405

Tue Aug 14 2012

All: Obituary: Henry Honken

Editor for this issue: Kristen Dunkinson <>

Date: 13-Aug-2012
From: Chris Collins <>
Subject: Obituary: Henry Honken
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It is with great sadness that we report the passing away of the linguistHenry J. Honken at the age of 74 on June 25, 2012 at the IndianheadMedical Center in Shell Lake, Wisconsin.

Henry's main contributions were in the field of historical Khoisanlinguistics. Henry was an amateur linguist, in the sense that he neverreceived any linguistics degrees. However, in spite of this lack of formaltraining, he made significant contributions to the field. Henry was also ascience fiction author and published several popular works with alinguistic focus.

Henry Honken was born in Jefferson City, Mo., on April 6, 1938 toEdith Marsalek and Henry D. Honken. He served two years in theUnited States Army from 1961-1963 as a medical specialist at FortBelvoir, Virginia. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in1966 with a major in anthropology and a minor in linguistics. Then, hespent two years in Japan, teaching English to Japanese students in ajuku. He worked for many years as sales coordinator for Yasutomo andCompany, an import-export company based in San Francisco, until hisretirement, when he moved to Sarona, Wisconsin in 2005.

One of Henry's accomplishments was his career long documentation ofthe similarities between ǂHoã (spoken south of the Khutse gamereserve in Botswana) and the northern Ju languages (northernBotswana, northern Namibia and Southern Angola) (see Honken 1977,1988, 2004, Heine and Honken 2010). Although the possibleconnection between ǂHoã and the northern Khoisan languages hadbeen discussed briefly in the literature (see Traill 1973, 1974, Westphal1974), Henry was the first person to work it out systematically. In largepart through his efforts, the new Khoisan linguistic family Kx'a has beenwidely accepted (see Heine and Honken 2010). At the time of hisdeath, he had been working on the 421 page manuscript "ǂHoã as aNorthern Khoesan Language".

In addition to his work on establishing the language family Kx'a, Henrydid work in many other areas of Khoisan linguistics. He was puttingtogether a grammar and dictionary of the extinct South Africanlanguage ǁXegwi (a language of the !Ui family previously spoken inSouth Africa) from unpublished notes of various South African linguists.Of note also is his work on fused loans (Honken 2006). A perpetualproblem in establishing historical relations amongst the Khoisanlanguages is the question of whether a shared lexical item is aborrowing or a cognate derived from a shared historical source. InHonken 2006, cases are investigated where a phrase or a complexword are borrowed from Khoekhoe into other Khoisan languages.These cases show clearly that borrowing has taken place, and alsoshow the direction of the borrowing. Honken 2008 was a significantcontribution towards the reconstruction of the Khoe (Central Khoisan)family.

Henry had a very special intellect that shows through in his papers. Hewas wildly resourceful in finding interesting new data, owing in part tohis grasp of a vast amount of primary literature (grammars, dictionaries,unpublished field notes). He worked on all the different Khoisanlanguage families (!Ui, Taa, Kx'a, Khoe) and had a deep knowledge ofall of them. Henry died at the zenith of his career. He had severalimportant unpublished manuscripts that he was working on, many incollaboration with other Khoisan scholars. Although he started hiscareer with the assumption common at the time that Khoisanconstituted a single family, near the end he was part of a generalmovement toward building up Khoisan language classification from thebottom up, in a more careful and traditional manner (see Honken 2004,2006).

As a science fiction author, he published under the pseudonym SamCash. He also had an interest in popularizing the field of linguistics,and wrote some of his articles on Khoisan.

Chris Collins
Bonny Sands

List of Publications

As Sam Cash

Cash, Sam. 2005. Alienation. Wondrous Web Worlds, vol. 8. ed. J. AlanErwine. Cedar Rapids, IA: Sam's Dot Publishing.

Cash, Sam. 2006. Language in Burroughsland 67. Brandon, MB(Canada): Burroughs Bibliophiles.

Cash, Sam. 2010. Yelloween. Crossed Genres 20: Lies, July 2010. ed.Bart R. Leib, K. T. Holt. Somerville, MA: Crossed Genres Publications.

Popular linguistics

Honken, Henry. May 2007. I Couldn't Read You, E.T. Analog ScienceFiction and Fact vol. 127.5, pgs. 41-53.

Honken, Henry. May 2008. Strange Croaks and Ghastly Aspirations.Analog Science Fiction and Fact vol. 128.5, pgs. 37-46.

Honken, Henry. March 2009. From Token to Script: The Origin ofCuneiform. Analog Science Fiction and Fact vol. 129.3, pgs. 24-33.

Hoken, Henry. June 2010. Der Mann, Die Frau, Das Kind. AnalogScience Fiction and Fact vol. 130.6, pgs. 34-40.

Khoisan Linguistics

Honken, Henry. 1977. Submerged features and Proto-Khoisan.Khoisan Linguistic Studies, 3. ed. Anthony Traill. Communications fromthe African Studies Institute, no 6. University of the Witwatersrand.Johannesburg. pp. 145-169.

