t only recently came to my attention that Wolf Leslau, professor emeritus of Semitic linguistics at UCLA and the world's foremost authority on Ethiopian languages, died two months ago, on November 18, 2006, at the age of 100 (plus four days).The longer obit was published on The Linguist list in November:
I had the privilege of knowing Professor Leslau well over the years, notwithstanding the geographical distance between the two coasts of the U.S. I last visited him in his home (within a retirement community in Fullerton, California) in December 2003, and can attest to Grover Hudson’s description of Leslau at work (see below).
There he was, at age 97, working diligently on his Macintosh computer, entering the data from card files on yet another Gurage dialect, which he had kept at hand for about forty years.
In addition to the detailed information provided by Hudson, note that Leslau also served a term as president of the American Oriental Society.
Message 1: Obituary: Wolf Leslau, 1906-2006The other one is a brief note on the website of The North American Conference on Afroasiatic Linguistics:
From: Grover Hudson
Subject: Obituary: Wolf Leslau, 1906-2006
Wolf Leslau, surely the greatest Semiticist linguist of the post-war generation, whose work established Ethiopian linguistics as an essential part of Semitic studies, died on Nov. 18, at age 100 + four days. He is survived by two daughters, Elaine and Sylvia, and grandchildren.
Author of a body of work the size and breadth of which it is difficult to imagine anyone again matching, and the content of which it is difficult to imagine anyone again having the competence to match, his life was filled with love and energy for scholarly work. His publications date from 1933 including eleven articles before the appearance of the book Lexique soqotri in 1938, and continue uninterrupted almost to this year (The Verb in Mäsqan, 2004). Until recent months he was diligently working on another book, on the Ethiopian Semitic language Gogot. Characteristically, at 80 years old he discovered and mastered use of the Macintosh computer, recognizing its usefulness in composing work using phonetic and European-language fonts as well as Ethiopic and other Semitic writing systems.
Wolf Leslau, 1906-2006
Wolf Leslau, one of the greatest Semiticist linguists of the post-war generation, passed away on Nov. 18, at age 100 + four days. Leslau was a frequent participant in NACAL's annual meetings, and had the unique distinction of serving as NACAL reminiscer not once but twice, first at NACAL 12 (1984) and then again, two decades later, at NACAL 32 (2004). Grover Hudson's obituary for Leslau can be found here. [i.e., at the same link as above - JRD]