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FW: [ANTHRO-L] Linquist Kenneth Hale Dead At 67; Worked with Exti nct Languages

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Tim Kuchta [mailto:tmkuchta@YAHOO.COM] Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 8:33 PM To: ANTHRO-L@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU Subject: [ANTHRO-L] Linquist
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 29 6:26 PM
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      FW: [ANTHRO-L] Linquist Kenneth Hale Dead At 67; Worked with Extinct Languages

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Tim Kuchta [mailto:tmkuchta@...]
      Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 8:33 PM
      To: ANTHRO-L@...
      Subject: [ANTHRO-L] Linquist Kenneth Hale Dead At 67; Worked with
      Extinct Languages

      Kenneth L. Hale, 67, helped save languages

      Los Angeles Times

      Kenneth L. Hale, a linguist whose devotion to
      preserving native cultures and understanding the
      commonalities in human speech led to a legendary
      prowess with languages, including many that are now
      extinct, has died.

      He was 67 and died of prostate cancer Oct. 8 at his
      home in Lexington, Mass., according to the
      Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he taught
      for three decades.

      Mr. Hale was a highly respected theoretician whose
      work on word order and structures contributed to a
      general theory of the innate human capacity for
      speech. He also championed the study and preservation
      of American Indian and other endangered tongues.

      ``He was . . . one of those very few people who truly
      merits the term`a voice for the voiceless,' '' said
      MIT language theorist Noam Chomsky.

      Mr. Hale could converse in more than 50 languages,
      including Navajo, Hopi and the Australian aboriginal
      tongue of Warlpiri.

      One of his last projects was helping the Wampanoag
      Nation, an American Indian group in southeastern
      Massachusetts, revive its Wopanaak language, which had
      not been spoken in seven generations.  It is now used
      by many of the 3,000 remaining Wampanoagson Cape Cod
      and Martha's Vineyard.

      When Mr. Hale was 15, he enrolled in Verde Valley
      School, a multicultural, college-preparatory school in
      Sedona, Ariz. Assigned a Hopi roommate, he decided to
      learn some Hopi. Rooming next with a boy who spoke
      Jemez, another American Indian language, he learned
      some Jemez and devised a written form.

      Soon he knew that he ``didn't want to spend time on
      anything other than languages,'' said his wife, Sara,
      who attended Verde Valley School.

      He went on to Indiana University at Bloomington for
      his master's and doctoral degrees in linguistics.
      After earning his doctorate in 1958, he spent three
      years surveying Australian aboriginal languages.

      He taught at the University of Illinois-Urbana and the
      University of Arizona before joining the MIT faculty
      in 1967.

      Mr. Hale once said that every language represented
      ``intellectual wealth,'' and he traveled widely to
      find it. ``When you lose a language,'' he told an
      interviewer, ``it's like dropping a bomb on a

      His focus in his last years was on reviving extinct languages.


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