Passing of Bill Weigel

April 17, 2023

Dear colleagues,

We are sad to announce that our past student, colleague, co-author, and friend William (Bill) F. Weigel passed away suddenly a few days ago.

Bill came to Linguistics later in life than most, having first had a career as an attorney. His papers in Linguistics were few but always interesting and sometimes influential. He was an erudite linguist, with immense knowledge of many topics and languages. His dissertation, Yowlumne in the Twentieth Century, was a beautiful study of the language better known to linguists as Yawelmani Yokuts — a combination of a grammar, a study of language change, and a critique of linguistic methodologies used in past Yawelmani studies (specifically the creation of contrived, unattested forms) that played such a big role in the evolution of generative grammar. His 2013 article "Real data, contrived data, and the Yokuts canon" should be required reading for anyone who engages with the results of earlier documentation.

After his PhD, Bill worked with Yokuts communities and individuals on their efforts toward language revitalization, supported by the Owens Valley Career Development Center Nuumu Yadoha Program, providing workshops on Yokuts grammar, storytelling, strategies of documenting endangered languages and dictionary-making. He also taught Linguistics 55AC for many years, at first in the Linguistics Department and later at University Extension.

In recent years, with COVID restrictions and declining health, Bill's geography became smaller, and he became a regular patron of coffee shops along Shattuck Avenue near his apartment. With his big heart and friendly attitude, he became well-known to both vendors and street people, a real "town and gown" guy. We and his other friends often sought him out there for a conversation. We'll miss that, and him, a great deal.

Leanne Hinton, Andrew Garrett, Carly Tex, Johanna Nichols, and Rich Rhodes