Allen, W(illiam) Sidney 1918-2004

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ALLEN, W(illiam) Sidney 1918-2004


See index for CA sketch: Born March 18, 1918, in London, England; died April 22, 2004. Philologist, educator, and author. Allen was knowledgeable in languages ranging from Icelandic to Sanskrit, but he was most influential as a scholar of ancient Greek and Latin and is credited with making many corrections on how these languages should be properly pronounced. Enrolling at Trinity College, Cambridge, on a scholarship, his studies were quickly interrupted by World War II, during which he served in the British Royal Tank Regiment—the Westminster Dragoons—and as an intelligence officer for the General Staff. While in the military, he served for a time in Iceland, taking advantage of the opportunity to learn the language there. After the war, he returned to Trinity, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1949. Allen's academic career began at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, where he was a lecturer in phonetics and comparative linguistics until 1955. He then joined the faculty at Trinity as a professor of comparative philology, where he remained until his 1982 retirement. In 1951 Allen traveled to India, where he studied Sanskrit and phonetics. Back at Trinity, he was made a chair in 1955 and fellow of Trinity College that same year, helping to create a department of linguistics there. Allen then turned his interests from India to ancient Greece and Rome, and his research greatly influenced scholars' understanding of how these languages should be pronounced. In his travels to Greece, Allen developed an fascination for the cartography of the myriad of islands there, including the island of Kaloyeros, which had been largely destroyed by an earthquake. A president of the Philological Society from 1965 to 1967 and an elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1971, Allen was widowed in 1996, marrying his second wife, Diana, in 2002. He was the author of several influential texts, including Phonetics of Ancient India (1953), Vox Latina (1965; 2nd edition, 1978), Vox Graeca (1968; 3rd edition, 1987), and Accent and Rhythm (1973).



Times (London, England), June 3, 2004, p. 35.

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Allen, W(illiam) Sidney 1918-2004

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