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|Born||January 1, 1937|
|Spouse(s)||Jaime Ann Krell Lass|
|Alma mater||Yale University|
He earned his PhD from Yale University in 1965 in Medieval English Language and Literature, and subsequently worked at Indiana University (1964–1971), the University of Edinburgh (1972–1982), and the University of Cape Town (1983–2002). He retired to Edinburgh in 2002.
He has done extensive work in the history of English, the motivation of sound change, and the history of linguistics. He was made an honorary professor at Edinburgh in 2014.
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