October 16, 2006

Bill Bright, 1928-2006

From the chair of the department of linguistics at the University of Colorado:

It with sadness that I write to let you know of the passing of a great linguist, friend, teacher and mentor. Lise has asked me to let you know that Bill Bright died today. I know that all of you will join me in mourning his passing and in sending our love and thoughts to Lise and her family. Bill was such a towering figure in the field and such a good friend to so many of us that it's hard to summarize his contributions. For those of you who are interested in learning more about his life and achievements, I recommend his detailed website: http://www.ncidc.org/bright/. I don't think we will soon see another linguist of Bill's stature: he had expertise in Native American linguistics, South Asian linguistics and sociolinguistics, and edited the flagship journal in our field, Language, for more than 20 years. He served as president of the Linguistics Society of America. He was also editor of the journal Language and Society. He was a prolific writer and an outstanding editor. He helped to bring an appreciation of linguistic research to the public through his work on Native American placenames in the US. Finally, he contributed to the life of the CU Linguistics department in more ways than I can mention. We will all remember the generosity that he showed to students who sought his expertise and the ways in which he brought his research to life through his lectures and public talks.

The Department is planning a memorial service for Bill, to be held on campus within the next couple of weeks. Our current plan is to hold the service on a Sunday afternoon. We will invite all who wish to share their memories of Bill to say a few words. I will let you know more details about the service as we solidify our plans. This service will be for the entire community, so I will most likely ask your help in disseminating the details.

Requiescat in pace.

Posted by Mark Liberman at October 16, 2006 05:14 AM