Michael Cahill

Man with short grey hair parted on the side, blue eyes, rimless glasses, and a blue plaid button down shirt. He is looking over his left shoulder, smiling gently.Michael Cahill (1954-2024), a lifetime member of the Linguistic Society of America, began his linguistic career in Ghana, where he lived and worked with speakers of the Kɔnni language. While in Ghana in 1982 he met his wife, Virginia, and they married in 1984. He earned a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Ohio State University (1999). His primary research interests were in Kɔnni, African languages and phonology, especially tone, ATR vowel harmony and labialvelar stops. In later years, he developed a strong interest in orthography for previously unwritten languages, including co-editing with Keren Rice a 2014 volume of papers entitled Developing Orthographies for Unwritten Languages that grew out of an LSA symposium. He gathered an extensive set of resources on orthography issues and made them freely available to language communities (https://www.sil.org/orthography).

At the time of his death, Mike was the International Orthography Services Coordinator and a Senior Linguistics Consultant for SIL International, as well as an Adjunct Associate Professor at Dallas International University. He previously served as Editor-in-Chief of SIL's Global Publishing Services (2010-2015), its International Linguistics Coordinator (1999-2010), and in several positions in the Ghana Institute of Linguistics, Literacy and Bible Translation (1983-1993).

Mike served on several LSA committees, including the Committee on Endangered Languages and their Preservation and the Ethics Committee. He attended the LSA annual meeting regularly where he was often seen at SIL International's book table.

His gentle, friendly and supportive manner is remembered by all who knew him.

Mike is survived by his wife, Virginia, their three grown children, Deborah Hays (married to Eric), Laura, and Stephen, and four grandchildren, Jude, Anika, Heidi, and Lovisa. 

Professional page: https://www.sil.org/biography/mike-cahill
Publications listed in SIL's Language and Culture Archives: https://www.sil.org/resources/search/contributor/cahill-michael