09/02/2015 (Mon)

Roy and Rita Harris on a 1997 visit with Chris Hutton,
Daniel R Davis and Kingsley Bolton of the School of English

It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Professor Roy Harris, on 9th February, in Oxford. He was 83.

Roy Harris was Professor and Head of English at HKU from 1988 to 1991. He had previously held Chairs in Romance Languages and General Linguistics at the University of Oxford, and after leaving Hong Kong he taught at Boston University and the École des Hautes Études in Paris. He was an original, important, and controversial thinker and teacher about language, linguistics, and semiotics. Among his many books were The Language Makers, The Language Myth, The Language Machine, and Signs, Language and Communication.  He was also a leading scholar and translator of the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, the father of modern linguistics.

His friends at HKU extend deepest condolences to Roy’s widow Rita.