News

August 7, 2018 at 10:56 am

Linguistics Department Began 48 Years Ago with Core Faculty

Group photo, From left: Richard McGinn, Zinny Bond, Marmo Soemarmo, James Coady, and Beverly Flanigan

From left: Richard McGinn, Zinny Bond, Marmo Soemarmo, James Coady, and Beverly Flanigan

By Beverly Flanigan

This fall, the Linguistics Department enters into its 48th year of existence. We have seen many changes over these decades, and have had many dedicated faculty.

Dr. Gilbert Schneider and Dr. Robert Dakin co-founded the department in 1970 after Gil and his wife, Mildred, returned from doing linguistic missionary work in West Africa. He wrote the first Peace Corps manual for West African Pidgin English.

Dr. Dakin had already founded the Ohio Program of Intensive English within the English Department in 1967, but he and Schneider conceived of the new department as a separate entity, and Gil became its first chair. Dr. Dakin, while tenured in Linguistics, continued to be the director of OPIE until he was succeeded first by Charlie Mickelson and then by Gerry Krzic (both graduates of the Linguistics Department).

Gil Schneider retired to Oregon in the late 1980s and died some time later. Bob Dakin passed away in 2016, just a few years after his wife, Elizabeth.

Dr. James Coady and Dr. Marmo Soemarmo both joined the department in 1971. Dr. Richard McGinn was hired in 1977 after he and his wife, Judy, returned from work with the Peace Corps in the Philippines and Indonesia. I joined the department in 1980, and Dr. Zinny Bond transferred to Linguistics from the Hearing and Speech Department in 1984.

Several other faculty, including Dr. David Cross who now resides happily with his family in southern France and has been playing Dixieland jazz trumpet ever since his retirement, served short terms in the early years, but the five “Old Guard” members listed above continued to serve for many years.

Jim Coady established the James and Miriam Coady Phonetics and Phonology Award in 1999, which continues to be given annually to the graduating M.A. student or students who show the most promise in this field. Although he continued to teach one course a year until 2009, Dr. Coady retired from teaching in 2001 and now owns Coady Rentals in Athens.

Dick McGinn retired from teaching Syntax and Field Methods in 2004 and became a leader in the local movement to protect soil and water from pollutants caused by the dumping of fracking waste products in Athens County; he died in March of 2018.

I taught Second Language Acquisition and Sociolinguistics, retired in 2005, and still live in Athens; I am active in the League of Women Voters, the Historical Society, and local neighborhood associations.

Marmo Soemarmo retired from teaching Syntax and Semantics in 2007 and continues to live in Athens.

Zinny Bond taught Psycholinguistics and Historical Linguistics before retiring from Ohio University in 2004 (also continuing teaching one course per year until 2008); she then moved to Columbus and taught phonetics in Hearing and Speech at Ohio State University from 2009 until 2015.

2 Comments

  1. Margarita Baena says:

    It is sad to hear that Dr. McGinn passed away. But it´s nice to hear that Drs. Flannigan, Coady and Somarmo are still in Athens. They look good. Would it be possible to contact them? I am a graduate of the M.A in Linguistics, class of 1983. I have great memories of my stay in Athens. I´d like to come back some time. I am now retired, living in Cali, Colombia, my home town.

  2. Dwayne Strasheim says:

    Thank you for including me on the list of persons to receive the Linguistics Newsletter. I completed my Ph.D. during the summer of 1970 in the English Linguistics program of the English Department. I had arrived in Athens in the fall of 1968 with an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Washington and four years of teaching experience, so Bob Dakin put me right to work teaching OPIE classes. My Ph.D. adviser was Bob Roe, whom, unfortunately, I lost track of shortly after I left Athens, so I would love to hear from any old-timers who might remember him. I went on to complete a 49-year teaching and administrative career at Hastings College in Nebraska.

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