Pit Corder

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Pit Corder (6 October 1918 - 27 January 1990[1]) was a professor of linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. His important work was studying errors that language learners make. This is called error analysis. He was the first chairman of the British Association for Applied Linguistics, 1967-70.[1]

Early life[change | change source]

Pit Corder was born at 4 Bootham Terrace, York, into a Quaker family.[1][2] His full name was Stephen Pit Corder. His father, Philip Corder (b. 1885), was a schoolteacher from an English family, and his mother, Johanna Adriana van der Mersch (b. 1887), was Dutch.[2] Pit studied at Bootham School, a Quaker boarding school near York. His father was a master at the school. Corder studied modern languages at Merton College, Oxford University, from 1936 to 1939.[2]

After Oxford, Corder began teaching at Great Ayton Friends' School. Then, during World War II, he was in the Friends' Ambulance Unit in Finland and Egypt. He did not have to be a soldier because he was a conscientious objector.[2] In 1946 Corder married Nancy Proctor (b. 1916), his second cousin. They had two sons and a daughter.[2]

Academic career[change | change source]

After the war, Corder worked for the British Council in Austria, Turkey, Jamaica and Colombia.[2] During this time he taught classes, worked on syllabus design, and prepared new language-teaching materials.[1] In 1957 Corder joined the school of applied linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. However, he still worked for the British Council at the same time. The British Council needed specialists in applied linguistics because it was expanding language teaching programs around the world. Corder studied for the diploma in applied linguistics to help the Council.[2] He taught at Edinburgh University for over twenty years until he retired in 1983.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Notes on the History of the British Association for Applied Linguistics" (PDF). British Association for Applied Linguistics. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2012. Retrieved December 30, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Davies, Alan. "Corder, Stephen Pit (1918–1990)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/69741. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. "Talking shop: Pit Corder on language teaching and applied linguistics". Elt Journal. 40 (3): 185–190. 1986. doi:10.1093/elt/40.3.185.