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Obituary: David Alan Cruse

23 Jun 2020

Former Faculty of Humanities colleague remembered

Alan Cruse, a member of the Department of Linguistics for 30 years and a leading figure in linguistics in the field of lexical semantics, died on 13 June 2020. His research in this area was marked by deep and original thinking. His book, Lexical Semantics (Cambridge University Press, 1986) was extremely influential, not just in theoretical research on semantics but also in computational linguistics. He also influenced generations of linguistics students through his introductory textbook on semantics Meaning in Language (Oxford University Press, 1999, third edition 2011). His later work converged with the new theoretical movement of Cognitive Linguistics, where he co-authored with William Croft another widely-used textbook (Cambridge University Press, 2004). 

Alan was born in Newcastle, went to the local grammar school, and did a degree in Botany at Imperial College, London. He taught English in Cyprus and Iraq and became fluent in Arabic, Greek and Turkish. His wide experience abroad enabled him to help many foreign students who were somewhat lost in a foreign land. In retirement he was still revising his books and enjoying learning languages, becoming totally proficient in Welsh and polishing his Arabic. 

He is survived by his wife Paule, a son Pierre and a daughter Lisette.