12:00 AM

Linguistics professor will give autumn commencement address

COLUMBUS – Brian D. Joseph, Distinguished University Professor of Linguistics and the Kenneth E. Naylor Professor of South Slavic Linguistics at The Ohio State University, has been selected to speak at Ohio State autumn quarter commencement. Approximately 2,100 students will receive degrees at the ceremony, which begins at 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 9, at St. John Arena.

Graduates and guests can find complete information on the ceremony
at http://www.osu.edu/commence/

Professor Joseph is one of the world's leading specialists in historical linguistics – the study of how languages change and develop through time.

Joseph plans to talk to graduates about the topic he knows best, language change. "I hope to show that, by example, leading a scholarly, intellectually oriented life of investigation and inquiry can be interesting and rewarding," said Joseph. "I plan to draw as much as I can on examples of language change and language history, focusing, for example, on some changes in local place names and the like."

Professor Joseph earned his bachelor's degree at Yale University and his master's and doctoral degrees at Harvard University before joining the Ohio State faculty in 1979. As chair of the Department of Linguistics from 1987 to 1997, he is credited with helping to develop the department into one of the top programs in the country. He was named a Distinguished University Professor – the university's highest faculty honor – in 2003.

Much of his research has focused on the Greek language, from its earliest appearance about 1500 B.C. to the present — a span of some 3,500 years. He has also examined close relatives of Greek such as Latin, Sanskrit and Albanian. His study of Albanian ties in with another area of his expertise, Balkan linguistics. He has taught courses in historical and general linguistics at all levels, freshman classes up through doctoral seminars and has also been a visiting professor at several other institutions, including the Netherlands Graduate School in Linguistics; the University of North Carolina/Duke University Slavic and East European Language Resource Center; Michigan State University; the University of Canterbury, New Zealand; and the University of the Aegean, Rhodes, Greece.

Professor Joseph is editor of Language, the official journal of the Linguistic Society of America. He has given some 200 presentations at scholarly meetings, symposia and conferences throughout the world; authored or co-authored five books, edited or co-edited seventeen books or special issues of journals, and written or co-written more than 180 articles, book chapters and notes. In addition, he has served on countless committees at the departmental, college, university, national and international professional levels.

He was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2006 and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. In 2003, Ohio Magazine recognized him as one of Ohio's Top 100 Educators in Higher Education with its Excellence in Education Award. He is the recipient of Ohio State's Faculty Award for University Distinguished Service, the University Distinguished Scholar Award, the College of Humanities Exemplary Faculty Award and the Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award.

In addition, during the commencement ceremony, Ohio State will award honorary degrees to Wolfgang Ketterle, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Physics and the John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics and director of the MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms; and John M. Opitz, professor of Pediatrics, Human Genetics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

The university will also present the Distinguished Service Award to Herb Asher, professor emeritus of political science, and W. Rodney Sharp, who has enriched the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences with his ongoing counsel and research partnerships.

Editors note: A photo of Professor Joseph is available by contacting Amy Murray