Allan Metcalf

Posted: March 2022

The LSA regrets to announce the death of longtime LSA member Allan Metcalf on February 24, 2022. Metcalf first joined the LSA in 1967, eventually becoming a Life Member of the Society. As the executive secretary of the American DialectAllan Metcalf Society (ADS) for 37 years until retiring in 2018, Metcalf was instrumental in arranging for the ADS to become a "sister society" of the LSA in 1995, so that the two organizations would hold their annual meetings concurrently and share many aspects of their programming and special events. According to Metcalf, "the 1995 ADS newsletter article announcing the move was titled 'MLA Ditched, LSA Hitched.' The move proved to be a hit, an unqualified success. We were one of the many allied organizations always fighting for space with MLA . What a difference – LSA actually welcomed us."

According to the notice published on the ADS website, "Metcalf was also the author of eight popular books on language, including OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word and From Skedaddle to Selfie: Words of the Generations. Among his lasting impacts, besides shepherding this society and its members through the decades and his founding of the society’s words-of-the-year event, was setting an example of openness in welcoming newcomers to linguistics and sociolinguistics, whether they be students, amateurs, schoolteachers, or fellow scholars. His kindness and gentle insistence could keep rooms full of joke- and tangent-prone linguists on track, and as a public face of the field of linguistics, he was professional, well-spoken, and expert."

"For more about his work, books, and career, please see his personal website. We will include a link here to an obituary and any memorial service information when we have them. The Springfield, Illinois, State Journal-Register has posted a remembrance."