Obituary: Stanley Starosta (fwd)

Paul Hopper ph1u at ANDREW.CMU.EDU
Sat Jul 27 00:55:00 UTC 2002

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Date: Friday, July 26, 2002 8:27 AM +0000
From: Blaine Erickson <erickson at>
Subject: Obituary: Stanley Starosta

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Stanley Starosta, professor of linguistics at the University of Hawai'i at
Manoa, died July 18, 2002, in Honolulu, from heart disease. He was 62. He
is survived by his wife, Aleli; their son, Stuart; a grandson; and two
brothers, Noel and Bill. No services were held. Born in Wisconsin, he
received a B.A. in Physics (1961) and Ph.D. in Linguistics (1967) from the
University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Professor Starosta spent extended periods doing research, teaching, and
field work in East, Southeast, and South Asia, and Western Europe. His
primary area of research was Lexicase, a highly-constrained dependency
grammar he developed. He also worked on natural language processing;
morphological theory; and the synchronic analysis and historical
reconstruction of languages of East, Southeast, and South Asia and the
Pacific. An expert in Austronesian linguistics, he wrote countless papers
and gave innumerable presentations on Formosan languages; much of his work
was based on his own field work in Taiwan. In addition to his work on
Proto-Austronesian, he also did research on the prehistory of other
languages of E/SE/S Asia and the Pacific. Additionally, he had considerable
expertise in Chinese languages, German, Japanese, and Thai. He devoted much
of his effort to issues in syntactic theory, such as case relations,
ergativity and transitivity, and focus. His morphological theory, also
highly constrained, holds that words have no internal structure, and, in
essence, that the only morphological rule is analogy.

Professor Starosta, know as "Stan" to his students, colleagues, and
friends, was also possessed of a razor-sharp wit. He composed several
humorous songs and countless limericks, and was found of telling jokes at
Friday afternoon gatherings at a local bar in Honolulu, where linguistics
students and faculty alike would come together to talk and joke over
peanuts and beer.

Some of Professor Starosta's works can be accessed from the following site:

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