Prof. George Hewitt



Brian George Hewitt


Doncaster, 11 November 1949

Secondary Education:

Doncaster Grammar School

Grade A at A-level in Greek, Latin,

Ancient History and General Studies

(Also S-level in Latin)

University Education and Qualifications:

St John's College, Cambridge

(Henry Arthur Thomas Open Scholarship in Classics)

Undergraduate in Classics 1969 - 1972

1970 College Prize; Henry Arthur Thomas Travel Scholarship

1971       Part I (First)

Graves' Prize: John Stewart of Rannoch University Scholarship in Classics

1972       Part II, Philology Option (Upper Second)

1972 - 1973     Cambridge Diploma in Linguistics

(Warr Classical Studentship)

Dissertation entitled "Some Semantic Aspects of Complementation in Latin"      

During the year when I was studying for the Diploma in Linguistics I had the idea of joining the police-service in Liverpool on the newly-introduced Graduate Entry Scheme. However, when this did not work out, I decided to embark in 1973 on a doctorate with an intention to compare/contrast Ancient Greek with another Indo-European language, but which one? My former lecturer Prof. Robert [Bob] Coleman suggested I take advice from Cambridge’s then-Emeritus Professor of Sanskrit, the distinguished Indo-Europeanist Sir Harold Bailey. I duly did so, and Sir Harold explained that either Lithuanian or Armenian would be possible, especially as they were little studied in the UK. Initially I was drawn to Lithuanian. However, a long-distance adviser would be necessary, since Cambridge did not have a specialist in either. Therefore, I wrote to Oxford’s Professor of Comparative Slavonic Philology, Robert Auty, for Lithuanian and Oxford’s Professor of Armenian, Charles Dowsett, for Armenian. Prof. Auty was travelling overseas and so proved difficult to reach, and by the time his response arrived (saying that he would indeed be happy to help), I had already elected to work on Old Armenian. My supervisor for the dissertation I had submitted for the Diploma, Dr. (later Prof.) Alan Sommerstein, agreed to continue for the doctorate. But he moved to Nottingham in 1974, at which point then-Dr. (later Prof.) Bernard Comrie stepped into the breach.                                                      

1973 – 1975 Research into Ancient Greek and Old Armenian

1975 - 1976     MA (Cantab)

British Council exchange-student at Tbilisi State University, Georgia, learning Georgian and collecting materials on other Caucasian languages, notably Abkhaz

1976 - 1978     Research Assistant on SSRC-funded project for the examination of the non-Slavic languages of the USSR, my own area being the Caucasus (including Armenian) under Bernard Comrie

De-registered as research-student of MML Faculty at Cambridge

1978 - 1981     Wardrop Scholarship (Oxford University Chest) for a contrastive study of Georgian (including Old Georgian) and Abkhaz

Re-registered as research-student at Cambridge with the thesis title "Comparative-contrastive study of the syntax of subordinate clauses in Georgian and Abkhaz"

1979 - 1980     British Council exchange-student at Tbilisi State University, collecting material for my thesis and working on Old (and Mediæval) Georgian and Svan

1981 - 1988     Lecturer in Linguistics University of Hull

1982 Ph.D. Cambridge

1988 -     Lecturer in Caucasian Languages/Linguistics SOAS, London University

1992 -     Senior Lecturer => Reader in Caucasian Languages (moving fully to NME within SOAS)

1995 -     Honorary Professor of Sukhum University (Abkhazia)

1996 -     Professor of Caucasian Languages

1997 -     Fellow of the British Academy;  Honorary Member of the Abkhazian Academy of Sciences; Honorary Member of the International Cherkess Association

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