Tributes and Memories

dsc_0004We invited friends, colleagues, past and present, students and former students to post tributes and share their memories of Geoff. 

Tributes are now closed, thank you.

96 thoughts on “Tributes and Memories

  1. Below is the text of my Notice concerning Geoff’s passing, which will appear in the next issue of the European Narratology Network newsletter, Michael Toolan.

    Geoffrey Leech (1936 – 2014)
    Linguists of many subfields, including those who research the language of literary narratives, are mourning the sudden death this summer of Geoffrey Leech, at the age of 78. Geoff (as everyone seemed to call him) made a huge contribution to not one but several fields of language study, but principally four: English grammar, corpus linguistics, linguistic pragmatics, and stylistics.

    With regard to the first of these, English grammar, he contributed to both the ‘Contemporary’ and the ‘Comprehensive’ Grammars of English in a team led by Randolph Quirk, and then also to the corpus-based Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English, prepared by a team led by Douglas Biber; but long before these had come his immensely useful Meaning and the English Verb, now in its 3rd edition. He was a champion of computational and corpus linguistic methods as soon as these were feasible, being instrumental in the design and preparation first of the Lancaster-Oslo/Bergen corpus, and later of the indispensable British National Corpus, in particular working on the difficult challenges of automated tagging of the corpus data; fruits of those labours include a co-authored books on corpus annotation and on word frequencies in modern English. An interest in pragmatics was latent in his early books on English in Advertising (1966: his first monograph) and on the English verb, and in his Semantics (1971), which followed shortly after; but it emerged fully-developed in his Principles of Pragmatics (1983); just two weeks before his death, The Pragmatics of Politeness appeared from OUP, which promises to be a landmark study of what Leech called the pragmalinguistic phenomena concerning politeness. Finally in the field of stylistics, three books stand out especially: his 1969 Linguistic guide to English poetry, the justly celebrated Style in Fiction 1981, co-written with his long-time colleague Mick Short, still a mainstay of English literary stylistics the world over; and his apologia for his own approach to stylistics, seeing it as an invaluable bridge subject, negotiating between linguistics and literary criticism, Language in Literature (2008). His publications in each of those areas earned him a wide circle of international admirers, so having achieved this four times over reflects a quite exceptional versatility.

    Geoff Leech was born and raised in Gloucestershire, where he attended Tewkesbury Grammar School, before proceeding to University College London for his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees (the latter enriched by the award of a prestigious Harkness Fellowship, spent at MIT, in 1964-5). Leech also taught at UCL briefly, before moving to the new university at Lancaster in 1969, where he was one of the first members of the English Department to be a language and linguistics specialist. Although he must have had numerous lucrative offers, he never left, devoting his entire career to Lancaster. In 1974 a separate Linguistics Department was created, and Leech became its first Head, and was instrumental in its development as one of the leading centres of English linguistics research. He retired early in 1996, but there seems to have been no diminution whatsoever in his research or academic activity. Recognition came to him in many honours, including being made a Fellow of the British Academy and the award of honorary doctorates from Lund University and Charles University.

    I saw Geoff as recently as late July, only a few weeks before his untimely death; indeed we were part of a quintet singing a madrigal to captives at the conference dinner of the Poetics and Linguistics Association meeting in Maribor (he was a gifted pianist and church organist). At the Maribor conference Geoff had given another fine plenary, concerning his revisions to his view of pragmatics. He was as friendly, approachable and unassuming as ever, a fount of knowledge modestly imparted. Personal anecdotage corner: when in my first degree at Edinburgh University I was first excited by the prospect of a systematic, linguistically-informed analysis of literary technique and effect, it was because books like Geoff’s Linguistic Guide to English Poetry had begun to appear. His work in pragmatics and corpus linguistics was equally pioneering, leading the way where many since have followed. Just as inspiringly, he remained fascinated by and devoted to English linguistics to the end of his life: non scholae, sed vitae. Our sadness at his passing is tempered by memories of his grace and good humour, and the wisdom copiously displayed in his many important publications.

  2. I find it hard to believe that Geoff is no longer with us. As a postgrad in linguistics in the 1980s I had the immeasurable good luck to be involved in co-lecturing with him and Mick, and his unfailing patience and gentleness helped overcome my awe at his intellect and productivity. He is missed.

  3. Rest in peace Professor Geoffrey Neil Leech: distinguished academic, eminent scholar, erudite and doyen. Definitely, you have left footprints in the sands of time – footprints that all budding academics like myself would aspire to follow, even if it means achieving half of your achievements.

