Lyons, John, 1932-2020
by Eve V. Clark and Ruth Kempson FBA
- 26 Nov 2020
- 14 (pages 419-432)
Sir John Lyons was among the first twentieth-century theoretical linguists to focus on semantics, and he rapidly gained a reputation as a major semanticist. He taught successively at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), at Cambridge with the first named Lectureship in Linguistics, then took up the Chair of General Linguistics at Edinburgh before moving to Sussex University. In 1984 he became Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In his research, he emphasised the subjectivity of language against theoretical orthodoxy, was an inspiring teacher and a significant supporter of junior researchers. His book Semantics remains a major reference work.