My family

Most blog readers do not know my family, so I have not made them central to the blog. But they are central to my life.  Here they are on our wheelchair maiden voyage  (as provided by The National Health Service): From left, Gill, my wife; Maddie, my daughter (18); Boris, my elder son (22) and Raffie, my younger son (9).  All deeply loved.

wheelchair-1

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Adam Kilgarriff

I'm a scientist who has set up and runs a small company. I'm married (to Gill Lamden) with three children, Boris (22), Maddie (18) and Raffie (9) (as at today, 28 January 2015, in case I forget to update!) We live in Brighton, UK. Last November (2014) I found I had bowel cancer (stage 5; not curable; only 'manageable'). We've been adjusting to that since (and it is what provoked me to start the blog) My scientific area is linguistics, with my specialisms being corpus linguistics, computational linguistics, and lexicography - or, best of all, the intersection of all three. Since 2004, my company, Lexical Computing Ltd., has been providing a web service, the Sketch Engine, to linguists and lexicographers wanting to find out about words, using corpus-driven methods. Customers include Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Collins, Macmillan, Le Robert, Dictionary.com and around a hundred universities worldwide.

32 thoughts on “My family”

  1. Nice to see you and your fine family out on your wheeled maiden voyage. I hope you didn’t get too bumped going up and down kerbs and all that? Who has the best wheelchair steering technique so far? Kate xxx

  2. Dear Adam,

    I remember having a fun meal years ago with your family and Nuria Bel in the port of Barcelona. Your kids were great and curious about things, which impressed me a lot.

    Courage is a difficult word to define, but I bet everyone who knows you recognizes it in you.

    Words usually fail us at times like these, but your words in this blog have been inspiring to many. Thank you.

    In friendship,
    Janet

  3. Adam,
    What was the suspension like? How was the cornering? And crucially, did you manage to beat the manufacturer’s recommended top speed? We need to know … >8-))
    Cheers,
    Andy.

  4. Adam, good to see that you’re out and about, road-testing your new wheels and Boris’s driving skills. Hope the wheelchair gets lots more miles on the clock. Thanks for sharing the photo.
    Love to you all.

  5. Your family kindly put me and Jane up back in the olden days. Always remembered as a fun time by us.

    Love to all

    James

  6. Adam, I particularly like the bold cap you’re wearing; looks green to me but, according the radio just now, colour is even more subjective than I thought, so maybe it’s a violent pink.
    Keep blogging along.

    Robertxx

  7. Dear Adam,
    So fortunate to have met you. Your visits to Murcia were always a real joy.
    Great idea to share the picture of your whole family with us.
    Keep blogging
    Love
    Pascual

  8. Adam, we’re all thinking about you in the office. I remember such good times during your visits to OUP, a mixture of intellectual brilliance (from you) and lots of fun! Also Lexicom in Brighton, you whizzed up on your bike to take the motley crew of delegates for a night out on Brighton pier. That was a great week.

    Lots of love, and wishing we could have done much more stuff together.
    Angus

  9. Adam ….. that is NOT a good hat look. For the sake of your children, I think another image please next time you are off round the block….but glad that you are off round the block. xx Anne

  10. Hi Adam
    Thanks for sharing your news and photo. It’s great to see you out and about. Thanks too for the previous post. Your comments about depression and ‘that illness’ make complete sense. Paradoxical clearly but then the your gift in the blog is to bring alive the truth that life really does pivot around a series of hard-to-explain paradoxes. I’ve been trying to find a photo to upload that would have sufficient entertainment value and relevance to warrant inclusion here. I think maybe there’s one of Raffie and Robin which I’ll dig out from my other computer. Till then, all best and keep posting!
    Chris

  11. Dear Adam,

    Thanks for sharing the picture with us and let us know your family. I know in first hand how difficult this time must be for all of you, but both you and your family are giving to us a real life lesson.

    Thank you for all your teaching.

    Lots of love to you and your family!

    Araceli

    PD: I like the green cap-:)!!!

  12. “E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle”
    (Thence issuing we again beheld the stars).
    Dante Alighieri

  13. Dear Dr. Kilgarriff,

    I feel kind of invasive by posting here, but your observation about how important it is to “come out” about depression got me thinking that it is also important for students to “come out” on the importance of mentors of all types. You also mention that you enjoy seeing some of your pictures, and I thought I might add to that.

    I remember one of my professors pointed me towards your articles when I was an undergraduate thinking of delving into corpus linguistics and computational liguistics. Up to then I was a student with more of an interest in computers than on purely theoretical linguistics. I wanted to build things that people could use, but I didn’t see how my degree would fit into that. Towards the end of my degree, there was a big conference at my alma mater that was attended by many of the big names in linguistics whose books and articles I had studied from. I found another great mentor there in the form of my MA and PhD advisor. You were not at that one, so I was looking forward to meeting the rest of the “dream team” whenever I went to a conference: all those brilliant minds in linguistics, who we, as shy undergrads, fathomed were probably bored out of their minds whenever we tried to talk to them, causing much stuttering, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    At CILC 2013 in Alicante, I finally met you. You kindly went to my talk as well, though it was at an inconvenient time for you, and gave me feedback on it. I remember you also patiently answered all my questions about how could a grad student get established on the field, get a job, start a company, create a product, and so on. At a time when unemployment was very high in Spain, you confirmed my advisor’s words, and gave me hope and energy to keep moving forward. We mostly talked on buses and during some breaks in the conference, and at some point towards the end of the conference, we walked in front of this tree and it caught your eye. Cathy Longrenn kindly took the picture. I hope you enjoy it.

