POLOMÉ, Edgar Ghislain Charles. Molenbeck-Saint-Jean near Brussels 31.7.1920 — Houston 11.3.2000. Belgian Linguist in the U.S.A. Professor in Austin, Texas. Son of a Walloon father (Marcel P.) and Flemish mother (Berthe). Studies at Free University Brussels (B.A. 1940) and after war service at Catholic University Louvain (M.A. 1943), learned Sanskrit from Lamotte. For a while served U.S. Army as interpreter. Ph.D. 1949 Brussels, in Germanic. Worked as school-teacher of German. In 1956-60 Professor of Linguistics at Université officielle du Congo establishing its Linguistics Department, field studies in Bantu languages. From 1961 at University of Texas in Austin (invited there by W. P. Lehmann): 1961-62 Visiting Associate Professor, from 1962 Professor of Oriental, African and Germanic Languages. In 1963-72 also Director of Center of Asian Studies and in 1969-76 Chairman of Department. Linguistic fieldwork in East Africa in 1969-70 and 1973. Retired in 1997. Married 1949 Julia Schwindt (d. 1975), one daughter and one son, 1980 Barbara Baker Harris (divorce 1990) and 1991 Sharon Looper Rankin.
Polomé was a polyglot who knew many European, African and Asian languages (beside Sanskrit also Hindī). An additional interest was comparative religion (as a strong supporter of Dumézil).
Publications: Diss. Linguistische Studien in verband met de Germaanse Anlautgroep ‘hw-. Manuscript of 40+259 p. Brussels 1949.
– In the 1950s and later several studies on Swahili and other Bantu languages.
– “Approaches to the study of Vedic Religion”, P. J. Hopper (ed.), Studies in descriptive and historical linguistics. Fs. for W. P. Lehmann. Amsterdam 1977, 405-415; “Some reflections on the Vedic Religious Vocabulary”, Fs. J. Puhvel 1997, 225-234.
– Language, Society and Paleoculture. 383 p. Stanford 1982.
– Edited: Research Guide to Language Change. 9+564 p. B. – N.Y. 1990; Reconstructing Languages and Cultures. 9+550 p. B. – N.Y. 1992 (with W. Winter); Indo-European Religion after Dumézil. 186 p. Washington DC 1996.
– Edited books and articles on IE, Indo-Aryan and Germanic linguistics, from 1974 coeditor of the JIEStudies; also wrote on Germanic religion.
Sources: *B. Drinka, Kratylos 46, 2001, 230-232; *R. Peason, JIESt 28, 2000, 1f.; Dir. of Am. Sch. 8th ed. 3, 1982; Wikipedia with photo.
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