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  • Paul M. Lloyd: 1929 – 2007
  • Steve N. Dworkin

With the death of Paul M. Lloyd on December 6, 2007, North American Hispanism has lost one of its most distinguished practitioners of Spanish historical linguistics.

Paul was born on September 15, 1929 in Rochester, New York. After completing military service he attended Oberlin College, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received an A.B. in 1952. He earned an A.M. in Spanish at Brown University, where he wrote his thesis on the Don Juan theme in the plays of Tirso de Molina, a topic to which he returned briefly years later in an essay published in a homage volume to William L. Fichter, one of his teachers at Brown. While working toward his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, he studied Romance Philology under Yakov Malkiel. His dissertation, A Linguistic Analysis of Old Spanish Occupational Terms (1960), is a study of the various word-formation processes employed by Old Spanish in the coining of terms that designated trades and professions. Paul taught as an instructor of Spanish at Dartmouth College from 1958–1960. After one year as a linguistic scientist at the School of Languages, Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. State Department, where he developed a keen interest in Spanish language teaching, Paul joined the Department of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania in 1961. He was promoted from Assistant to Associate Professor in 1967 and to Professor in 1970. Paul spent thirty-eight years at Penn before retiring in 1999. He served [End Page 399] on the editorial board of Hispanic Review, was elected a corresponding member of the Hispanic Society of America in 1992, and was named to the advisory board of the Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies in 1994.

Although Paul’s dissertation was never published, his scholarly interest in derivational morphology resulting from this project led to his masterly critical survey, “An Analytical Survey of Studies in Romance Word-Formation”. The study of a specific issue in this area, the genesis in Romance of verb-complement compounds (e.g., paracaídas ‘parachute’, salvavidas ‘life jacket’) culminated in Paul’s first book-length publication, Verb-Complement Compounds in Spanish, published in 1968 as volume 116 of the prestigious Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie.

In the following years Paul worked assiduously on the preparation of a historical grammar of Spanish, designed to replace Ramón Menéndez Pidal’s venerable but outdated Manual de gramática histórica española (1902, last revised in 1941). Several of the studies that Paul published in the 1970s –on such topics as Latin and Spanish syllable structure, metaphony, the role of substratum languages on sound change, and the nature and meaning of the concept Vulgar Latin– clearly represent the first fruits of this longterm project. His From Latin to Spanish, Vol. 1: Historical Phonology and Morphology of the Spanish Language was completed by 1981, but difficulties in finding a publisher delayed its appearance until 1987. This book clearly constitutes one of the most important contributions to Spanish historical linguistics of the last quarter century, and it earned its author the 1988 “John Frederick Lewis Award” from the American Philosophical Society for the best book published by the Society in the previous year. Its clear overview detailing previous analyses of Spanish historical phonology and inflectional morphology are finely balanced by the author’s own insights and introduced by a noteworthy opening chapter on the nature of language change.]

The translation into Spanish under the title Del latín al español I: Fonología y morfología históricas de la lengua española has made this excellent example of North American research widely available in the Spanish-speaking world. Sadly, Paul never completed the planned (and much-awaited) second volume on syntax and word-formation. [End Page 400]

On the occasion of his retirement from active teaching in 1999, Paul was the recipient of a homage volume, Essays in Hispanic Linguistics Dedicated to Paul M. Lloyd (Blake, Ranson and Wright) which, in addition to a biographic sketch and a bibliography of his writings (Dworkin), contains fifteen essays contributed by an international...


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