Morris Halle

Morris Halle
Morris Halle.jpg
Halle in 2011
Morris Pinkowitz

(1923-07-23)July 23, 1923
Liepāja, Latvia
DiedApril 2, 2018(2018-04-02) (aged 94)
Alma materHarvard, Columbia University, University of Chicago, City College of New York
Scientific career
FieldsPhonology, morphology, generative grammar
Doctoral advisorRoman Jakobson

Morris Halle (/ˈhæli/; July 23, 1923 – April 2, 2018) was a Latvian-born Jewish American linguist who was an Institute Professor, and later professor emeritus, of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The father of "modern phonology",[1] he was best known for his pioneering work in generative phonology, having written "On Accent and Juncture in English" in 1956 with Noam Chomsky and Fred Lukoff and The Sound Pattern of English in 1968 with Chomsky. He also co-authored (with Samuel Jay Keyser) the earliest theory of generative metrics.

Life and career

Halle was born - as Morris Pinkowitz (Latvian: Moriss Pinkovics) - on July 23, 1923 in Liepāja, Latvia. In 1929 he moved with his Jewish family to Riga.[2] They arrived in the United States in 1940. From 1941 to 1943, he studied engineering at the City College of New York. He entered the United States Army in 1943 and was discharged in 1946, at which point he went to the University of Chicago, where he got his master's degree in linguistics in 1948. He then studied at Columbia University under Roman Jakobson, became a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951, and earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1955. He retired from MIT in 1996, but he remained active in research and publication. He was fluent in German, Yiddish, Latvian, Russian, Hebrew and English.

Halle was married for fifty-six years to painter, artist and activist Rosamond Thaxter Halle (née Strong), until her death in April 2011. They had three sons: David, John and Timothy.

Halle resided in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He died on April 2, 2018 at the age of 94.[3]


  1. ^ Thus considered by Noam Chomsky, see Morris Halle (MIT): On the morpho-phonology of the Latin verb, introduced by Noam Chomsky.
  2. ^ E.K. Brown, R.E. Asher, and J.M.Y. Simpson, Encyclopedia of language & linguistics, Volume 1.
  3. ^ Dizikes, Peter (April 3, 2018). "Institute Professor Emeritus Morris Halle, innovative and influential linguist, dies at 94". MIT News. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

External links

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