Dr. Robert Longacre honored by LACUS

(October 2007) The 33rd annual meeting of LACUS (Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States) honored three octogenarians who served as past presidents of the professional organization. The meetings were held 24-28 July at Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky. The text of the dedication, as it appears in the just-published LACUS volume, is as follows:

Whereas the three grand loyal octogenarians of LACUS have been stalwarts of the organization for more than thirty years, presenting and publishing their research, imparting their insights, inspiration, and encouragement to LACUS colleagues, and serving as presidents of LACUS, be it therefore resolved that LACUS Forum XXXIII be dedicated, with gratitude and affection, to Saul Levin, Robert Longacre and Victor Yngve.


Dr. Robert Longacre was one of the earliest members of LACUS, formed in 1974, and served as its president in 1994–95. As an International Linguistics Consultant for SIL, Longacre has conducted field workshops in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, India, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and four countries of Africa.

In 1946, Longacre went to Mexico under the auspices of SIL. His initial fieldwork was in Triqui, a complex Mixtecan language with five tones. His dissertation ono Proto-Mixtecan was the first extensive linguistic reconstruction in Mesoamerican languages. In partnership with the local Triqui community he ultimately produced a body of vernacular literature.

During the early 1960s, Longacre's interests shifted to string constituent analysis as he contributed to tagmemics, a significant development in grammatical theory. His textbook Grammar Discovery Procedures (1964) represents this period of academic achievement.

Beginning in 1968, Longacre's main interests became discourse analysis and semantics. He considers The Grammar of Discourse (1996) to be the climax of his achievements from this period.

Robert Longacre obtained his PhD in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania and taught at the University of Oklahoma, University of North Dakota, University of Michigan and State University of New York. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Arlington. His scholarly publications exceed 150 books and articles. He remains active in research and conference attendance. His recent projects involve Triqui tone and discourse in biblical Hebrew.

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