I am a Linguist provides a fascinating account of the academic adventures of multi-faceted linguist, R.M.W. (Bob) Dixon. There is fieldwork (and lengthy grammars) on Dyirbal, Yidiñ and other Aboriginal languages of Australia, the Boumaa dialect of Fijian, and Jarawara from the dense jungles of Amazonia. Theoretical studies include adjective classes, ergativity and complement clauses. There are also detective novels, science fiction stories, and pioneering work on blues and gospel discography. Interspersed with the autobiographical narrative are explanations of how linguistics is a scientific discipline, of the development of universities, of diminishing academic standards, and of the treatment of Aboriginal people in Australia. The book is written in an easy, accessible style with numerous illustrative anecdotes. It will be an inspiration to young linguists and of interest to the general reader curious about what a scientific linguist does.
R. M. W. (Bob) Dixon, PhD (London), DLitt (ANU), FBA has taught at University College London, Harvard University and the Australian National University, and is currently Adjunct Professor within the Cairns Institute at James Cook University in tropical North Queensland, Australia. He is the author of 20 scholarly monographs and 125 papers on linguistics (and editor or co-editor of 20 more volumes).
Praise for R.W.M. Dixon’s I am a Linguist
“As a student of language I cannot commend his stance too highly. I urge younger
linguists in particular, to mark all he says about their subject, to empathise with all his triumphs
of analysis, and find inspiration in his example.”
Peter Matthews, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics, University of Cambridge
“The author’s descriptions of his field trip experiences are superb and the story of his musical pursuits is downright moving. He has done for ‘threatened music’ the same thing that he has done for threatened languages.” Reader’s report
Graduate and undergraduate students of linguistics and anthropology, all types of linguists and anthropologists, aficionados of blues and gospel music, a wide range of educated general readers