4 thoughts on “John DeFrancis, 1911-2009

  1. I look forward to reading your thoughts. He was a true giant in the field, and for my money, his textbooks for beginning and intermediate Chinese are the best out there even today.

    He will be missed, but he lived a long, full life. Rather than be sad at his passing, I prefer to celebrate his achievements.

  2. Truly a giant. His Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy should be required reading by all East Asian specialists (as should Hannas and J Marshall Unger).

    Requiescat In Pace.

  3. I, too, am saddened by his passing. I am not a linguist, but merely a layman interested in languages. Currently, owing to my residence in South Korea, I am making an effort to learn the language here. So, my linguistic interests, which were formerly confined to European languages, have broadened considerably.

    I came across DeFrancis’ masterful Chinese Language: Fact and Fantasy after working my way through Hannas’ Asia’s Orthograpic Dilemma. I really was taken with DeFrancis’ book. I do appreciate scholastic humour and his “The Singlish Affair” has to be one of the most perverse and entertaining works ever to come from the pen of a scholar. Yet, though the humour and the vast amounts of information he gives in that work, one can see the mind of a hugely talented scholar at work and appreciate his erudition.

    His accomplishments were many and great. I am glad that he lived such a long, full life and continued to be active long after retirement. His legacy will live on.

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