Martin Joos

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Martin Joos
Born (1907-05-11)May 11, 1907
Died May 6, 1978(1978-05-06) (aged 70)
Nationality American
Occupation Linguist; Professor of German
Known for Work in linguistics, including the book The Five Clocks

Martin Joos (1907–1978) was a linguist and German professor.[1] He spent most of his career at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and also served at the University of Toronto and as a visiting scholar at the University of Alberta, the University of Belgrade, and the University of Edinburgh.

During World War II Joos was a cryptologist for the US Signal Security Agency.[2] The War Department honored him with a Distinguished Service citation in recognition of his work developing communication systems.[1]

After the war he returned to the University of Wisconsin, eventually serving as the chairman of the Department of German.

The Five Clocks[edit]

Among Joos's books on linguistics is The Five Clocks (1962), which introduced influential discussions of style, register, and style-shifting.[3]

Selected works[edit]

  • 1951. Middle High German Courtly Reader (with F.R. Whitesell). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
  • 1957. Readings in Linguistics: The Development of Descriptive Linguistics in America since 1925 (editor). Washington: ACLS.
  • 1962. The Five Clocks. Bloomington: Indiana University Research Center in Anthropology, Folklore, and Linguistics. Reprinted in 1967 by Harcourt, Brace & World. ISBN 978-0156313803
  • 1964. The English Verb: Form and Meanings. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0299033101
  • 1972. Semantic axiom number one. Language 48(2), 257-265.


  1. ^ a b Hill, Archibald A. (1979). "Martin Joos". Language. Linguistic Society of America. 55 (3): 665–669. JSTOR 413322. 
  2. ^ Kahn, David (1967). The Codebreakers: The Secret History of Writing. Macmillan. 
  3. ^ Marckwardt, Albert (1967), "Introduction", The Five Clocks, Harcourt, Brace & World