Winfred Lehmann, Carol Justus

Paul Hopper hopper at
Fri Aug 31 00:29:23 UTC 2007

Dear Colleagues,

Two people who should be remembered for their contributions to functional linguistics died on August 1, 2007, on the same day: Winfred Lehmann (91) and his student Carol Justus (67). Both lived in Austin, Texas.  

They were instrumental in organizing the LSA’s Linguistic Institute at the State University of New York in Oswego, NY, in the summer of 1976. This Institute pulled together the burgeoning field of functional linguistics and launched the typological-pragmatic orientation that has become a major focus for modern linguistics. Carol was the director and the energizing force that saw in the scattered work of a number of heterodox linguists of the time a force that would challenge the formalist mainstream. She corralled Joseph Greenberg as Institute Professor and Win Lehmann as Collitz Professor and Associate Director, and proclaimed Typology and Universals as the theme of the Institute. She brought in Talmy (Tom) Givon, Sandy Thompson, Joan Bybee, Bernard Comrie, Marianne Mithun, Paul Hopper, Charles Li, Linda Waugh and others as faculty, a nexus that resulted, down the years, in a significant reorientation of linguistics. To it are owed, ultimately, Funknet, the book series Typo!
 logical Studies in Language, and many individual publications. Carol was an Indo-Europeanist and Hittitologist in her own right, and made many contributions to the study of writing systems, early Indo-European, and the Hittite language. Functionalism’s debt to Carol Justus is enormous and little recognized.

Win Lehmann, a Germanist and Indo-Europeanist, was a towering figure in 20th century linguistics, whose full obituary has yet to be written. He is the only person to have been president of both the major U.S. organizations of language scholars, the Linguistic Society of America and the Modern Language Association. He received honors from Germany for his contributions to the study of German and from the Indian government for his studies of Sanskrit. As a young officer in the Second World War he directed Japanese language instruction for the U.S. army and was active in the decoding of Japanese dispatches. During the 1976 LSA Institute he supervised a lecture series which became the influential collection ‘Syntactic Typology: Studies in the Phenomenology of Language’. He pioneered the application of typological methods to historical linguistics. His textbooks ‘Descriptive Linguistics: An Introduction’ and ‘Historical Linguistics’ introduced an entire generation of linguists to !
 the two major divisions of the discipline.

Paul Hopper

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