School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences

Laurie Bauer

Now retired, Emeritus Professor Laurie Bauer has had a fruitful academic career in Denmark and New Zealand, publishing numerous books and articles on linguistics.

Name Laurence (Laurie) Bauer
Degree Course MA (Hons) then PhD in Linguistics
Year of Graduation

1971 then 1975

Your time at the University

Laurie Bauer

I came to Edinburgh as an undergraduate in 1967, and spent most of my undergraduate career living in Holland House, before it had en suite bathrooms and when meals were still taken between Holland and Fraser. This was when the George Square library was brand new and before the St James Centre was even built, let alone knocked down again, and when Bauermeister's on George Bridge was the bookshop of choice. At one time, I had a vacation job driving a dry-cleaning van round Edinburgh.

After my MA(Hons), I had 8 months on a scholarship in Denmark, during which time I learnt quite a lot of Danish.

As a PhD student I had a flat overlooking the brewery -- with the accompanying smell if the wind was in the wrong direction, which it usually was. I helped finance myself by contributing to the Collins French-English dictionary and by teaching English language to foreign students. I remember singing folk songs in pubs on the Grassmarket, climbing Arthur's Seat and walking across the Meadows in the snow. There was very little income for treats, and going out to a Chinese restaurant on Clerk St for Chow Mein was one of the few things we could afford.

In 2017 I was awarded the Royal Society of New Zealand's Humanities medal. The medal is awarded annually for research or innovative work of outstanding merit in the humanities.

Emeritus Professor Laurie Bauer

Tell us about your experiences since leaving the University

When I graduated with my PhD, I got a job in the English Department at the University of Odense (now the University of Southern Denmark). During the years I was there, I married my wife, Winfred, who I had met while doing postgraduate linguistics. She is a New Zealander, and in 1979 we moved to Wellington, when I got a job teaching linguistics at the University there. We are still there, although now I have retired and am an emeritus professor of the University. Our children both work in New Zealand, though both have spent time overseas.

In the final years before my retirement, I acted as the inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Research at Victoria University, nominally in charge of all PhD students in the University. In my time in Wellington I have published some 20 books and a huge number of articles.

The Oxford Reference Guide to English Morphology, which I joint-authored with Rochelle Lieber (New Hampshire) and Ingo Plag (now at Duesseldorf), won the Linguistic Society of America's coveted Leonard Bloomfield prize in 2015.

In 2017 I was awarded the Royal Society of New Zealand's Humanities medal. The medal is awarded annually for research or innovative work of outstanding merit in the humanities.

Alumni wisdom

I've heard that your taste in music becomes fixed in the years when you are a student, so you should make sure you listen to good music you will be happy to continue to listen to all your life. And whatever that music is, you should make sure you protect your hearing when listening to it, because it's terrible when you cannot hear properly.

Academically, I would encourage anyone to take chances: try something new, go with what you enjoy doing. Socially, I would recommend making the most of the various student societies that offer opportunities to meet like-minded people.          

Related Links

Linguistics and English Language

Royal Society of New Zealand Humanities Aronui Medal (external link)