    We don’t mourn you; rather, we celebrate you because you’ve been a real gift and talent to the world. Do rest in the bosom of the Lord, sir. Our heartfelt condolences and commiserations to the immediate family. #LeechIncredibleLegacy.

    Nartey, Mark.
    Postgraduate student of Linguistics
    Norwegian University of Science and Technology

  4. In Professor Geoffrey Leech, true scholarship and humility meet. A proliphic thinker, he was very generous and charismatic, He left no one indifferent to both the depth and of his research or the integrity of his person. of his

    Rest In Peace, Geoff!,

    Ali Boumoussa,
    Former Student at Lancaster University .

  5. Geoffrey Leech’s death is a great loss. He has been and will be a key figure in fields such as the descriptive grammar of English, pragmatics, discourse analysis, and corpus linguistics, but beyond that, he was a gentle man who was really passionate about his work and did not mind sharing his time with students.

  6. Prof Geoffrey Leech’s contribution to the areas of language and linguistics is immense. When I received the sad news about him, his Style in Fiction, a co-worked treatise with Michael Short, was just within my hand’s reach on the desk as a reference book for use. Thank Geoff for dedicating himself to the academia and greatly expanding the branch of knowledge of linguistics. His words and knowledge will always stay with us in this world.

  7. Geoffrey Leech was one of the giants of linguistics in the English-speaking world. Maybe better, in the world, period. He was a gentle, extraordinarily kind man, generous with ideas, at peace with the world around him in a way that few academics are. I first met him in the summer of 1970, and then at his invitation “replaced” him in 1972 for the term he spent at Brown. Of course no one could “replace” Geoff Leech. He had obviously affected his colleagues and his students very positively, and they lamented his absence. It was impossible for me to fill the vacuum Geoff left behind, a task made more difficult because that period was a very stressful one in the history of Lancaster University, the Craig Affair of storied memory. Geoff mentored people who became prominent in linguistics both in Britain and around the world. Margaret’s and my condolences go out to Fanny and to Geoff’s many colleagues and friends in Lancaster.

  8. I have benefited a great deal from Professor Leech’s work and effort in stylistics and corpus linguistics. He is such an eminent, active and approachable researcher like always in my memory. His sudden passing made me feel shocked and sorrow.
    My heartfelt respect to Professor Leech and condolences to his family.

  9. I met Geoff for the first time at the end of July, 2014. We had a very brief talk, I felt he was a very nice person because I asked to pay a visit to him next time, and he happily agreed. What a loss for the linguistics department!

  10. Geoff’s sudden death came to me as a great shock. I feel privileged and honoured to have known him ever since I joined the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) in 1980. I will always remember him as an outstanding scholar in many areas of linguistics, who had a profound influence on my academic career. Though he was world famous, Geoff was always remarkably unassuming and, as Mick Short once said to me, “the kindest man in world”. Personally, I met with his great kindness and warmth when I was staying at his house in Kirkby Lonsdale during a symposium in Lancaster.
    I offer my heartfelt condolences to Geoff’s wife Fanny, and his family.

  11. Like many people, I was shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Prof. Geoffrey Leech.
    He is such a broad-minded, kind person.
    It was very fortunate for me to be supervised by him.
    He has the foresight to create annotated corpora and initiate corpus-based approaches in Linguistics, one of the greatest contributions to the discipline and empirical sciences.
    I wish I could pay my last respects to him.
    I deeply express my grief, and hope to visit my mentor’s grave in the near future.

  12. I was shocked to hear the sad news. I didn’t believe at first. Geoffrey Leech was such a great man! Despite his scholarship, research and contributions, I had never seen such a humble man. The students of linguistics in the Department of English, University of Karachi know him only through his books and ideas. Geoff’s death has definitely caused a great loss to Linguistics.

  13. This summer I attended the PALA conference in Maribor and to my great joy found that Geoff and Fanny were there. I am grateful for that last meeting, I cherish the time we had together; we talked, we walked, our large group had dinner in the open air on a hill and we sat next to each other, we laughed, I listened and learned, and I could also listen to Geoff lecture again.
    When I first went to Lancaster the presence of Geoff I felt was like sunshine, making the dark and rainy campus a school of revelations, interest and hope. There are very few people one meets and feels that one is in the presence of greatness, both intellectual and moral.
    Geoff is a blessing for us all, an everlasting encouragement to think, work and be good. Thank you, Geoff Leech. Fanny, please accept my heartfelt sympathy and respect.

