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Memorial

Peter Fodale
LSA Minutes

Peter Fodale
January 8, 1928 — September 19, 2000

The Linguistics Department is greatly saddened to report the death of Professor Emeritus Peter Fodale this Fall, after a short illness. A native of Detroit, he entered the University of Michigan as a freshman after active service in the U.S. Marine Corps, and received his B.A. (1952), M.A. (1957), and Ph.D. (1964) degrees here.

Professor Fodale began his career teaching Italian, Spanish, and English as a Second Language while still a graduate student. Throughout his career he was known as an inspiring and energetic teacher, and is remembered fondly by thousands of former students as the man who introduced them to the wonders of their own and other languages. He regularly taught extension courses in addition to his popular LS&A classes; his many dozens of Ph.D. students are now distributed throughout the world in departments of Linguistics, English, Romance, and other languages.

When he joined the LS&A faculty in 1964, his initial field of interest was English generative syntax, which he introduced to Michigan; in later years he became interested in non-standard varieties of English, including African-American Vernacular English, and in pidgin and creole languages. He compiled the first reference grammar of Papiamentu, and served as an educational and language planning consultant for a number of groups, including the Peace Corps, the NAACP, and the governments of Canada, Nigeria, and Netherlands Antilles.

He had retired and received emeritus status in 1986. He is survived by his wife, Cane Ruth Garrity, a Health Educator in the UM School of Public Heath; his children, Kathleen Wiley of Ann Arbor, Michael Fodale of Marquette, and Stephan Fodale of Decatur, GA, three grandsons, and a sister, Pauline Jacobs of Westland.

Pete, as he was universally known, will be remembered for his warmth and ready smile, his eagerness for new ideas, and his enthusiasm for teaching, for language, and especially for teaching about language.