Fishman, Joshua A.

Alternative names
Birth 1926-07-18
Arabic, English

Biographical notes:

Biography / Administrative History

Dr. Joshua Aaron Fishman is a renowned social scientist and a founder of the field of sociolinguistics. An acclaimed researcher, Dr. Fishman's interests include language and ethnicity, language spread and change, Yiddish studies, bilingual education, and traditional folk medicine. In the course of his career, Dr. Fishman has accumulated multiple honors and awards. He has been a visiting fellow at almost all of the major Centers for Advanced Study in the world and has published more than 800 scholarly articles and books in both Yiddish and English. Dr. Fishman was born on July 18, 1926, in Philadelphia to Aaron Samuel Fishman and Sonia (Horwitz) Fishman. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in social studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1948 and his Ph.D. in social psychology from Columbia University in 1953. On December 23, 1951, he married Gella Schweid, with whom he has three children: M. Manuel, David Eliot, and Avrom. After his graduation from Columbia, Fishman worked for some years as an educational researcher, first for the Jewish Education Committee of New York and then for the College Entrance Examination Board in New York City. He also was on the faculty of the psychology department of The City College of the City University of New York (then City College) from 1955-1958. Subsequently, he worked as an associate professor and as Director of Research at the Albert M. Greenfield Center for Human Relations at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, until 1960. In 1960 he was hired by Yeshiva University, where he has remained on the faculty until the present day; he became an emeritus professor in 1988. He began spending parts of the academic year at Stanford University in 1963, and in 1992 was designated a visiting professor of linguistics at Stanford. Dr. Fishman also has held summer or visiting appointments at Indiana University, Hebrew University (Jerusalem), Philippine Normal College (Manila), Harvard University, Columbia University, the University of Hawaii, the University of Illinois, the University of San Francisco, and the University of New Mexico. The positions and titles that Dr. Fishman holds as of 2006: - Distinguished University Research Professor of Social Sciences, Emeritus (Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology), Yeshiva University. - Visiting Professor and Visiting Scholar, School of Education, Applied Linguistics and Department of Linguistics, Stanford University. - Adjunct Professor of Multilingual and Multicultural Education, School of Education, New York University. - Visiting Professor of Linguistics, City University of New York, Graduate Center

From the guide to the Joshua A. Fishman papers, 1885-1992, 1926-1992, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)


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  • Bilingualism
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Jewish studies
  • Linguistics
  • Language and languages--Political aspects
  • Ethnicity
  • Yiddish poetry
  • Yiddish literature
  • Yiddish secular schools
  • Yiddish language
  • Linguistic minorities


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