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