LINGUIST List 23.4630

Mon Nov 05 2012

All: Obituary: A.E. Kibrik

Editor for this issue: Kristen Dunkinson <>

Date: 02-Nov-2012
From: Barbara H Partee <>
Subject: Obituary: A.E. Kibrik
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Aleksandr Evgen'evich Kibrik 26.03.1939 - 31.10.2012

The Russian linguist Aleksandr Evgen'evich Kibrik died Oct. 31 at the age of 73 after a long and difficult illness. Aleksandr Kibrik was born on March 26, 1939 into the family of the artists Evgenij Kibrik and Lidia Timoshenko. In 1961 he graduated in Classics from the Philological Faculty of Moscow State University, and at that time began to work in the just-founded Department of Structural and Applied Linguistics (OSiPL), which was later renamed the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (OTiPL). He received both his Diploma and his Ph.D (1965) under the direction of the linguist Petr Kuznetsov.

Kibrik developed structural methods of syntactic description, studied Caucasian languages, and worked on syntactic typology, cognitive and applied linguistics, including automated linguistic analysis of texts. He was a great devotee of field linguistics; Kibrik's Habilitation thesis (1976) was devoted to the description of the Northeast Caucasian language Archi. Starting with his first fieldwork team expedition in 1967, he built up the fieldwork expertise of linguists both from Russia/USSR and the West, training generations of undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers, by leading annual linguistic expeditions to the Caucasus, principally to Daghestan in the N.E. Caucasus (but also Kamchatka in Russia's far east, Svanetia, in Georgia, Abkhazia, and Tuva), and involving teams of younger and more senior linguists in descriptive and theoretical research and resulting in the description of more than 45 mostly endangered languages.

From 1992 until his death, he was the head of OTiPL, where he became the foremost mentor of the next generations of young linguists in Russia. In 2006, he was elected a Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a foreign member of the British Academy. He was also the deputy editor of the Russian Academy's journal Voprosy Jazykoznanija. He was known as a world authority on the languages of Daghestan and on ergativity, a celebrated typologist and field linguist, and a major force in the development of Russian fieldwork and typology.

Professor Kibrik is survived by his wife Antonina Ivanovna Kibrik, his son Andrej Aleksandrovich Kibrik, his daughter Antonina Aleksandrovna Kibrik, and three granddaughters, Anna Kibrik, Lidia Kibrik, and Sofia Kibrik-Vlasova.

Links:In English:"How I became a linguist" for Linguist List, 2011: a recent expedition (in English): movie (in English):

In Russian:Obituary in Russian: obituary: family page, family tree, many photos, other things: of expeditions (in Russian), including 2 essays by Kibrik:

Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable

Page Updated: 05-Nov-2012