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Faculty of Languages appoints two new honorary doctors

2016-10-06

Professor Stephen C. Levinson of the Max Planck Institute in the Netherlands and Helmer Gustavson, former department head at the Swedish National Heritage Board in Stockholm, have been appointed honorary doctors at Uppsala University’s Faculty of Languages.

Helmer Gustavson is one of the world’s leading runologists today, and a specialist at reading and interpreting runes. Some of the inscriptions he has successfully worked with are exceptionally hard to decipher, sometimes taking many days of microscopy and requiring decades of experience. He has been director of Runverket at the Swedish National Heritage Board, which examines, tends to and publishes runic inscriptions. Gustavson’s publications in runology are numerous, varied and valuable. He has cooperations and strong contacts with the runologists at Uppsala University and Uppsala Runic Forum. Helmer Gustavson has also been a driving force behind the development of the Swedish Place Name expert group (ortnamnsvården).

Throughout his career, Stephen C. Levinson has addressed the big questions about the relationships between language, culture, and the mind. His books, including Pragmatics (1983), Politeness: Universals of Language Usage (with P. Brown, 1987), and Presumptive Meanings: The theory of generalized conversational implicature (2001) constitute standard works in language and social science research. Levinson has been a pioneer in several areas, including cross-cultural cognitive linguistics. Since 1994 he has led an active research department at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and he has recently secured a European Research Council Advanced Grant for a project that seeks to explain language and culture as an evolutionary development of a special human capacity for social interaction, the ‘interaction engine’.