John DeFrancis, 1911-2009 Posted on Saturday, January 3, 2009 by Pinyin Info John DeFrancis has died at the age of 97. I’ll write more about this later. Right now, I’m still too sad.
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.
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.
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.
I suspect you’ve already seen it, but I thought Brendan’s tribute was wonderful.