    Plenaries are often kept away from most people, moreso with students, understandably, to protect their energy levels and give them some semblance of peace during chaotic times. Nevertheless, this sort of interaction is probably one of the most valuable things I have gotten from any conference: experienced professionals, telling students that it is OK, that things will come with time and pointing “the young ones” to useful resources.
    I am currently working as a computational linguist, something that seemed unfathomable in this job market, and very happy with the research I’m carrying out. Just when I was starting to rely on statistics too much and questioning on the golden ratio of stats and manually created rules, someone pointed me to your articles again. I have just become a client of SketchEngine.

    Thank you so much for everything, and let me know if I can be of assistance.
    All my best wishes to you and your beautiful family,
    Fiorella Dotti

  14. Dear Adam
    A warm embrace from me, Tessa and the whole Ralph clan. So glad we had a chance to grow up together and have continued to meet over the years. Blessed to have so many golden memories and to have been inspired by your intelligence and friendship. Regrets not to have shared more. With love, Paul.

  15. thought i had left a comment , obviously failed, adam we all love you .. and you are always in our hearts fond memories, cherry juice on all the kids, etc etc etc our love to your heart for always lois joe emmy jess

  16. Sending you all lots of love, and hopes for strength , care and support and whatever else you need , Love Siobhan x

  17. Dear Adam,

    Great to see your family. I still remember when you first came to India with your family in 2010. Raffie was a really small then. It was my pleasure meeting your family.

    Regards
    Avinesh

  18. Hey Adam,
    Great to “meet” your family!

    I love the picture, although it’s somewhat blurry. I won’t add another remark on the cool hat ;)

    Here is one of my son Yonathan and I some ten years ago…

    Hugs, Noam

  19. Sending you lots of love Adam.
    Here’s a pic from last year of Raffie & Robin – I remember thinking that it would be nice if grown-up football fans from opposing teams could walk together so equably…
    Always in our thoughts
    x

  20. So lovely to read all the comments. You are the centre of such a wide circle of friends and professional contacts. You are a total inspiration !!! Jg

  21. Dear Adam,

    Thanks for sharing all these inspiring thoughts and moments with us.

    It’s sad that we didn’t have the chance to meet in person and, by the time we were about to, you got the news about the cancer. I’m happy though that you have a wonderful family by your side, and I just wanted to thank you again for making us part of it as you always did in your writing, sharing your brilliant takes on language.

  22. Seeing Maddie all grown up reminds me of a picture you shared when she was <= 1, with her face smeared with cherry pie filling. And reminds me of how much a kind person you have been to me and Barbara for 26+ years. You were the first grad student to come up to me at ACL in Pittsburgh in 1989, over a one-page letter to the editor of CL. Since that time, you have meant so much to me and my obsession with computational lexicology, never failing to dash off a quick reply to any of my wild ideas. (Usually, without fail, containing some misspelling. With all your blog entries, you seem to have solved that problem. Maybe, you even believe in word senses now.) Your work has meant so much to the harmless drudges of the world.

  23. Dear Dr. Kilgarriff,

    I am just a Spanish linguist who learnt a lot from your research papers and was also inspired by the democratization of Corpus Linguistics that you made through the Sketch Engine.

    Thanks for your work and inspiring ideas.

    All my best wishes to you and your loving family.

    Un fuerte abrazo,

    Juan Fernández

  24. Dear Adam

    I’m so impressed to read your blogs, hearing all your honesty, courage and wisdom – I had never realised that you dealt with depression, either. But I have heard other people say, like you, that it is worse than any physical illness. Your blogs are full of so much love beaming at you from so many friends. I hope you’re still managing to blog and to get outside in the wheelchair in the spring sunshine.

    I’ll try to attach a view from Ben Lawyers which we climbed at Easter, with memories of Scottish hill walking in years gone by!

    All our love to you, Gill, Maddie, Boris and Raphie

    Mary, Harry, John, Adam (another namesake) and Toby xxx

  25. Adam,

    I’ve put some old scanned analogue photos from Sussex on Dropbox, accessible from this link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/k4l8933iyoukt0k/AADsLuWQTvfqLXO29BVKCxMfa?dl=0

    If it doesn’t work, let me know and I can try to attach images individually, but I thought this would be faster. As an exercise in memory, try to remember everyone’s name! You appear in some group photos on a grassy slope, which I took with a tripod. That was around the time that the DPhil students were moved from Arts D over to the other side of campus, I think. Regards,

    Chris Taylor

  26. Hi Adam,
    It has been wonderful to know you, and your family. I have always appreciated your active listening, your calm concern.
    Your blog posts are a clear message of love to your family and friends, and the whole world really. It helps us all to see the beauty that there is life.
    Greg

  27. Dear Adam

    I had to give a corpus presentation to a group of non-linguists this week. I love that ‘wow’ moment when they see the clever things we can do with the data using Sketch Engine. Thank you for that and for all the fun and inspirational meetings and chats over the years.

    You are very much in our thoughts.

    Love Ruth, Mark and Kirsty x

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