George L. Trager

Not to be confused with Trager approach.

George Leonard Trager (March 22, 1906 – August 31, 1992) was an American linguist. He was the president of the Linguistic Society of America in 1960.

He was born in Newark, New Jersey.

During his years at Yale in the 1930s and 1940s, he was a close associate of Edward Sapir, Morris Swadesh, Benjamin Lee Whorf, Charles Hockett, and after 1941, Leonard Bloomfield. From 1937, he collaborated with Whorf on historical-comparative Azteco-Tanoan languages, but further planned collaboration was cut short by Whorf's death in 1941. He wrote the entries on Language and Linguistics for the 14th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Like Sapir and Swadesh, he was a consultant of the International Auxiliary Language Association, which presented Interlingua in 1951.[1]

In the 1950s, Trager worked at the Foreign Service Institute of the Department of State, helping to train diplomats prior to their departure abroad. He worked there with Edward T. Hall, Henry Lee Smith, Charles F. Hockett, and Ray Birdwhistell.[2] Trager's project was the development of paralanguage, while Birdwhistell worked on kinesics and Hall worked on proxemics.

He died in Pasadena, California.



  1. Esterhill, Frank, Interlingua Institute: A History, New York: Interlingua Institute, 2000.
  2. Leeds-Hurwitz, W. (1990). Notes in the history of intercultural communication: The Foreign Service Institute and the mandate for intercultural training. Quarterly Journal of Speech, 76, 262-281.

See also


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