Geoffrey Nunberg

Posted: August 2020

The LSA regrets to report that Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist well known for his general audience publications and his regular radio commentaries on NPR’s Fresh Air, died on August 11 at his home in San Francisco. 

Geoff joined the LSA in 1970 and was a Life Member. He was an adjunct full professor in the School of Information at the University of California Berkeley. Until 2001, he was a principal scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, working on the development of linguistic technologies. He also taught at UCLA, the University of Rome, and the University of Naples. 

His linguistics research included work in semantics and pragmatics, text classification, normative grammar, and written-language structure—and recently, on the use of taboo language like vulgarities and slurs. Additionally, he worked on the social and cultural implications of new technologies.

Nunberg was also the linguist contributor on NPR's Fresh Air and he wrote on language, technology, culture, and politics for publications including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the American Prospect, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the New Republic, the Los Angeles Review of Books and the Atlantic. For his general writing about language, Nunberg was awarded the LSA's Language and the Public Interest Award in 2001

Learn more about Geoff and his work here

Visit UC Berkeley School of Information's In Memoriam and share your personal memories of and tributes to Geoff Nunberg here.

Update: View the New York Times' In Memoriam tribute for Geoff Nunberg here