In Memoriam: Richard D. Lambert

September 3, 2015

CAL is saddened by the passing of Richard D. Lambert, a political scientist and a founding scholar and major contributor to the field of language policy. 

Read more about Richard D. Lambert on the University of Pennsylvania website

Tribute from Bernard Spolsky, former CAL Ferguson Fellow:

Introduced to language learning as a student in the Armed Services Training Program during World War II, Lambert studied Turkish but like other graduates of the program was needed for the Battle of the Bulge in Europe. Lambert earned his MA and doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania where he taught and ultimately became chairman of the South Asian regional studies program, working particularly on studies of Indian politics.

He carried out a number of administrative tasks in international education, and established his position in educational linguistics by studies of language attrition. In 1986, taking an initiative from the 1979 Presidential Commission on Language and International Studies, he founded and became director of the National Foreign Language Center in Washington which provided leadership in the improvement of international programs and brought together a number of scholars in the new field of language policy.

Another result of his nurturing of government interest was the establishment in 2003 of the Center for the Advanced Study of Language. In these and other ways Lambert helped build both the theory and practice of language policy in the USA.