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A Celebration of Robin Lakoff's Retirement

On May 4, 2012, RobinFest, a conference honoring Robin Lakoff's retirement, was held at Berkeley, California. Deborah Tannen and Mary Bucholtz, former students of Robin, organized this wonderful event. Participants expressed great admiration for Robin, whose thoughts and encouragement laid the ground for many of their careers. Her son Andrew Lakoff, for whom the monumental book Language and Woman's Place was dedicated, made a charming speech. He quoted the book's first page, in which he is referenced, "'For Andy whose generation will, I hope, have transcended these issues by the time he can read this book. 'I was five years old, then.''' It was in this moment that I believe all of the participants, including myself, realized that doing pragmatics (in this case, studies on woman's language) enables us to change the world.

George Lakoff also came to celebrate the event and made a warm speech. He mentioned that Robin, when studying classic Latin as an undergraduate, was already thinking 'pragmatics' when there was no word for it. Additionally, he also said that both of the authors of textbooks on pragmatics are students of Robin--that is, Stephen Levinson and Georgia Green. This remark reminded us that it was Robin's inspiration that opened the door for us to follow her and flourish in the field of pragmatics.

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