New Endowments Established in Memory of Charles Fillmore
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 11:04am
Lily Wong Fillmore has established two new LSA endowment funds in memory of her late husband, Charles Fillmore. The endowments will support two new awards at the LSA's biennial Linguistic Institute. The first endowment, supported by a generous initial donation of $200,000, will support the Charles Fillmore Professorship. Further information about the Professorship is provided below. The second endowment, to be supported through individual donations made in honor of Dr. Fillmore, will support the Charles Fillmore Student Fellowship. The fundraising goal for this new Fellowship is $50,000. The LSA invites colleagues, students, friends and extended family to make donations to this new Fillmore Fellowship Fund in his honor.
Charles Fillmore served as President of the LSA in 1991, and was actively involved in many aspects of the LSA's work throughout his illustrious career. The UC Berkeley Linguistics Department has posted information about Dr. Fillmore's life and work on its website, along with appreciations from his former colleagues, students and friends.
Description of the LSA Fillmore Professorship
Background: The scope of Charles Fillmore’s interest in language phenomena was comprehensive rather than narrowly circumscribed. He was intrigued by all facets of language phenomena; his own studies ranged across several areas of linguistic research. His work began in phonetics but moved on to syntax, semantics, pragmatics and lexicography. His lifelong quest was to understand how language worked, and what speakers of a language knew that enabled them to be fluent and capable users of that knowledge. Moreover, he was interested in the relevance of linguistic theory and research to other disciplines, such as cognitive science, lexicography, education, law, neuroscience, and computer science. In the later decades of Fillmore’s career, his research focused on corpus-based studies of words in their conceptual frames. This resulted in the development of the FrameNet Project, an online computational lexicographic database and set of research tools for the study of words and constructions based on his work on Frame Semantics.
Desiderata: Since the endowment will extend for many years, the Charles Fillmore Professorship should not be restricted to any single perspective on linguistic analysis or any particular subfield in Linguistics. Rather, it is intended to recognize Fillmore’s lifelong work on empirically challenging linguistic phenomena and the careful description of language. Thus, the Professorship will honor an individual at any career stage whose research reflects an exceptional understanding of language and the promise of a lasting contribution to its study, as well as a synthesis of linguistic theory with other interdependent disciplines.