  14. Wonderful to have known Geoffrey, and I cherish many fond memories of him. For me, he provided an extremely warm welcome to the University when I came to work in Lancaster, and was a constant enthusiast and encouragement to all his fellow researchers, at all stages in their development. He was never short of an excellent question on even the most esoteric topic, and could make the most nervous speaker giving their first talk completely at ease – sitting near the front, smiling and nodding throughout.

  15. I am sunk in such a deep sorrow, remembering his friendly smile and gentle voice, which always warmed my heart when I was a MA student under his supervision at Lancaster University, and which remained exactly the same after over ten years; when I saw him again at one of his lectures in Japan this spring, he kindly talked to me just as he did in Lancaster, and his unchanged warm-heartedness made me full of emotion. It seems impossible to find any words to fully express my gratitude and sorrow, but I hope this tribute in words will convey my sincere condolences at least.

  16. Professor Leech makes use of every minute of his life to help others either verbally or through his publications. He treats everyone equally regardless of their race, nationality or religion. His lifelong learning pursuit and spirit of compassion will never leave us.

  17. I am deeply saddened by the loss of our prominent and well-known professor Geoffrey Leech’s sudden death. I was honored to be introduced to him by Mick Short in the university of Huddersfield before his talk starts. It is worth saying that before being introduced to this eminent personality, Geoffrey Leech’s books of Grammar were very popular and being read by enormous students and researchers in my country and I was one of those who admire his work. During the time I started my PhD in Stylistics in Huddersfield University I began to realise that Geoffrey Leech has also offered enormous research and books in Stylistics.
    My condolences to his family, Mick Short, Paul Simpson and all PALA Members.

  18. On behalf of the members of Sophia Linguistic Institute for International Communication, I want to express heart-felt condolences for the family of Professor Geoffrey Leech. Professor Leech visited our institute several times, giving insightful thought-provoking lectures on the topic that is relevant to the interest of all the members of the institute. Meanwhile, he proved to be an outstanding scholar with a great sense of modesty. He was sincere but humorous, serious but friendly, and far-famed but approachable. By means of an exceptional combination of scholarship and character, he helped us not only deepen our knowledge about languages, but also unite the entire humanity.

    August 2014

    Sophia Linguistic Institute of International Communication
    Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan
    Yoshinori Watanabe, PhD

  19. I was a student at Lancaster University between 1981 and 1984. I wanted to study English Literature. However, because of the Lancaster degree structure, I chose Linguistics as a ‘minor’ subject and entered a world of study that I didn’t know existed.

    Geoff Leech’s lectures on grammar and stylistics were a revelation to me. As a result, linguistic study became a core part of my degree, of my subsequent teaching in schools, and of my ongoing writing and public speaking about literature and literacy.

    Unwittingly, Geoff did what great teachers do: he changed the course of my life. I am so pleased to have been able to attend July’s fortieth anniversary of the Department, and to have been able to tell him, in person, just how much I learnt from him.

  20. Although I have not had any personal contact with Geoff Leech, I cherish great admiration for and deep gratitude to him, since I have benefited immensely from his work. I was truly saddened by the news of his passing. My heartfelt condolences to his family.

  21. I met Geoff Leech during the LIAR II conference and I will always remember him as a very generous person devoting much of his time to giving extremely constructive feedback to novel researchers. I will always remember his kindness, generocity and professionalism. A really great man and scholar.

  22. We are so sad to hear that Geoffrey passed away suddenly. Through the latter half of the twentieth century, he was one of the best known English scholars in our century. The width of his research coverage, ranging from grammar, semantics and pragmatics to stylistics and poetics, coupled with his clear ways of presentation, had an immense impact on so many students and scholars of English in our country. Yoshihiko, together with some colleagues of his, translated several books by Geoffrey into Japanese, and he remembers he always found it a great joy to be translating so cogently organized writings as Geoffrey’s. We only regret that he passed away so soon. May his soul rest in peace!

  23. I was deeply saddened by the loss of our well-known professor Geoffrey Leech’s sudden death, the news was a shock for me. I was honoured to meet Geoff when he gives a talk in the university of Huddersfield on the 19th of March 2014.
    My condolences to his family, Paul Simsion, Mick Short and all PALA Members.

  24. He was a very nice man; I only met him a couple of times, but like many of us, I knew and was much influenced by his work, and on the day I heard of his passing, by chance I had been consulting his Linguistic Guide (for what he had to say about rhyme and alliteration); he also helped me get one of my first research grants, for which I am most grateful.

