Dell Hymes (1927-2009)

I woke up this morning to receive the following notice in my inbox:

Last Friday our distinguished colleague Dell Hymes passed away peacefully in his sleep.

It hasn’t yet been reported in the newspapers, but Jason Baird Jackson has a post speaking to Hymes’ contribution in the fields of anthropology and folklore:

Dell Hymes was a amazingly influential folklorist, anthropologist, and linguist who revolutionized the study of language in (/and) culture in general, and of Native American narrative traditions in particular. He made important contributions to the history of anthropology, to descriptive and theoretical linguistics, to sociolinguistics, to folkloristics, and to Native American studies. He essentially created the areas on inquiry known as (1) the ethnography of speaking and (2) ethnopoetics and he played a key role reshaping linguistic anthropology from the 1960s onward.

For those at the AAA in Philadelphia, there will be a memorial Saturday December 5, 2009 from 7:30-9:30 in Grand Ballroom III at the courtyard Marriott.

One thought on “Dell Hymes (1927-2009)

  1. Here is the official announcement

    It is with sadness that we announce the death of our distinguished colleague Dell Hathaway Hymes, Commonwealth Professor of Anthropology and English (Emeritus) at the University of Virginia. Professor Hymes died peacefully on Friday November 13, 2009 in Charlottesville, VA. A memorial service will be held on Saturday November 21 at 1:00 at Peace Lutheran church, 1510 Broad Crossing Rd, Charlottesville, VA. A memorial gathering has also been organized at the upcoming meetings of the American Anthropological Association in Philadelphia, PA. The gathering will take place on Saturday December 5, 2009 from 7:30-9:30 pm in Grand Ballroom III of the Courtyard Marriott hotel (downtown). Condolences may be addressed to Virginia Hymes care of the Department of Anthropology, PO Box 400120, Charlottesville, VA, 22904-4120. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice ( or a charity of choice.

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