Search - List of Books by James D. McCawley
James David McCawley (March 30, 1938, in Glasgow — April 10, 1999, in Chicago) was an American linguist.
McCawley was born James Quillan McCawley, Jr. to Dr. Monica Bateman McCawley (b. 1901), a physician and surgeon, and James Quillan McCawley (b. 1899), a businessman. In 1939 his father and two brothers moved to Toronto and founded a roofing company, but his mother remained in Glasgow with the children until after World War Two. James Sr. moved to New York City and finally Chicago, where the family joined him. It was on his arrival in America that young McCawley changed his name to James David McCawley, dropping the "Junior."
He skipped several grades in school and entered the University of Chicago in 1954 at the age of 16 and soon gained early admission to the graduate school, from which he received an M.S. in mathematics in 1958. He then received a Fulbright fellowship to study mathematics and logic in 1959-60 at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität inMünster. During this time he became disillusioned with mathematics, and after sitting in on a linguistics course taught by Eric Hamp, he became more and more interested in the subject and began taking language courses; on his return to America, he applied to the new linguistics graduate program at MIT and was accepted, spending the next three years as a member of the first Ph.D. class there. He worked as a research assistant with the Mechanical Translation group in 1962 and 1963, and in 1965 he received his doctorate for a dissertation under Noam Chomsky on "The accentual system of modern standard Japanese." By this time he had already returned to the University of Chicago as Assistant Professor of Linguistics.
He worked at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Chicago from 1964 until his sudden and unexpected death. His interests encompassed syntax, semantics and phonology. He is perhaps best known within linguistics for his work in generative semantics. Outside academia he is noted for The Eater's Guide to Chinese Characters, his guidebook to deciphering Chinese restaurant menus.
Under the pseudonym "Quang Phúc Ðông" (alleged to be a linguist at the fictitious South Hanoi Institute of Technology), McCawley wrote a paper on "English sentences without overt grammatical subject," which the journal Language credits with being the first satirical linguistics paper.
Total Books: 22