John was an outstanding scholar, a first-generation modern corpus linguist and one of the most open-minded and original thinkers in the field. He was Professor of Modern English Language at the University of Birmingham for most of his career and founder of the ground-breaking COBUILD project in lexical computing which revolutionised lexicography in the 1980s and resulted in a new generation of corpus-driven dictionaries and reference materials for English language learners. After his retirement from Birmingham John moved to Italy where he became President of the Tuscan Word Centre, an association devoted to promoting the scientific study of language. On the short intensive courses that the Tuscan Word Centre offered, John very generously shared his original ideas about language and linguistics with generations of younger scholars, introduced numerous students to the fascinating world of corpora and inspired many new ideas for future research in linguistics. He was an Honorary Life Member of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain and a member of the Academia Europaea. John held an Honorary Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Gothenburg, and Honorary Professorships in the Universities of Jiao Tong, Shanghai and Glasgow.
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