In Memoriam: Bernard Dov Spolsky

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The American Association for Applied Linguistics is deeply saddened to announce that Professor Bernard Dov Spolsky passed away on August 20, 2022. He was surrounded by family in Jerusalem. Our condolences go to the Spolsky, Amaru, Sterne, Thomas, and Wulkan families in this time of great loss. Bernard was a founding father and a seminal voice in several subfields of applied linguistics, including language policy, language testing, second language learning, sociolinguistics, and linguistic landscape. Born in New Zealand in 1932, he completed his BA and master’s degrees in New Zealand and went on to work as a high school teacher in Australia, and later received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from the Université de Montréal in Canada. He took his first academic position in 1961 as an Assistant Professor of Education at McGill University, also in Canada. In 1964, he moved to the United States for a position at Indiana University and eventually became Assistant, Associate, and then Full Professor at the University of New Mexico. In 1980, he relocated to Israel and became a Professor at Bar-Ilan University and Director of its Language Policy Research Center. With Professor Elana Shohamy of Tel Aviv University, he developed the first language education policy in Israel in 1996. With Professor Tamar Levin, also of Tel Aviv University, he conducted an exemplary 1998-2002 national study on academic achievement of immigrants in Israel. He frequently traveled internationally as consultant and researcher, spending many times as a visiting scholar in Washington DC at the National Foreign Language Center and collaborating with the Center for Applied Linguistics. He retired officially in 2000, and as Professor Emeritus at Bar-Ilan University he continued making vital contributions to the field, participating in projects and shaping ideas with his many writings. His contributions and achievements in language testing garnered him the Cambridge/ILTA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2005. All along his 22 years in retirement Professor Spolsky remained the prodigiously prolific and influential writer he always was. His most recent publications include the book The Languages of the Jews: A Sociolinguistic History (2014, with Cambridge University Press) and a study of the semiotics of public signage (2020, in Linguistic Landscape), and two more titles which appeared this year: a masterful discussion of individual language advocates and managers (2022, in Language Policy), and the important book Rethinking Language Policy (2022, with Edinburgh University Press). Professor Spolsky served the profession tirelessly, including as editor-in-chief of Applied Linguistics (1979-1986) and as co-founder, with Elana Shohamy, of Language Policy and first sole editor-in-chief of this journal (2002-2007). He was President of TESOL International Association (1978-1979) and ILTA, the International Association of Language Testers (1994-1995). He held several offices at AILA, the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée or International Association of Applied Linguistics. He also served AAAL most generously as Secretary Treasurer (1977-1980) and he was a regular presenter and attendee at the Annual Conference. He was a mentor, friend, and supporter to many AAAL members. Bernard Dov Spolsky was a visionary scholar, an engaged public intellectual, and an invaluable human being. He is sorely missed, and his legacy will live on.