Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Geoffrey Leech - Professor and Specialist in Stylistics - Cleobury Days.

Recently Colin Partridge, a former English teacher at the school, left a comment on this blog. Since then we've had an interesting e mail exchange. I had heard of Colin via his namesake - David Partridge who drew attention to Colin's innovative teaching methods. Colin was at the school Autumn 1959 - Summer 1961. In 1968 he left England to take up an academic post at Victoria University in Canada, eventually become both a professor and an author. I hope to do a post on Colin soon, but first here's an interesting piece of school history that Colin has shared with us. -

Earlier, on Facebook Paul Williamson had remembered Geoffrey Leech and Colin Partridge - 
" I remember Geoffrey Leech as I mentioned on a previous posting about his piano playing, the pair of them were brilliant."


Here's what Colin had to say  -

" Here is a piece of school history you may not be familiar with:

In summer term 1960, when the weather was glorious and the School was closed for approximately three weeks after a member of the administrative staff was diagnosed with jaundice and the students were not allowed to return to "campus" for several weeks in April-May 1960 , a young post-graduate student from London University taught English alongside me at the school. As a young scholar in Linguistics, Geoffrey Leech was interested in all forms of speech, including the speech of the students... Slightly shy, he was best-known among them for his amiable manner and sparkling piano-playing.

Geoffrey Leech became the world-renowned Professor Leech, specialist in Stylistics and contributor to the new English Dictionary under the editorship of Randolph Quirk. Through him the School modestly contributed to the study and re-making of the English language."

From Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoffrey_Leech
"Geoffrey N. Leech (Born 16 January 1936  was Professor of Linguistics and Modern English Language at Lancaster University from 1974 to 2002. He then became Research Professor in English Linguistics. He has been Emeritus Professor in the Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, since 2002."

On this site Geoffrey describes his development and work after leaving Cleobury -

On 1st January 1962, I was fortunate enough to be granted a research studentship at UCL: this was a meagre sum of £750 per year (slightly less even than I had been earning as a very junior teacher), but I was overjoyed to have the opportunity to abandon school teaching and take up full-time research. I owed this ‘break’ to a commercial television company, ATV. How fortunate I was that some television magnate happened to donate to UCL a moderate sum for research on the language of advertising, at that time!...

....I regard it as the most fortunate accident of my career that when I went to study English at University College, I chanced upon a magic circle of leading scholars in the study of language. During my undergraduate years (1956-9), I became particularly interested in the linguistic part of the syllabus, and had opted for what was then called ‘Syllabus B’ – a set of courses which contained a large component of language work, more historical than contemporary."

In this article http://www.ucl.ac.uk/english-usage/about/leech.htm Geoffrey goes on to describe how to work with Randolph Quirk and his development from there. This University of London is an interesting read if you are interested in the development and dynamics of language.

These are some of Geoffrey Leech's many publications - He has written, co-authored or co-edited 29 books and well over a hundred articles and papers in the areas of English grammar, literary stylistics, semantics, computational linguistics, corpus linguistics and pragmatics.

They include:
English in Advertising: A Linguistic Study of Advertising in Great Britain (1966)
A Linguistic Guide to English Poetry (1969)
Meaning and the English Verb (1971, 2nd edn. 1987; 3rd edn. 2004)
Semantics(1974; 2nd edn. 1981)
A Communicative Grammar of English (with J. Svartvik) (1975, 2nd edn. 1994, 3rd edn. 2002)
Style in Fiction: A Linguistic Introduction to English Fictional Prose (with M. Short) (1981; 2nd edn. 2007)
Principles of Pragmatics (1983)
A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (with R. Quirk, S. Greenbaum and J. Svartvik) (1985)
Spoken English on Computer: Transcription, Mark-up and Application (ed. with G. Myers and J. Thomas) (1995)
Corpus Annotation: Linguistic Information from Computer Text Corpora (ed. with R. Garside and T. McEnery) (1997)
Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English (with D. Biber, S. Johansson , S. Conrad and E. Finegan) (1999)
An A-Z of English Grammar and Usage (with B. Cruickshank and R. Ivanic) (2001)
Word Frequencies in Written and Spoken English: based on the British National Corpus (with P. Rayson and A. Wilson) (2001)
Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English (with D. Biber and S. Conrad) (2002)
A Glossary of English Grammar (2006)
English - One Tongue, Many Voices (with J. Svartvik) (2006)
Language in Literature: Style and Foregrounding (2008)
Change in Contemporary English: A Grammatical Study (with M. Hundt, Ch. Mair and N.Smith) (2009)
More of his work can be downloaded here http://ling.lancs.ac.uk/profiles/Geoffrey-Leech/

and his book A Linguistic guide to English Poetry can be downloaded here.

Leech, Geoffrey and Svartvik, Jan. 1975. A Communicative Grammar of English. London: Longman. (2nd edn. 1994).

NEW - August 2014 Professor Geoffrey Leech passed away. There is a good tribute to him on this page

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