[Corpora-List] obituary for John Sinclair by Wei Naixing

Ute Rmer ute.roemer at engsem.uni-hannover.de
Fri Mar 16 09:20:00 CET 2007


Professor Wei Naixing (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China) has asked me to
distribute this message to the Corpora List on his behalf.



In memory of Professor John Sinclair



We are shocked to hear that Professor John Sinclair has left us.
Undoubtedly, the 13th of March 2007 is a saddest day to the world
linguistics, Corpus linguistics in particular. The gap left by the departure
of this innovative thinker and distinguished linguist will be felt in the
hearts of the researchers working along the lines he has set. In deepest
sorrow, we, linguists at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, found that we
cannot express with words our gratitude and respect to John.



John has been Adjunct Professor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University for a span
of two decades. During the period, he has been with us at Shanghai many a
time. We, linguists and students alike, have all benefited a lot from his
inspiring lectures, fresh ideas and witty talks. In the 1980s we were
constructing the first specialized English corpus, JDEST. John offered his
most generous support and shared with Professor Yang Huizhong, our team
leader, his ideas in corpus building. That was a period when John and his
colleagues at COBUILD were still exploring the methods for corpus research.
The then successful accomplishment of JDEST owes a lot to his encouragement.
In the 1990s and at the Millennium, we completed two learner corpora
projects, CLEC and COLSEC, methods and findings of which were planned to be
shown on the 2003 International Conference on Corpus Linguistics (Shanghai)
specially organized. John had just gone through a cardiac operation the
previous year. Nevertheless, upon our invitation, he unhesitatingly agreed
to come and delivered a key-note speech at the conference. In our contacts
with John, we have always enjoyed his genuine friendship and received the
most warm-hearted encouragement. He wanted us to introduce our research to
the international academia. On the 18th of July, 2006, he wrote to me:



Dear Wei:

The Euro-American academic scene is poorly informed about the impressive
research that is going on in China and other countries in the region, and I
hope you will open their minds a little, !



As his former student at Birmingham, I am now filled with the deepest
remorse at these words for not being able to live up to the expectations of
this highly respected and loving teacher.



John has gone. But his friendship with us is imperishable. His landmark
publications are enjoying the largest readership in China. His views are
most frequently quoted in a wide spectrum of studies in China.



Professor John Sinclair will always be remembered among us at Shanghai Jiao
Tong University!



We express our sincere consolation and support to Professor Elena
Tognini-Bonelli and their Children!



Wei Naixing

Professor of English

Research Institute for Natural language Processing

Shanghai Jiao Tong university, China

2007-3-16



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