Michael Clyne

Michael Clyne

Michael Clyne (with kind permission of KNAW)
Born 12 October 1939
Died 29 October 2010(2010-10-29) (aged 71)
Nationality Australian Australia
Alma mater University of Melbourne, Monash University
Occupation linguist
Known for Contributions to Multilingualism, Sociolinguistics, Contact linguistics
Home town Melbourne
Title Emeritus Professor

Michael George Clyne, AM, FAHA, FASSA (12 October 1939 – 29 October 2010) was an Australian linguist, academic and intellectual. He was a scholar in various fields of linguistics, including sociolinguistics, pragmatics, bilingualism and multilingualism, second language learning, contact linguistics and intercultural communication. He was a fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences.


Educated at Christ Church Grammar School and Caulfield Grammar School, Clyne studied for his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees at the University of Melbourne,[1] focusing on Germanic and French languages. He undertook further graduate studies in German and general linguistics at Utrecht and Bonn Universities, before joining the German language faculty at Monash University in Melbourne in 1962. He earned a Ph.D. from Monash in 1965, and was a Professor of Linguistics at the University from 1988 to 2001. In 2001 he became a professorial fellow of linguistics at Melbourne University and director of the university's Research Unit for Multilingualism and Cross-Cultural Communication.

Clyne was on the editorial board of at least 13 international journals. He was a Visiting Professor of Linguistics at the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg and the University of Stuttgart. He spoke fluent English, German and Dutch, and had also studied French, Italian, Swedish and Norwegian.[2]

He was made a Member of the Order of Australia on 13 June 1993 "in recognition of service to education, particularly in the field of linguistics."[3] He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, as well as the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and the Arts 1st cl., German Cross of Merit 1st cl., Foreign Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences in 2005,[4] Centenary of Federation Medal, Inaugural Vice Chancellor’s Award for Postgraduate Supervision (Monash University), 1999 Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm Prize (international German Studies prize), and Humboldt Research Prize.

Clyne was the son of Dr Johannes Jacob Clyne and Edith Cecily Clyne. He married Irene Donohoue in 1977, and they had a daughter Joanna.[1]


Clyne published numerous books and articles (28 authored, co-authored and edited books and over 300 articles and book chapters) of research in areas of linguistics, particularly in the field of bilingualism. The books include Language and Society in the German-speaking Countries (Cambridge University Press (CUP), 1984), and its sequel The German Language in a Changing Europe (CUP, 1995), Community Languages The Australian experience (CUP 1991), Pluricentric Languages (ed, Mouton de Gruyter, 1992), Inter-Cultural Communication at Work (CUP, 1994), Undoing and Redoing Corpus Planning (ed, Mouton de Gruyter, 1997), Dynamics of Language Contact (CUP 2003), and Australia's Language Potential (University of New South Wales Press, 2005).



  1. 1 2 Brian Porter and Kate Burridge (22 November 2010). "Language the melody of his life". The Age. Fairfax Media.
  2. Cook, Margaret (20 February 2006). "Towards a bilingual nation". The Age.
  3. Australian Honours (2006). CLYNE, Michael George. Retrieved 12 February 2011.
  4. "Michael George Clyne (1939 - 2010)" (in Dutch). Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 14 July 2015.


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