The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Biographical Memoirs: Volume 89
the age of 16, and in the spring of 1933 took George M. Bolling’s linguistics course in which the textbook was the newly published Bloomfield work referred to above. Subsequently he took the only course in anthropology available at the time, and those experiences set him on the path to his future academic career. Hockett received his B.A. (summa cum laude) and M.A. simultaneously in ancient history at the age of 20, with a dissertation on the use of the Greek word logos in philosophy through Plato. Years later he described the introductory section of that work as showing “despite some weird use of terms … the Bloomfieldian impact” (1977, p. 1). He continued at Yale University, studying anthropology and linguistics with Edward Sapir, Franklin Edgerton, George P. Murdock, and Leslie Spier, also having Morris Swadesh, George L. Trager, and Benjamin Whorf as teachers and associates. Hockett received his Ph.D. in anthropology in 1939, with a dissertation based on his fieldwork in Potawatomi. His paper on Potowatomi syntax was published in Language in that year (1939), and the dissertation, in streamlined form, was published as a series in the International Journal of American Linguistics in 1948. After a summer of fieldwork in Kickapoo and an autumn in Michoacán, Mexico, he went on to two years of postdoctoral study, including two quarters with Bloomfield at Chicago, followed by a stay at Michigan.
Hockett was drafted into the U.S. Army in February 1942. After basic training in antiaircraft artillery and a few months helping to prepare other recruits for officer candidate school, he was transferred to Army Service Forces, where his linguistic capabilities were put to work on Chinese. In late 1942 he accompanied General Stillwell’s officers to their headquarters in Bengal, India, supervising their learning of Chinese while en route. Afterward Hockett was stationed in Washington and then in New York City, where he worked