Lionel Bender (linguist)

Lionel Bender
Born August 18, 1934 (1934-08-18)
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Died February 19, 2008 (2008-02-20) (aged 73)
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Occupation linguist, scholar, writer
Nationality American

Marvin Lionel Bender (August 18, 1934 – February 19, 2008) was an American author and linguist.


M. Lionel Bender in 2004

Bender was born August 18, 1934, in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He travelled throughout the world, particularly in Northeast Africa, and was an accomplished chess player.

Dr. Bender died of complications from a stroke and brain hemorrhage on February 19, 2008 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.


Bender wrote and co-wrote several books, publications and essays on the Languages of Africa, particularly those spoken in Ethiopia and Sudan, A major contributor to Ethiopian Studies. He did extensive work on the Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan languages spoken locally.

Together with J. Donald Bowen, Robert L. Cooper, and Charles A. Ferguson, Bender carried out the Survey of Language Use and Language Teaching in East Africa, funded by the Ford Foundation in 1968-1970. He later conducted other research sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Among other works, his books include Amharic Verb Morphology (his PhD dissertation - a generative study of Amharic verbal morphology), Language in Ethiopia (co-edited with C. Ferguson, C. Bowen, R. Cooper), Nilo-Saharan Language Studies, The Non-Semitic Languages of Ethiopia, Preliminary Gaam-English-Gaam Dictionary, Omotic Verb Morphology, and the Berta Lexicon. For many years, he was closely involved with NACAL, the annual North American Conference on Afroasiatic Linguistics.

Bender retired from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.



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