The latest article by Sarah G. (Sally) Thomason, Bernard Bloch Distinguished Professor Emerita of Linguistics, has been accepted for publication in the Annual Review of Linguistics.
In the autobiographical article, “How I Got Here and Where I’m Going Next,” professor Thomason takes a spirited and often humorous approach to describing her fifty-year career as a linguist. Professor Thomason retired from U-M on May 31, 2021.
As professor Thomason describes in the article’s abstract (below), the first two decades of her career “featured insecurity combined with the luck of wandering into situations that ultimately helped me become a better linguist and a better teacher.”
The article was written at the invitation of the Annual Review of Linguistics, which has begun inviting senior linguists to write autobiographical articles. Professor Thomason comments, however, that most such articles are “much more solemn and scholarly” than her own.
My career falls into two distinct periods. The first two decades featured insecurity combined with the luck of wandering into situations that ultimately helped me become a better linguist and a better teacher. I had the insecurity mostly under control by the watershed year of 1988, when I published a favorably reviewed coauthored book on language contact and also became editor of Language. Language contact has occupied most of my research time since then, but my first encounter with Séliš-Ql’ispé (a.k.a. Montana Salish), in 1981, led to a 40-year dedication to finding out more about the language and its history
Sally remains actively involved in the Linguistics Department and continues to lead the historical linguistics discussion group this year.