27 Facts About Dell Hymes


Dell Hathaway Hymes was a linguist, sociolinguist, anthropologist, and folklorist who established disciplinary foundations for the comparative, ethnographic study of language use.


Dell Hymes's research focused upon the languages of the Pacific Northwest.


Dell Hymes was one of the first to call the fourth subfield of anthropology "linguistic anthropology" instead of "anthropological linguistics".


In 1972 Hymes founded the journal Language in Society and served as its editor for 22 years.


Dell Hymes was educated at Reed College, studying under David H French; and after a stint in prewar Korea, he graduated in 1950.


Dell Hymes earned his PhD in linguistics from Indiana University in 1955, and took a job at Harvard University.


From 1955, Hymes taught at Harvard University for five years; leaving in 1960 to join the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley; where he spent another five years before joining the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1965.


Dell Hymes later joined the Departments of Anthropology and English at the University of Virginia, where he became the Commonwealth Professor of Anthropology and English, and from which he retired in 2000, continuing as emeritus professor until his death from complications of Alzheimer's disease on November 13,2009.


Together with John Gumperz, Erving Goffman and William Labov, Dell Hymes defined a broad multidisciplinary concern with language in society.


Burke's work was theoretically and topically diverse, but the idea that seems most influential on Dell Hymes is the application of rhetorical criticism to poetry.


Dell Hymes formulated a response to Noam Chomsky's influential distinction between competence and performance.


Dell Hymes objected to the marginalization of performance from the center of linguistic inquiry and proposed the notion of communicative competence, or knowledge necessary to use language in social context, as an object of linguistic inquiry.


Dell Hymes articulated other, more technical, often typologically oriented approaches to variation in patterns of language use across speech communities in a series of articles.


Dell Hymes promoted what he and others call "ethnopoetics", an anthropological method of transcribing and analyzing folklore and oral narrative that pays attention to poetic structures within speech.


In reading the transcriptions of Indian myths, for example, which were generally recorded as prose by the anthropologists who came before, Dell Hymes noticed that there are commonly poetic structures in the wording and structuring of the tale.


Dell Hymes created the Dell Hymes Model of Speaking and coined the term communicative competence within language education.


Dell Hymes believes that all narratives in the world are organized around implicit principles of form which convey important knowledge and ways of thinking and of viewing the world.


Dell Hymes argues that understanding narratives will lead to a fuller understanding of the language itself and those fields informed by storytelling, in which he includes ethnopoetics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, rhetoric, semiotics, pragmatics, narrative inquiry and literary criticism.


Dell Hymes clearly considers folklore and narrative a vital part of the fields of linguistics, anthropology and literature; and has bemoaned the fact that so few scholars in those fields are willing and able to adequately include folklore in its original language in their considerations.


Dell Hymes feels that the translated versions of the stories are inadequate for understanding the stories' roles in the social or mental system in which they existed.


Dell Hymes was the founding editor for the journal Language in Society, which he edited for 22 years.


Dell Hymes developed a valuable model to assist the identification and labeling of components of linguistic interaction that was driven by his view that, in order to speak a language correctly, one needs not only to learn its vocabulary and grammar, but the context in which words are used.


Dell Hymes constructed the acronym SPEAKING, under which he grouped the sixteen components within eight divisions:.


Dell Hymes' spouse, Virginia Dosch Dell Hymes, was a sociolinguist and folklorist.


Dell Hymes was a member of the Guild of Scholars of The Episcopal Church.


Dell Hymes was a congregant of St Paul Memorial Church and Peace Lutheran Church in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Dell Hymes was awarded the Gold Medal of Philology in 2006.