(1921–2001). British linguist, who was trained as a classicist, but turned into a linguist largely under the influence of John Firth. He taught all his life in the Department of Linguistics founded by Firth at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, a department which he eventually chaired. His General linguistics: An introductory survey (1964, 4th ed. 1989) introduced a number of British linguists to their subject and his Yurok language (1958), written during a period of field work in California, was an important contribution to Amerindian linguistics, but most of his work was in history of linguistics. His Short history of linguistics (1967) has had many editions and many translations and provided a model which has been widely imitated. His other major works concern classical and Byzantine linguistics. In general he had a fundamental role in the creation of history of linguistics as a separate discipline.
From International Encyclopedia of Linguistics in Oxford Reference.