  25. Prof. Geoffrey Leech’s sudden death has brought back my vague memories of the London days I spent half a century ago. In 1967-68 I was a visiting student at UCL. Prof. Quirk advised me to take a course in semantics during the spring term. The teacher was Geoffrey Leech, a young lecturer. Therefore, I was his rare Japanese student in his UCL days, though I was by three years his senior. In his class he never talked about ‘corpus’ or ‘computing.’ I was only interested in historical syntax. He made the following witty remark about this: “Neither he (=Saito) nor I were immediately inspired by Quirk’s corpus work. ….Nevertheless, we must have both caught from Quirk a latent ‘corpus bug’ which came to fruition when our careers had progressed further.” (Leech’s Foreword to my Festschrift, Yamazaki & Sigley eds., Approaching Language Variation through Corpora, 2013)

    This year Prof. Leech stayed in Japan, making a lecture tour, from May to June at the invitation of Soka University. On 24 May, he gave a lecture at a meeting held in Tokyo by Japan Association for English Corpus Studies (JAECS). And then he was surprised with the presentation of a Certificate of Appreciation in praise of his long-time dedication to the promotion of corpus linguistics in Japan.I was away from the meeting owing to my continuing bad health. Next day he emailed me, saying, “I was very moved and honoured to receive the certificate of appreciation,” and added, “I will frame the certificate and proudly put it on my office wall, but I will hardly feel I deserve such an honour.” Indeed, he was a man of modesty. So I replied to him: “Of course you deserve our appreciation and gratitude. When we founded JAECS in 1993, we had to fight against the strong computer-allergy prevalent among traditional philologists as well as the Chomskian paradigm still predominant in Japan. We would have lost the fight without the lectures, encouragement and advice given by the pioneers in corpus linguistics, esp. you, . . .”

    JAECS started with a membership of about 60 in 1993, when computing in the humanities in Japan was at least ten years behind the Western level. However, we were very fortunate to have had as guest speakers such famous corpus linguists as J. Svartvik and G. Kennedy in 1997, G. Leech in 1999, D. Biber and R. Reppen in 2000, J. Aarts in 2002, S. Johansson in 2003 and so on. Their presence contributed very much to raising in Japan the profile of corpus linguistics as well as that of JAECS.

    As Prof. Masahiro Hori says in his tribute, Prof. Leech was a missionary of (English) corpus linguistics. Once he gave a lecture at JAECS in 1999, he got interested in this small national organization, and gave us a kind and generous helping hand in various ways, such as his returned lectures, his contribution of attractive forewords to T. Saito, J. Nakamura, and S. Yamazaki (eds.) English Corpus Linguistics in Japan (2002), and the above-quoted Festschrift (2013), etc. Thanks to such help and moral support from Prof. Leeeh and the other pioneers as well as our own efforts, JAECS rapidly grew to be awarded honorary institutional membership by ICAME in 2002. That’s why Prof. Leech deserves the Certificate of Appreciation.

    When Prof. Leech flew back home, finishing his lecture tour with great success, I sent him a thank-you email (16 June), adding a line: “I hope you will have a good rest for now.” Alas! I never thought he would be gone earlier than his older Japanese student. I was looking forward to receiving the photo of the framed Certificate in his office with him standing beside it! I will miss him.

    Prof. Geoffrey Leech was, in the true sense of the word, a scholar—to the core.

    Toshio Saito
    Professor Emeritus, Osaka University
    Ex-President (1993-2001) & Adviser, Japan Association for English Corpus Studies

  26. I had the privilege of knowing and working with Geoff for over 30 years, in my capacity of publisher at Longman Dictionaries. Geoff was Deputy Chair of our advisory committee, Linglex (Randolph Quirk being the Chair), and Co-chair of our advisory committee (with Professor Y. Ikegami) of the Longman English-Japanese bilingual dictionary (published in 2006), and I worked with him also on the two large Longman grammars. His understanding of language and linguistics were, of course, second to none, and his contribution to semantics and pragmatics were groundbreaking, in particular in terms of their elegance and comprehensibility. Geoff would take a poorly expressed half-idea, and make it comprehensible, and then examine it with his penetrating intellect, always treating everyone fairly. He helped the team at Longman greatly in formulating the design and structure of the British National Corpus in the 1990s: we will all remember his ‘buckets’ theory and hand-drawn diagram.

