In Memoriam: E.F.K. Koerner (Feb. 5, 1939 – Jan. 6, 2022)

NAAHoLS founder and pioneer in the field of linguistic historiography

It is with sadness that NAAHoLS notes the passing of a key founder of our organization, Ernst Frideryk Konrad Koerner, generally cited as E.F.K. Koerner and known to colleagues as Konrad.

A tireless researcher and proponent of the study of the history of linguistics, Konrad spent most of his academic career at the University of Ottawa, where he organized the first International Conference on the History of the Language Sciences (ICHoLS) in 1978. At the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA) in San Francisco, California, in 1987, he was instrumental in the founding of NAAHoLS, the North American Association for the History of the Language Sciences, which he named in parallel with the international conference.

In addition to the role he played in organizing and professionalizing the field of linguistic historiography in North America and beyond, Koerner’s wide-ranging scholarship in the field is extensive enough to merit not one but two published bibliographies (Cowan & Foster 1989 and Swiggers 1999). After his retirement from the University of Ottawa in 2001 Konrad moved to Berlin, where he continued to write and to mentor junior scholars throughout the last two decades of his life. NAAHoLS members past and present are grateful to Konrad for his many contributions to our field, both professional and personal.

Konrad Koerner in 2014 (Photo provided by Gonçalo Fernandes and used with permission)