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English Language and Linguistics

in memoriam John Spencer (1922 - 2017)

In spring 1984, just after finishing my PhD on English in Tanzania, I met John Spencer personally for the first time. Coming from Hong Kong, he had just taken up his last professorship at Bayreuth University and I had the privilege of working with him from 1985 until his (last) retirement in 1990. He encouraged me greatly as a colleague (encouraging me to expand our Africa projects from East to Central and Southern Africa), as a collaborator (discussing current research issues and proof-reading diligently my book English in Africa) and as a friend (with numerous invitations from their temporary home in Bayreuth to their retirement homes in Blockley and Ballycotton). He continued to be my mentor until recently, when I was able to expand my research to China, where I also started in Hong Kong and continued with the partnership with Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou and Zuhai. He was greatly interested in sociolinguistic research until the end of his days.
Josef Schmied