LINGUIST List 32.2469

Mon Jul 26 2021

All: Obituary for Joanna Błaszczak, Part Four

Editor for this issue: Sarah Robinson <>

Date: 26-Jul-2021
From: Małgorzata Cavar <>
Subject: Obituary for Joanna Błaszczak, Part Four
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In memory of Joanna Błaszczak, we are circulating a short series of contributions from her colleagues and students.

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.

Dorota Klimek-Jankowska:

My collaboration with Joanna started in 2008 when Joanna got a permanent professor position at the Universtiy of Wrocław and I returned from Utrecht from my two-year scholarship. Coincidently, at that time Krzysztof Migdalski and Patrycja Jabłońska got a position at the University of Wrocław. We we were all doing research in the tradition of generative linguistics. The next important episode happened when we found information that the Foundation for Polish Science announced a grant competition for researchers in sciences and humanities and the topic was Linguistic categorization of the world. This sounded very non-generative so we really doubted if we had a chance to obtain this grant. However, we decided to take up this challenge and we came up with an idea of a project on linguistic categories and Joanna agreed to lead us. Paradoxically, even though the topic was not generative at all, Joanna obtained this grant to our big surprise and excitement. This grant allowed us to create an EEG lab and thanks to Joanna’s many valuable connections in Germany we managed to grasp this new methodology. Everybody familiar with this method knows how much energy it takes to create such a lab. I remember this time very vividly when we spent whole days and almost whole nights with Joanna collecting hundreds of offers for every single item in the lab to be able to start it. This was such an intensive time but Joanna’s amazing energy and determination kept me motivated. Then, there were many trainings and meetings and we started doing our first experimental work. I learned a lot from Joanna and her colleagues from Germany and no words will express my gratitude for this life chance which importantly shaped my later career and which allowed me to do quantitative research on language and the brain – the topic I am fascinated with. When this project finished, Joanna decided to apply for the Opus grant in the National Science Centre and she obtained it. I was lucky to be involved in this project. Thanks to that grant Joanna created an eye-tracking lab and she invited experts who helped us make it all happen. We were working on number and quantification in the nominal and verbal domain. Throughout these years, I spent with Joanna so many hours of joint work. We really liked writing articles together surrounded by the smell of Joanna’s coffee in our office full of plants. Joanna cared so much about these plants. This collaboration was very inspiring and it importantly contributed to my intellectual development. I enjoyed every single second of our attempts to find things out. We understood things in a very similar way. I will miss it all so much. Joanna kept on working till the end. We still planned so many things … Dear Joanna, you left us too early but may the winds of heaven blow softly and whisper in your ear that it is impossible to forget someone who had such an impact on our lives and who left us with so many things to remember.

Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable

Page Updated: 26-Jul-2021