was thereby set in motion. The 31 who agreed to submit tributary articles ranged widely over the fields to which Harris had made major contributions, but they were naturally concentrated in linguistics and its computational applications. Listed alphabetically, they comprise: Yehoshua Bar-Hillel, Dwight Bolinger, William Bright, I. D. J. Bross, A. F. Brown, Paul G. Chapin, Noam Chomsky, Charles A. Ferguson, Bruce Fraser, Lila Gleitman, Henry Hiż, Carleton Hodge, Henry M. Hoenigswald, Fred W. Householder, Dell Hymes, Ray Jackendoff, Aravind K. Joshi, Sheldon Klein, Susumu Kuno, George Lakoff, Robin Lakoff, Leigh Lisker, Yakov Malkiel, Christine A. Montgomery, David Perlmutter, John Robert (“Haj”) Ross, Naomi Sager, Arthur Schwartz, Carlota S. Smith, Zeno Vendler, and C. F. Voegelin, plus myself. (A few of these acceptances were tentative, and there were others whom I solicited but who pled a supervening and perhaps subsequent commitment.) The promised participants in the projected volume included, then, a representative selection of his onetime students (Noam Chomsky chief among them), plus a few others, among them the most respected names in the scholarly world of the study of language in its various aspects.
Readers need not cudgel their wits for memory of this volume, for it never appeared. Harris aborted it. He learned of the planned Festschrift, just in advance of his returning to the States and there receiving my letter apprising him of it (these things are supposed to be a surprise, after all), while passing through the Netherlands offices of Mouton & Company. His refusal of the intended honor was at first acerbic. “Dear Watt,” he wrote me on October 20, 1969, in his tiny longhand,
Zellig S. Harris, in full Zellig Sabbetai Harris, (born Oct. 23, 1909, Balta, Russia—died May 22, 1992, New York, N.Y., U.S.), Russian-born American scholar known for his work in structural linguistics. He carried the structural linguistic ideas of Leonard Bloomfield to their furthest logical development: to discover the linear distributional relations of phonemes and morphemes.
Harris was taken to the United States as a child in 1913, and he received a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. (1934) from the University of Pennsylvania, where he began teaching in 1931 and became Benjamin Franklin Professor of Linguistics in 1966.
Harris’s Methods in Structural Linguistics (1951) established his scholarly reputation as a theorist. In subsequent work on discourse analysis, Harris suggested the use of transformations as a means of expanding his method of descriptive analysis to cross sentence boundaries. Since Harris was Noam Chomsky’s teacher, some linguists have questioned whether Chomsky’s transformational grammar is as revolutionary as it has been portrayed, but the two scholars developed their ideas in different contexts and for different purposes. For Harris, a transformation relates surface structure-sentence forms and is not a device to transform a deep structure into a surface structure, as it is in transformational grammar.