James Anthony (1921 - 2003)

(Very slightly amplified and adapted from The Phonetician No.87, 2003-1)

Dr James K. F. Anthony died on January 28th 2003. Known to many as “Tony” but answering equally genially to “Jim” he was a well known and very well liked figure in the discipline of phonetics.

A native of Edinburgh, he first worked for the Post Office from 1936 to 1939 and then from 1939 to 1946 served in the British Army in the Royal Corps of Signals. From 1946 to 1948 he returned to the Post Office as a telephone mechanic but in 1948 was appointed by David Abercrombie as technician in the newly opened Department of Phonetics at the University of Edinburgh. There he set up their laboratory – so successfully that in the 1950s he was much in demand to advise others on how to set up their new phonetics laboratories. The renowned Peter Ladefoged paid him the handsome tribute of saying of his work at Edinburgh “He was a leader pushing us on to the latest technology”.

In the 1960s he did pioneering work on artificial speech with the then famous machine known as “PAT” ie Parametric Automatic Talker. He was invited to the University of California at Los Angeles and spent 1963 to 1964 there as a visiting professor. His main work at that time was research into the workings of the larynx. He became deeply interested in the medical applications of phonetics.

One of few people ever to manage successfully the changeover from technician to academic, he became Senior Lecturer in Edinburgh producing his PhD on "Breathing and Speaking" in 1982. He left his body for medical research. For some years he took a keen interest in the forensic applications of phonetics and served for a time as Honorary Secretary to the International Association for Forensic Phonetics.

He had not been very long into his retirement in which he was able to pursue his beloved photography besides his outdoor interests in hill-walking and the particularly Scotttish game of curling. He was a kindly and generous man and, with his vigorous mind, he was always inventing, designing, and constructing something. He had been a keen sailor too. He was very fond of his home on the north coast of the Firth of Forth not far from Edinburgh.