Leech, Geoffrey N. 1936- (Geoffrey Neil Leech)
Leech, Geoffrey N. 1936- (Geoffrey Neil Leech)
Born January 16, 1936, in Gloucester, England; son of Charles Richard (a bank employee) and Dorothy Leech; married Frances Berman, July 29, 1961; children: Thomas, Camilla. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University College London, B.A., 1959, M.A., 1962, Ph.D. 1969; additional study, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1964-65. Religion: Church of England. Hobbies and other interests: Music (playing piano and organ).
Office—Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Lancaster, Bailrigg, Lancaster, LA1 4YT England.
Clarendon School, South Oxhey, Hertfordshire, England, assistant schoolmaster, 1960-61; University of London, University College London, England, assistant lecturer, 1962-65, lecturer in English, 1965-69; University of Lancaster, Bailrigg, Lancaster, England, reader in English, 1969-74, professor of linguistics and English languages, 1974-96, research professor in English linguistics, 1996-2002; emeritus professor, 2002—; Harkness fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1964-65. Military service: Royal Air Force, 1954-56; became senior aircraftsman.
Academia Europea, Philological Society, Linguistic Association of Great Britain, Norske Videnskaps-Akademi.
Doctor of Philosophy, Lund University, Sweden, 1987; fellow of British Academy, 1987; fellow of University College London, 1989; named honorary professor, Beijing Foreign Studies University, 1994; Most Influential Book on Stylistics, Poetics and Linguistics Association, 2005, for Style in Fiction.
English in Advertising: A Linguistic Study of Advertising in Great Britain, Longmans, Green (London, England), 1966.
A Linguistic Guide to English Poetry, Longmans, Green (London, England), 1969.
Towards a Semantic Description of English, Longmans, Green (London, England), 1969, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1970.
Meaning and the English Verb, Longman (New York, NY), 1971, revised edition, 1987, 3rd edition, 2004.
(With Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, and Jan Svartvik) A Grammar of Contemporary English, Longman (London, England), 1972.
Semantics, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1974, revised edition, 1981.
(With Jan Svartvik) A Communicative Grammar of English, Longman (London, England), 1975, revised edition, 1994, 3rd edition, 2002.
Explorations in Semantics and Pragmatics, Benjamins (London, England), 1980.
(With Michael H. Short) Style in Fiction: A Linguistic Introduction to English Fictional Prose, Longman (New York, NY), 1981, 2nd edition, 2007.
(With Margaret Deuchar and Robert Hoogenraad) English Grammar for Today, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1982, 2nd edition, 2005.
Principles of Pragmatics, Longman (New York, NY), 1983.
(With Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, and Jan Svartvik) A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Longman (New York, NY), 1985.
An A-Z Guide to English Grammar and Usage, Longman (New York, NY), 1989, 2nd edition, 2001.
Introducing English Grammar, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1992.
(With Douglas Biber, Stig Johansson, Susan Conrad, and Edward Finegan) Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, Pearson ESL (New York, NY), 1999.
(With Jan Svartvik) English: One Tongue, Many Voices, Palgrave Macmillan (New York, NY), 2006.
(With Sidney Greenbaum and Jan Svartvik) Studies in English Linguistics: For Randolph Quirk, Longman (New York, NY), 1980.
(With Christopher N. Candlin) Computers in English Language Teaching and Research: Selected Papers from the 1984 Lancaster Symposium "Computers in English Language Education and Research," Longman (New York, NY), 1986.
(With Roger Garside and Geoffrey Sampson) The Computational Analysis of English: A Corpus-based Approach, Longman (New York, NY), 1987.
(With Ezra Black and Roger Garside) Statistically-Driven Computer Grammars of English, Rodopi (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 1993.
(With Greg Myers and Jenny Thomas) Spoken English on Computer: Transcription, Mark-up, and Application, Longman (New York, NY), 1995.
(With Roger Garside and Anthony McEnery) Corpus Annotation: Linguistic Information from Computer Text Corpora, Longman (New York, NY), 1997.
Contributor of articles and essays to journals and edited collections.
Geoffrey N. Leech is considered one of the founders of corpus linguistics in England. His books on grammar and style have gone into several editions and are widely used in linguistics curricula. Style in Fiction: A Linguistic Introduction to English Fictional Prose, which Leech wrote with Michael H. Short, celebrated twenty-five years in print in 2006 and went into a second edition the following year. In 2005 the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) named this work the "most influential book on stylistics" since the founding of the PALA in 1980.
In 1999 Leech worked with a team of scholars to write the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, which has been recognized as a landmark in the field of corpus linguistics. In corpus linguistics, scholars study language as it is actually used; taking samples of "real-life" language from a wide range of spoken and written texts, they subject these samples to various computational analyses to derive the rules by which the language is structured. As the book's introduction states, traditional grammars focus on "the form and meaning of grammatical constructions rather than how they are actually used in spoken and written discourse." The Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, by contrast, "describes the actual use of grammatical features in different varieties of English: mainly conversation, fiction, newspaper language, and academic prose." In an interview with Paloma Núñez Pertejo for Atlantis, Revista de la Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos, Leech commented that the research for the book "does inform us a great deal about how English grammar varies between speech and writing, between different types of written genres of texts and so on." At the same time, however, Leech expressed disappointment that he and his coauthors did not have sufficient time to do as thorough a job as possible. It would have taken forty years, in his estimation, to write a corpus-based grammar without gaps and errors.
Discussing his career as a whole and his belief in the importance of linguistics, Leech told Núñez Pertejo that "all our social life and social structures have to depend heavily on language and the way that we communicate through language, so … I think any society which ignores language is really ignoring one of the most important aspects of its condition."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, December 6, 1980, "The Mother Tongue," p. 359.
Atlantis, Revista de la Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos, June 1, 2007, Paloma Núñez Pertejo, "An Interview with Geoffrey Leech," p. 143.
Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, July, 2007, C.P. Jamison, review of English: One Tongue, Many Voices, p. 1908.
Language, June, 1989, W.N. Francis, review of The Computational Analysis of English: A Corpus-based Approach, p. 427; September, 1996, Gabriel Decio, review of A Communicative Grammar of English, 2nd edition, p. 663.
Reference & Research Book News, August, 2007, review of Style in Fiction: A Linguistic Introduction to English Fictional Prose, 2nd edition.
Style, summer, 2007, Geoffrey Leech, "Style in Fiction Revisited: The Beginning of Great Expectations,"; and Mick Short, review of Style in Fiction.
Times Educational Supplement, January 29, 1988, review of Meaning and the English Verb, p. 52.
Lancaster University Department of Linguistics and English Language Web site,http://www.ling.lancs.ac.uk/ (January 8, 2008), Geoffrey Leech faculty profile.