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NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCESJOSEPH HAROLD GREENBERG1915-2001A Biographical Memoir byWILLIAM CROFTAny opinions expressed in this memoir are those of the authorand do not necessarily reflect the views of theNational Academy of Sciences. Biographical MemoirCOPYRIGHT 2007NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCESWASHINGTON, D.C. 3JOSEPH HAROLD GREENBERGMay 28, 1915–May 7, 2001BY WILLIAM CROFTJOSEPH H. GREENBERG, ONE OF THE most original and influen-tial linguists of the 20th century, died at his home inStanford, California, on May 7, 2001, three weeks beforehis 86th birthday. Greenberg was a major pioneer in thedevelopment of linguistics as an empirical science. He cameof intellectual age at a time when linguistics was establish-ing itself as an independent academic discipline, and helpedto shape the field. Greenberg’s work was always foundeddirectly on quantitative data from a single language or froma wide range of languages. His chief legacy to contempo-rary linguistics lies in the areas of language u...