Department of Linguistics, Indiana University, Bloomington
Professor Paul Newman received his B.A. (Philosophy) and M.A. (Anthropology) from the University of Pennsylvania and his Ph.D. (Linguistics) from UCLA. Much later he received his J.D., summa cum laude, from Indiana University. (He is a member of the Indiana Bar.) He came to IU in 1983, where for six years he was chair of the Linguistics Department. He previously held academic positions at Yale University, Bayero University (Kano, Nigeria), and Rijiksuniversiteit te Leiden (The Netherlands). He currently holds a full-time position as copyright specialist in the library at the University of Michigan. He has been honored with a personal chair in African Linguistics at Leiden, and as an invited fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford) and at the Centre for Linguistic Typology (Canberra, Australia).
His focus on Africa began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the very first group to go to Nigeria. He subsequently returned to Nigeria many times, to conduct research and to serve as the initial permanent director of the Centre for the Study of Nigerian Languages at Bayero University.
While still graduate students, Newman and his future wife, Roxana Ma Newman, published a seminal paper on the Chadic language family, which set the groundwork for descriptive and comparative research in that area for decades to come. In his career, Newman has published eighteen books and over a hundred articles, book reviews, and ethnomusicological recordings (of traditional Appalachian and African music). His magnum opus, which has solidified his reputation as the world's leading Hausaist, is his 800-page volume The Hausa Language: An Encyclopedic Reference Grammar (Yale University Press, 2000). He is the founding editor of the Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, and now volunteers his services as copyright consultant to the Linguistic Society of America and to the open-access journal Language Documentation & Conservation.
Newman is an intractable sixties liberal where civil rights and
civil liberties are concerned. He is a long-time member of the ACLU,
with service on the state board of the ACLU of Indiana. Other
activities include a successful age discrimination complaint against
IU, which forced the university to essentially dismantle its
discriminatory mandatory retirement policies. (Virtually alone among
major research universities, IU inexplicably still practices overt age
discrimination in its hiring and retention of high-level