Honken, Henry. 1977. Change of word order in Zu|'hõasi. Bushmanand Hottentot Linguistic Studies. (papers of seminar held on 25October 1975). ed. J.W. Snyman. (A.S.I. communication, no. 2). AfricanStudies Institute of University of Witwatersrand Communication 2.Johannesburg. University of Witwatersrand. pp. 1-10.

Honken, H. 1979. Internal reconstruction in Zu|hòãsì. KhoisanLinguistic Studies, 5: 1-7. Johannesburg: Dept. of Linguistics,University of the Witwatersrand.

Honken, H. 1984. Word groups in the click languages. Newsletter(African Language Association of Southern Africa. Khoisan SpecialInterest Group), 2: 6-8.

Honken, H. 1988. Phonetic correspondences among Khoisanaffricates. New Perspectives on the Study of Khoisan. ed. RainerVossen. Quellen zur Khoisan-Forchung, 7. Hamburg. H. Buske. pp. 47-

Honken, Henry. 1998. Types of sound correspondence patterns inKhoisan languages. Language, Identity, and Conceptualization amongthe Khoisan. ed. Mathias Schladt. Quellen zur Khoisan-Forschung 15.Köln: Rüdiger Köppe. pp. 171-191.

Honken, H. 2006. Fused loans in Khoesan. Pula, 20(1): 75-85.

Honken, Henry. 2008. The split tones in Central Khoesan. KhoisanLanguages and Linguistics: Proceedings of the 2nd InternationalSymposium January 8-12, 2006, Riezlern/Kleinwalsertal. ed. SonjaErmisch. (Quellen zur Khoisan-Forschung Band 22). Köln: RüdigerKöppe. pp. 185-224.

Honken, Henry. 2010. A Khoekhoegowap dictionary. KhoisanLanguages and Linguistics: Proceedings of the 1st InternationalSymposium, January 4-8, 2003, Riezlern/Kleinwalsertal. ed. MatthiasBrenzinger & Christa König. (Quellen zur Khoisan-Forschung, 24).Köln: Rüdiger Köppe. pp. 356-362.

Heine, Bernd & Henry Honken. 2010. The Kx'a family: A new Khoisangenealogy. Journal of Asian and African Studies (Ajia Afuriku gengobunka kenkyu), 79: 5-36. (Research Institute for Languages andCultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA), Tokyo University of ForeignStudies).

Honken, Henry. 2010.Genetic relationships: an overview of theevidence. In: Rainer Vossen (ed.), The Khoesan Languages.(Routledge Language Family Series.) London: Routledge (in press).

Honken, Henry. 2012. Phonetics and phonology: Eastern =Hoan. In:Rainer Vossen (ed.), The Khoesan Languages. (Routledge LanguageFamily Series.) London: Routledge (in press).

Honken, Henry. 2012. Tonology: Eastern =Hoan. In: Rainer Vossen(ed.), The Khoesan Languages. (Routledge Language Family Series.)London: Routledge (in press).

Honken, Henry. 2012. Morphology: Eastern =Hoan. In: Rainer Vossen(ed.), The Khoesan Languages. (Routledge Language Family Series.)London: Routledge (in press).

Khoisan Linguistics (unpublished, partial list)

Honken, Henry. 2009. A New Look at Khoisan. Manuscript. [446pp]

Honken, Henry. 2010. Some Notes on the History of Khoe; a ResearchAid. Manuscript. [242pp]

Honken, Henry. 2012. ǂHoã as a Northern Khoesan Language.Manuscript. [421 pp]

Collins, Chris and Henry Honken. 2012. The Plural Prefix in Kx'a, ǃUiand Taa. Ms., New York University.

Honken, Henry. forth. Khoisan Languages -- an Endangered World, InMemory of Professor Anthony Traill, 1939-2007 (3rd InternationalSymposium on Khoisan Languages and Linguistics, 6-10 July 2008,Riezlern/Kleinwalsertal). ed. Sven Siegmund, Martina Ernszt & AlenaWitzlack-Makarevich. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe.

Honken, Henry. forth. Gender assignment rules in Ju/'hoan and !Xóõ.In: Rainer Vossen & Wilfrid H.G. Haacke (eds), Lone Tree -Scholarship in the Service of the Koon. Essays in memory of Anthony TTraill. Köln: Rüdiger Köppe.

Sands, Bonny & Henry Honken. forth.ǂHoan Body Part Terminology inComparative Perspective. Proceedings of the special session on theKalahari Basin Area of the 20th International Conference on HistoricalLinguistics (ICHLXX), July 25-30, 2011, National Museum of Ethnology,Osaka, Japan (Workshop 18: Genealogical and Areal LinguisticRelations in the Kalahari Basin). ed. Robyn Loughnane & TomGüldemann. (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, series editor E.F.K.Koerner). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Honken, Henry. forth. Short Grammar and Dictionary of ||Xegwi.Manuscript.

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Page Updated: 14-Aug-2012