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Students from the Linguistics and English Language Society (LAEL) are arranging to pay tribute to a popular member of staff from the department who was killed in a car accident earlier this month. Professor Anna Siewierska was on holiday in Vietnam when the accident occurred on August 6th; she was the only casualty after a lorry collided with the minibus in which she and her husband were travelling.
A brief announcement on the department’s website informed people of the news, also promising that tributes and details of a memorial will be posted in the near future. An email to the same end was also sent to students and staff of the department.
Professor Siewierska had been Professor of Linguistics and Human Communication at Lancaster since 1994, having served for three years as Head of Department during that time. She had previously worked and studied at universities in Holland, Poland and Australia.
Acting Head of the Department Paul Kerswill told SCAN that “we were shocked to learn of the death of our colleague and friend Anna Siewierska. Anna was a linguist at the very peak of her career, on a still upward trajectory.
“She was a leading figure in the Societas Linguistica Europaea, and was to have given two papers at its September conference.”
A statement from LAEL Society Treasurer Grace Fitzpatrick paid tribute to Sierwierska. “Anna was a remarkable woman who commanded respect from her students and who would also go out of her way to help them. We are all truly shocked and saddened by this tragic news. She will be fondly remembered and greatly missed by her students,” she said.
Fitzpatrick added, “we got to know a friendly side of Anna outside of lectures and knew her as somebody we could turn to.”
To pay their respects, the LAEL society has organised for a card to be sent to Professor Sierwierska’s family containing messages of condolence from many students. This was “to make sure they know how much she touched our lives and how valued she was as a Professor,” said Fitzpatrick.
Students also plan to pay tribute closer to the date of the memorial which is being arranged by the Linguistics and English Language Department.