    Our colleague in Longman (Pearson Education) Japan, Kawahara-san, said this when he heard the sad news:

    “How terrible! He was such a good and fair person, even to Japanese untutored sales reps like me, considering he was such a great academician. We loved him very much. I cannot express my thoughts well enough in English.”

    Many people in the publishing world would wish to join Geoff’s academic colleagues and students in paying tribute to this great linguist.

    Della Summers
    (ex-Director, Longman Dictionaries and Reference)

  27. Henceforth thou art the Genius of the shore,
    In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
    To all that wander in that perilous flood.

    He touch’d the tender stops of various quills,
    With eager thought warbling his Doric lay;
    And now the sun had stretch’d out all the hills,
    And now was dropp’d into the western bay;
    At last he rose, and twitch’d his mantle blue:
    To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.

    – Thank you, Geoff.

  28. The first time I met Geoff was at 17th ICAME, Stockholm 1996, and the last time I saw him and said ‘Good-bye’ to him was on 12 June, 2014 after the last Japanese lecture at Daito Bunka University. His boundless kindness and generosity to Japanese corpus linguists helped a lot for the development of Japanese corpus linguistics, and his several worthwhile lectures at my university were loved by many participants from all over Japan. I shall never forget his gracious and lovely smile, and he will be greatly missed. My deepest condolences to Fanny and the family.

  29. Geoffrey Leech was my mentor since I first read his book on stylistics, and I was so happy when he helped me study at Lancaster University in 2000. He was my one-term-only supervisor and also my internal examiner when I did research on historical pragmatics. This field is related to stylistics, pragmatics, corpus linguistics and historical linguistics, all of which I learned from Geoff. He was always gentle and modest and everyone in the department couldn’t admire him more. We used to say ‘He is an angel.’ I will miss him greatly and I will always remember his smile. May his soul rest in peace.

  30. Geoffrey’s love for linguistics could be felt in every page he wrote. His views were always sound and deep, but also natural and remarkably easy to remember. I met him in Madrid in 2010, and had the opportunity to know that he was a great person as much as a great linguist. My deepest condolences to Fanny.

  31. The last time I said good-bye to Geoff was after a guest lecture he had given in Zürich, trusting full well that I would see him again at a conference. Sadly, this won’t be the case now. But the ISLE conference in Zurich this week, which we dedicated to the memory of Geoff, was a good opportunity to share memories with people, memories of the inspiring, enthusiastic but unassuming scholar that he was and the “nice guy”, as David Crystal put it. It was also good to see how many papers made reference to his work. He played a major role in shaping the way I work as a corpus linguist, and I feel privileged to have known him and to have had the opportunity to work with him. My condolences to Fanny and the family, for whom the loss must have come as an even greater shock.

    Marianne Hundt

    “Decirse adiós es negar la separación, es decir: Hoy jugamos a separarnos pero nos veremos mañana. Los hombres inventaron el adiós porque se saben de algún modo inmortales, aunque se juzguen contingentes y efímeros.” (J.L. Borges, from ‘Delia Elena San Marco’, 1954)

  32. What a shock to hear about Geoff’s passing away. He was so full of energy and interest when I saw him before the summer break. As a new colleague at LAEL, I only met Geoff recently but was lucky enough to supervise a PhD student with him and for the 40th anniversary of LAEL, I had the chance to enjoy some joint musical sessions too. Both were very pleasant experiences.
    I will keep him in my memory as a role model for my own days after retirement. It was a great honour to have known Geoff. Very many condolences to Fanny and his family and friends.

  33. I was a student at Lancaster and met Geoffrey Leech in the early 1970’s. He was inspirational and his work helped me very much in my own job over a period of more than forty years. I am very sorry to learn that he has gone. My condolences to his family.

  34. Geoff was an inspiration to me as a student on the MA in English Language course from 2005-7. I had the pleasure of attending several of his lectures during that time. His pioneering corpus work, including its beginnings when computers were in their infancy, was a revelation. Last month at the department’s 40th anniversary event, I learned he is also an accomplished pianist. For all his brilliancy, he was so humble and thoughtful. To Geoff’s family, friends and colleagues, I am very sorry for this great loss.

  35. I have had the privilege to have Prof. Geoffrey Leech as my PhD supervisor. His knowledge of English grammar and of other areas of linguistics was boundless and inspiring. He was my Linguistics hero, my greatest mentor, and he has changed the way I think about grammar. I loved his personality; his modesty was remarkable, his encouragement and interest in my work enabled me to complete my thesis, his kindness and generosity helped me achieve the best of my potential and his great sense of humour kept me cheerful. I thank God for having been given the opportunity to be supervised by such a humble genius. Geoffrey, I will always miss you. Thank you ever so much for everything! My deepest sympathy goes out to Fanny and the rest of Geoffrey’s family who have to deal with such a sudden loss.

