LINGUIST List 3.182

Wed 26 Feb 1992

All: Dwight Bolinger In Memoriam

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  1. Jane Edwards, Dwight Bolinger - In Memoriam

Message 1: Dwight Bolinger - In Memoriam

Date: Mon, 24 Feb 92 18:42:57 -0Dwight Bolinger - In Memoriam
From: Jane Edwards <edwardscogsci.Berkeley.EDU>
Subject: Dwight Bolinger - In Memoriam

(Forwarded from Talmy Givon.)

>Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1992 09:54 PST
>Subject: D. Bolinger, RIP

This is to let y'all know that one of our most cherished associates,
Dwight Bolinger, died last night at 11:30pm at a hospital in Palo
Alto. For the many of us who have been inspired by Dwight's work
and encouraged by his generous sharing of his time and knowledge,
this is a true loss. Dwight has never spared himself, his time
and his unfailing attention and wit in encouraging young people
in their work. While few people in linguistics could actually
boast him as their professor, scores could justly claim him as
their teacher. Dwight never allowed his temporal age to interfere
with his unbounded enthusiasm, nor dull his curiosity, nor curtail
his delight in talking to rank beginners about the subject dearest
to his heart -- language. Through the thick and thin of structuralist
dogmas, Dwight was a beacon of common sense and inspiration to all of us
who persist in the simple-minded assumption that language is about
communication. Dwight was a gentleman of the old school who could
nevertheless appreciate the young and their foibles. We will miss
him sorely. TG

>Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1992 14:36 CDT
>Subject: Dwight Bolinger

I don't expect to attend a memorial service for Dwight Bolinger, and so
would like to pretend that this network is a gathering of his friends and
colleagues, come together to toast his passing.
I hardly knew him, personally, having met him only twice, but I remember the
first time I sent him a paper, more than ten years ago, when I really was, if
not a rank beginner, a complete unknown. He sent back four pages of comments,
all flattering and a mild query: I had cited Quine as the source of the
witty observation that when we invite meaning into a linguistic description, he
is sure to bring along some uninivited rowdy friends as well. As it happened,
Bolinger had written something along those lines himself -- was this a case of
convergence? As I discovered over many years, so many of the ideas, and so
much of the poetry, which I misattributed to Quine and others, or thought to
have discovered myself, I owed to him.
I salute his brilliant mind, and his sweet and generous heart. He was the
John Haiman
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