Eva Sivertsen

(For The Phonetician)

Eva Sivertsen was born on the 8th of July 1922 at Trondheim the ancient city on the shores of a fjord in the middle of Norway's thousand-mile coastline. She graduated in English at the University of Oslo continuing her studies there with a Ph.D. on the famous dialect of working-class Londoners known as Cockney. This developed after some years of further work into the 280-page book published by Oslo University Press in 1960 as Cockney Phonology. She did much of her work on it from a base at University College London's Department of Phonetics but also lived for a while among her main informants at a social settlement in the East End area of Bethnal Green. Besides the influence of the contemporary and previous UCL staff which she clearly acknowledged, she became a great enthusiast for the work of the American structuralists. The influence of Charles F Hockett certainly pervades the whole book.

A three-page review of it in Le Maître Phonétique by J. D. O'Connor began "the standard work on Cockney Phonetics has now been written" and ended with "altogether a splendid book". She included in it also an admirable "conspectus of the general problems posed by the phonological analysis of English" thus making it "two books in one".

Besides being a brilliant scholar she was an equally gifted administrator as was seen when she became a principal organiser of the Eighth International Congress of Linguists in 1957 and edited its volume of Proceedings. From in 1960 she headed the Department of English at Trondheim University. She ultimately became the Rektor of the whole University. She always maintained an interest in the teaching of English as an extra language in its grammar and other linguistic features as well as its phonology. She was  an outstandingly energetic person physically as well as intellectually — much given to outdoor pursuits with remarkable endurance. She never married but she had many friends by whom she was well liked.