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Susan Guion Anderson

Professor Susan Guion Anderson lost her battle with cancer on December 24, 2011 four days before her forty-fifth birthday.  Professor Anderson was promoted to full professor shortly before her passing.  She is survived by her husband, Dan, her children Augustus, Jane Bruce, Hanna, and Levi.

She had many gifts.  Her intellectual gift was that she was an exceptionally clear thinker.  This was evident in her writing, in her questions at talks and in her critiques of other’s papers.  She also simply loved sound and she loved sound change.   Her main research goal was to understand why phonological (sound) systems have the properties they do.  She was of the opinion that typologically regular aspects of phonological systems have their origin in physical and cognitive constraints on language use and learning.  One of her major interests lay in exploration of constraints on phonological structure and representation through empirical methods focused on sound change and language acquisition. Some specific areas of interest were: (1) the effect of the perceptual and production constraints on phonological systems as evidenced in sound change and bilingual systems, (2) the effect of age of acquisition on phonological learning and representation, and (3) the mechanisms for learning new phonological cateogies and their cognitive representations.  In addition, she was committed to the collection of primary language data from a variety of languages to inform our understanding of phonological systems.

She brought a superabundance of grit and determination to her job, as well as an incredibly strong work ethic.  The result was a record at her tenure review that documented a stunningly large quantity of peer-reviewed journal publications.