Episode 2: The Meaning of Linguistics

Professor Emeritus Frederick J. Newmeyer from the University of Washington will join Ed Conroy to discuss linguistics.

The episode is about linguistics, from the research of Professor Newmeyer, a world-leading scholar on linguistics, and will look at the evolutionary origin of language; ‘The Politics of Linguistics’ (1986); ‘Autonomous linguistics’; with a discussion on the weaponisation of linguistics and language usage in the current political climates in the UK and USA; as well as the ‘Possible and Probable Languages: A Generative Perspective on Linguistic Typology.’ (2005) and how that applies to understanding across cultural and sociological divides and how linguistic forms and grammatical features affect our thinking and conceptualisation.

Professor Newmeyer is currently Professor Emeritus at Washington University, USA – where he he started as Assistant Professor in 1969 until 1975; and has also held the role of Associate Professor (1975-1981); Chair (1990-2000) and Acting Chair (2004-2005). He is also an Adjunct Professor at British Columbia University and Simon Fraser University, both in Canada, close to where resides.

Professor Newmeyer has guested as a professor at 25 Universities and Research Institutes, including but not limited to the prestigious MIT, University of Edinburgh, University College London, Cornell University, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Universidade de São Paulo, Institut des Sciences Cognitives and the Beijing Language and Culture University.

Professor Newmeyer has been an editor for the Natural Language and Linguistic Theory academic journal. He currently sits on the editorial boards for Conceptual Foundations of Language Science and Open Linguistics; and has previously been on the editorial boards for nine other prestigious academic journals.

He has previously served as President of the Linguistic Society of America, as well as holding numerous chairs and board member roles within the LSA. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Professor Newmeyer has written 7 books; his first, English Aspectual Verbs, in 1975; as well as 1983’s Grammatical Theory: Its Limits and Its Possibilities; he has contributed other volumes including The Politics of Linguistics (1986); Generative Linguistics: A Historical Perspective (1996) and most recently Possible and Probable Languages: A Generative Perspective on Linguistic Typology (2005). As well as writing 8 journal articles due for publication this year, he has previously written 39 other articles between 2010 and 2010 (average of just under 4 journal articles a year); and a further 130(+) articles; making him a highly prolific, published and esteemed academic. Professor Newmeyer has also edited Measuring Grammatical Complexity; Functionalism and Formalism in Linguistics (2 volumes), and Linguistics: The Cambridge Survey (4 volumes).

You can read more about Professor Frederick J Newmeyer on his University of Washington page.

If you have any questions for Professor Newmeyer about the subject, please do fill out our Guest Questions form, so they can be asked during the recording on April 20th 2020.