Roger Shuy remembers Peg

I first met Peg shortly after she had started her PhD studies in Georgetown’s linguistics department. She had enrolled as a major in applied linguistics and came to my office concerned about her applied linguistics program. We had recently received a grant from NSF to start a new major in sociolinguistics and when Peg told me about her recent experiences in the Philippines, I knew that she would be a good sociolinguist. She switched her major immediately and exactly as I expected, she became one of our outstanding students who was deeply excited about children’s language.

Since I was still closely associated with the Center for Applied Linguistics at that time, I hired her to work on one of our current research projects and later took her with me to the Carnegie Corporation office in New York to negotiate a new research proposal about the pragmatics of children’s language. Peg’s presentation wowed the foundation’s officer, and we got the grant, with Peg in charge. Some of her excellent work is reflected in her published articles. Peg was a no-nonsense, brilliant, hard worker dedicated to justice for children as well as to society as a whole.

After Peg left Georgetown, I didn’t hear from her for quite a while. Then, in 2000 she showed up at an annual meeting of AAAL in Hartford and presented me with a festschrift book that she and three of my other former students had edited and published. This was a very touching moment in my life.

I am saddened by Peg’s death and will always remember her as one of my most brilliant students. She exposed problems that others failed to see, addressed them with creative hard work, improved many lives, and had little or no sympathy for fools. I will miss her deeply.

Roger W. Shuy
Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, Emeritus
Georgetown University

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