In memory of Morris Halle

Morris Halle has passed away. He was a colossus of linguistic theory, one of the most important linguists ever, and he was also a terrific person. I (Peter Svenonius) have learned an immense amount from his articles and I learned quite a lot from him personally as well. He taught a week-long minicourse here in Tromsø many years back (together with Nigel Fabb) which was terrific, and I had many good conversations with him at MIT when I spent my sabbatical there. He was full of wit and vigor and insight. He was a great discussant especially for issues of phonology and morphophonology but also for linguistic theory in general. He once told me that he believed that functional explanations were always wrong. I understood him to mean that all functional attempts to explain anything in linguistics have failed. I thought it was hyperbole, but I worked hard to come up with convincing counterexamples that weren’t completely trivial and failed.

There is a kind of an obituary with some comments and links here:

Morris Halle R.I.P.

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