  36. In memory of Prof. Geoffrey Leech
    There are no appropriate words to express our sense of personal sorrow and professional loss on the sudden death of Prof. Geoffrey Leech,August 19,2014. For over 30 years Prof.Leech had been a frequent and valued contribution to the Japanese TESOL community .Prof.Leech was first invited to Japan in 1980 by the Japan Association of College English Teachers (JACET) as chief lecturer, and since has often lectured at Japanese universities,including Meikai University and Soka University in the recent year. His contributions to education are most notable,as thousands of Japanese high schoool and university teachers of English were instructed and inspired by his lectures, and over ten young Japanese linguists were awarded their doctorates under his guidance.
    His empathy for Japan and Japanese did not go unnoticed, and he was loved by the Japanese people.Prof.Leech was an internationally respected researcher and educator,but particularly so among Japanese scholars and teachers of English. We wish his soul peace. Our thoughts are also with Fanny and his children.
    Ikuo Koike
    President Emeritus, JACET
    Professor Emeritus, Keio University and Meikai University,Japan 

  37. Geoffrey was a great colleague, who gave me my first job in corpus linguistics, and has always been a huge inspiration and guide. I was always struck by the huge amounts of hands-on work that he did on the numerous UCREL projects in which I participated, and by his extreme generosity. My first opportunity to attend an overseas conference came when Geoff paid out of his own personal departmental travel budget for me to attend the PALA conference in Granada in 1996.

    I would also like to add on behalf of everyone in Oxford who worked with Geoff on the British National Corpus that we are very sad to hear about his passing. Geoff was undoubtedly the intellectual driving force behind the BNC, and carried out an enormous amount of the work to make it a reality. It was a great honour for us all to have worked with him, and he will be greatly missed.

  38. I am so sorry to learn of Prof. Leech’s death. I attended one of his talks when I studied in an MA program in our department in 2005 and he left a deep impression on me both as a scholar and as a very warm human being. I wrote him an email in 2006 when I was back in Beijing and he replied within a couple of hours. Now, I’m teaching the course of pragmatics to MA students at a university in Beijing, with the same kind of rigor, warmth and efficiency that I’ve learned from this teacher and many others from the department of linguistics in Lancaster. The great intellectual legacy left by Prof. Leech will be with us and give us strength to move forward.
    Capital University of Economics and Business

  39. Leech, a familiar name in the circle of linguistics, China.His book Smantics was translated in Chinese, over 30 years ago and won high praise.
    In 1999,I was accepted as a Ph. D candidate by the Dept. of Linguistics, University of Lancaster. My would-be supervisor is Anna Siewierska. My choice of University of Lancaster was associated with Leech, who played an important part in the department, enjoying prestige in the field of linguistics all over the world.
    In the past, I taught stylictics to undegraduates in China, and his Style in Fiction is among my favourite reference books.
    Forever I will remember Leech!

  40. About a month ago, Geoff had been good enough to attend my talk at TaLC 2014 and I was delighted that he was there – my talk looked back at 20 years of the Teaching and Language Corpora conferences that he and colleagues at Lancaster had initiated, and for me and many others he had been right at the heart of work in corpus linguistics, an inspiration and a pioneer. We all owe him an enormous debt of gratitude, for his vision, his enthusiasm and his powerful intellect. He will be greatly missed.

  41. Adieu,
    Dear Mr. Leech.
    Inches beyond inches,
    English linguistics you drew,
    Unremittingly in your 78 years.
    Even the world turns off ears,
    Involuntarily your voice
    Deepens heart

  42. Among a lot of memorable moments I most clearly recall a pretty long lake side walk we had along the Coffin Path. Before that beautiful summer day Geoff played the piano to the happy participants of ICAME 30. There are innumerable things we Japanese corpus linguists owe to him. My heart is filled with Geoff’s
    smile and walks again with him along a sunny way surrounded by the blue bells.

    Takeshi Okada
    executive member of Japan Association for English Corpus Studies

  43. As a student once studied at Lancaster, I still remember the time when I meet Pro. Leech at a seminar in the winter of 2012. It was at noon and he came with homemade sandwiches. It was so delighted to meet such a respected linguist. So amiable and so modest. It’s a great shock to us all, but it is sure he won’t leave those who loved him. May his soul rest in peace.

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