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McIntosh, Angus, 1914-2005 (Professor of English Language and General Linguistics, University of Edinburgh)



Angus McIntosh was born near Sunderland on 10 January 1914. He was educated at Ryhope Grammar School and he studied at Oriel College, Oxford. There he took first-class honours in English in 1934. As a Harmsworth scholar, he went on to a Diploma in Comparative Philology at Merton College. After a period at Harvard as a Commonwealth fellow (1936-38), he took up a lectureship in the English department at University College Swansea.

After a short spell in the Tank Corps during the Second World War, McIntosh served as a Major in military intelligence, at Bletchley. Experience there influenced his thinking about the potential of computers as a tool for linguistic analysis.

After the war, he returned to a lectureship at Christ Church, Oxford, before going on to Edinburgh University. Here, he became the prime mover in the founding of the School of Epistemics (now Informatics) and the School of Scottish Studies, out of the separate Departments of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics. He was also behind two major dictionary projects and the Linguistic Survey of Scotland. Indeed, while assessing returns from the survey questionnaire that McIntosh began to see the possibility of applying the methodology of modern dialect surveys to the investigation of past stages of the language. His experiements, and those of his collaborators, would revolutionise dialect research in historical linguistics.

His pioneering work for the Linguistic Survey of Scotland resulted in the publication of the Introduction to a Survey of Scottish Dialects (1952). Also that year, he set up the Joint Council for the Scottish Dictionaries. McIntosh was a supporter of both the Scottish National Dictionary and the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (Dost), and he managed to get long-term funding not only for Dost but also for Lalme - A Linguistic Atlas of Late Mediæval English - and the Institute of Historical Dialectology.

He was a Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, and he was a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 1989, he received the British Academy's Sir Israel Gollancz prize. He held honorary doctorates from Poznan, Durham, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Professor Angus McIntosh died on 26 October 2005, aged 91. That same year, the Departments of English Language and of Linguistics at Edinburgh University, both founded by McIntosh, merged.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Lectures - New approach to Middle English dialectology / On planning a dialect survey of Scotland

Identifier: Coll-1108
Scope and Contents

E2007.06 - This item in the collection is a printed copy ofA new approach to Middle English dialectology. This is a revised version of a lecture delivered in the University of Edinburgh to the staff of the English Language Department and a few invited colleagues, Wednesday, 18 November 1959.

E2009.39 - This item is an earlier lecture delivered at the Summer School of Linguistics, Ann Arbor, July 1949, and entitledOn planning a dialect survey of Scotland.

Dates: 1959

Notebook of Angus MacIntosh containing notes on old English grammar, Second half of the 20th century

 Item — Box CLX-A-1702
Identifier: Coll-1848/21-0019
Scope and Contents

Notebook of the linguist Angus McIntosh containing notes on old English grammar.

Dates: Second half of the 20th century

Additional filters:

Archival Object 1
Collection 1
Dialectology | 1
English Language 1
English language | Study and teaching 1
Historical Linguistics 1
Linguists | 1