Patron Saint of August, 2018

Hey guys! Today, we here at the HLC want to introduce you to a new little series: Patron Saint of the month!

We will introduce you to some of the great movers and shakers in the linguistic world, starting off with the great Angus McIntosh! You might recognise the name? Yeah, that’s because we here at the HLC have mentioned the Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics a couple of times.

Now, you might be wondering, what did this Angus McIntosh do to get a whole centre named after him. And we’ll tell you!

Angus McIntosh was born near Sunderland in 1914. Being interested in the English language, he is said to have been a catalyst to JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as Tolkien started sketching out ideas for the epic stories while convalescing from an ankle injury, which he incurred during a game of tennis with professor McIntosh.

In 1948, professor McIntosh became the first Forbes professor of English language and General linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, where he spent the rest of his academic career dedicated to the advancement of the field. Most famously, McIntosh, together with Michael Samuels and Michael Benskin, devised a method now known as the “Fit Technique”, a revolutionary method used in the study of historical dialects. The impressive result can be seen in A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediaeval English (LALME), still considered an essential reference-work in the study of English historical linguistics.

McIntosh worked tirelessly on behalf of linguists everywhere, and, in 2013, the Institute of Historical Dialectology was renamed to Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics, a wonderful place for researchers and students of historical linguistics alike. Being associated with the University of Edinburgh, the alma mater of all of us here at the HLC, it is only appropriate that the man whose work helped create this marvellous place is our first Patron Saint of the Month!

If you want to know more, check out our source for this piece, where you can find loads more on the life and work of this Patron Saint, here.

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