W. Keith Percival

Posted: June 2021

The LSA regrets to report the passing of LSA Life Member Dr. W. Keith Percival (February 24th, 1930-December 6th, 2020). Percival was a professor of historical linguistics, whose research included work on various languages and reflections on the history of the field itself (visit his website to learn more about his work). Originally from Leeds, England, Pervical’s interest in language and learning took him to various European countries (Germany, Sweden, Finland, Spain) and eventually to the U.S., to obtain his Ph.D. at Yale. While in the U.S. he also worked at MIT, was the Department Chair for Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and taught at the University of Kansas for 26 years. He continued to publish after his retirement in 1995. Percival joined the LSA in 1957, and his niece, Lisa Peterson, reported that the community he found through the LSA was always very important to him.