LINGUIST List 11.831

Tue Apr 11 2000

All: Dr. William C. Stokoe, Jr., Dies

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Mark_Mandel, Dr. William C. Stokoe, Jr.

Message 1: Dr. William C. Stokoe, Jr.

Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 14:46:33 -0400
From: Mark_Mandel <>
Subject: Dr. William C. Stokoe, Jr.

Dr. William C. Stokoe, Jr., Dies

Washington, DC--Dr. William C. Stokoe, Jr., 80, Professor Emeritus at
Gallaudet, died on April 4 at his home in Chevy Chase, MD, following a long
illness. Dr. Stokoe, who joined the Gallaudet English faculty in 1955, is
widely recognized, both nationally and internationally, as the creator of the
linguistic study of the sign languages of the deaf. His research led to the
recognition that American Sign Language is a fully formed language.

Dr. Stokoe's research, published works and personal advocacy led to
widespread acceptance of the idea that ASL is an appropriate language of
instruction for deaf students, and even that it is an appropriate second
language for hearing students in high schools and universities in the United

Following Dr. Stokoe's retirement from Gallaudet in 1984, he was named
Professor Emeritus and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University in
1988. He also received honorary doctorates from the University of Copenhagen
in Denmark and Madonna University in Michigan. He was a fellow of the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Cosmos Club of
Washington, DC.

In addition to his work on ASL, Dr. Stokoe was also one of a group of
international scholars who led a revival of scientific interest in the origin
and evolution of the human capacity for language. He was actively writing and
publishing up until the final few weeks of his life, and among his last works
is the manuscript for a book, Language in Hand, that will be published later
this year by Gallaudet University Press.

Dr. Stokoe's family have asked that donations be made to the William C.
Stokoe, Jr. Chair of Ethnographic Studies in Deaf Language and Culture, c/o
Gallaudet University Office of Development, 800 Florida Avenue, NE,
Washington, DC 20002.

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