Elected: 2001
Discipline: Language, Literature and History
Emeritus Professor Peter Ladefoged CorrFRSE
Peter Ladefoged, Professor Emeritus of Phonetics at the University of California at Los Angeles was born in Surrey to a family of Danish extraction. He was educated at Haileybury School, Cambridge University (1943-44) and, after war service in the Royal Sussex Regiment, he completed a PhD at Edinburgh University under the supervision of David Abercrombie on the nature of vowel quality.

After an eight-year Lectureship in Phonetics at Edinburgh, he began in 1962 an association with UCLA that was to last the rest of his life. He established and directed the world-famous Phonetics Laboratory in the UCLA Department of Linguistics, and supervised a series of 20 PhD students, the very large majority of whom have gone on to professorial appointments in diverse countries. All of his students and many of his colleagues reflect the profound influence of a scholar committed to the mutual illumination of meticulously observed data and stringently formulated theory. Peter Ladefoged’s personality was generous, charismatic and liberal. He had endless professional curiosity and boundless energy. He exercised an extraordinary influence on his subject worldwide, through his teaching, his students, his research, and his support of colleagues in the profession of phonetics.

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