SWADESH, Morris. Holyoke, MA 22.1.1909 — México City 20.7.1967. U.S. Linguist. Son of Bessarabian Jewish immigrant parents. Etudies at University of Chicago (B.A., M.A.), then followed his teacher E. Sapir to Yale (Ph.D. 1933). In 1937-39 taught at University of Wisconsin in Madison, then in war service (some time in North-East India). Then Professor at City College of New York, but was fired in 1949 as a Communist. After 1954 spent the rest of his life teaching in Mexico (National Autonomous University) and Canada (University of Alberta). Married Mary Haas, then Frances Leon (divorce) and 1956 Evangelina Arana.

In his studies Swadesh mainly concentrated on American indigenous languages. He was a noted pioneer of glottochronology and lexicostatistics. During war in India he studied Naga languages.

Publications: Much on American languages and on general linguistics.

– “The problem of consonantal doublets in Indo-European”, Word 26, 1970, 1-16.

Sources: *D.H. Hymes, Word 26, 1970, 119-138; Wikipedia with photo.

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