University of California Seal



Terence H. Wilbur


Professor of Germanic Languages, Emeritus

Los Angeles


Terence H. Wilbur was born on April 8, 1924. He died in Los Angeles on the 7th of March 2000. Terry received his B.A. in 1947, his M.A. in 1949, and his Ph.D. in 1954 from the University of California, Berkeley. Terry taught as an instructor at the University of Massachusetts from 1952 until 1953 and was then hired by the Department of Germanic Languages at UCLA on July 1, 1953. Terry was an active member in the Indo-European Studies Program at UCLA and, for a time, served as its chair. Terry retired from active university service at UCLA on July 1, 1991.


Terry's interests included Germanic philology and linguistics, Indo-European Studies, and Basque language and linguistics. He was a member of the Real Academia de la lengua Vasca, Bilbao. His publications include:


Schuchardt, the Neogrammarians and the Transformational Theory of Phonological Change (1972)

The Lautgesetz-Controversy, a Documentation 1885-86, w/Theo Vennemann, (1977)


Prolegomena to a Grammar of Basque (1979)


Terry contributed to the field of linguistics, not only through his research, but also by training a number of highly qualified and competent scholars. Just some of these students include: Theo Vennemann, Mervin Barnes, Helmut Esau, Angela della Volpe, and Heidi Waltz. Terry was a beloved teacher. One former student described him as “a fearless teacher”, who “was neither afraid to learn from one of his students, nor from someone outside his own area of expertise”.


When I was hired in 1990 to replace Terry, I found an exceptional and caring mentor.


He was also a comforting friend. I shall miss him, as will all who knew him.


Christopher M. Stevens