LINGUIST List 32.2467

Mon Jul 26 2021

All: Obituary for Joanna Błaszczak, Part Two

Editor for this issue: Sarah Robinson <>

Date: 25-Jul-2021
From: Małgorzata Cavar <>
Subject: Obituary for Joanna Błaszczak, Part Two
E-mail this message to a friend

The Institute of English Studies at the University of Wrocław is very sad to announce the passing of our dear friend and colleague Professor Joanna Błaszczak. In memory of Joanna, The LINGUIST List will be circulating a short series of memories and condolences, of which this is second.

Her dedication to research, her amazing knowledge, determination, charisma will remain an inspiration to her colleagues, students and friends. She will be sorely missed by many.

Joanna’s website is available here:

Memories and condolences can be shared via

A colloquium in memory of Prof. Błaszczak will be organized by colleagues at the University of Wroclaw, Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Berlin and the University of Potsdam. More information will be available soon.

Marzena Zygis:

It is 30 years since I first met Joanna during our studies on linguistics at Humboldt University in Berlin in 1991. Our friendship developed slowly but inexorably. We prepared together for our final MA exams and were accepted into a PhD programme, where we spent three years studying linguistics and supporting each other. Joanna specialized more in syntax and I in phonology/phonetics, but this complementary distribution was an enrichment rather than a burden.

Some years later we decided to collaborate on linguistic issues, which gave us some opportunity to spend time together. This resulted in joint projects: one on attitudes in the German-Polish context (2019-20, DAAD) and another, more recent one on ''Grammatical tinnitus'' (2020-23, DPWS). Right up to the end, Joanna participated in weekly project meetings, contributing with her huge knowledge and experience.
She will remain in my memory as a very reliable, responsible and hardworking person who did a lot for linguistics in general and for Polish syntax in particular. In February 2021, she was conferred the presidential professorship by the President of Poland after a detailed evaluation process. When she shared this information with me, her voice sounded so happy (for a time), with just a touch of pride, something that was really unique for this otherwise very humble person. Sharing this happiness with her, I told her that she really deserved it and I could not imagine it any other way.

Joanna was always very friendly and tolerant. If she got angry, she did not name any names and kept everything anonymous. Also, her modesty, which revealed itself in so many situations, was striking. She also laughed a lot and was first to help solve problems. She was able to devote her time and put in so much effort to surprise and please others.
Joanna, I will miss you terribly!

Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable

Page Updated: 26-Jul-2021