Desmond C. Derbyshire

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Desmond Cyril Derbyshire (1924 – 19 December 2007) was a linguist who specialized in Carib languages.

He is best known for his work on Hixkaryana, known for its object–verb–subject word order. Derbyshire's study of the language (as a linguist with the Summer Institute of Linguistics) resulted in the first description in the linguistics literature of a language with this word order as its default.

The most surprising story Derbyshire told of the long period of work in the Hixkaryana village of remote northern Brazil concerned a day in November 1965, during the visit by then New York's US Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The recounting of that three-day visit included how Senator Kennedy declared his decision to run for President of the United States.[1]


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