Joan Fayer (deceased)

fayerjAcademic Degree
PhD, University of Pennsylvania (1982)

Areas of Expertise: Sociolinguistics,Creole Studies, Historical Linguistics,Dialectology,Ethnolinguistics



It is with deep sorrow that we report the demise of Joan Martin Fayer, active member of our Río Piedras teaching staff since 1963. Dr. Fayer, distinguished professor in the English Department of the College of Humanities, obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania where she studied sociolinguistics with illustrious professors like William Labov, Dell Hymes, and Shirley Brice Heath, among others. During her academic career, she expanded the graduate program in English by creating new courses that reflected the dynamic field of sociolinguistics. She served as the director of the Graduate Linguistics Program in Hispanic Studies and coordinated the ESL component of the English Department. During the 1980’s, she gave a doctoral course in sociolinguistics at the Interamerican University. More recently she formed part of a group of professors involved in innovative research on the Anglophone Caribbean islands, along with Peter Roberts, distinguished professor of the University of the West Indies. Her interest and work in the area of Caribbean linguistics earned her an award from the Atlantea Project which she shared with retired professor Joan McMurray. For various years, she published and presented conference papers on the topic of Puerto Rican English, a notion that she initiated as part of the sociolinguistic concept of World Englishes.

She belonged to the Society for Caribbean Linguistics and shared her research in many official meetings in different parts of the Caribbean Basin. Along with other professors from the University of Puerto Rico, she founded and promoted for more than twenty years the Speech Communication Association of Puerto Rico (SCAPR), affiliated with the National Communication Association. Joan was also a member of the editorial board for one of the NCA’s official journals.Her most significant legacy is her dedication to the students who so deeply have felt her passing. She promoted their participation in academic conferences and directed the publication of research they carried out. She was the mentor of dozens of students who found in her the support and the knowledge necessary to write their Master’s and doctoral theses. We extend our deepest condolences to her husband, Joseph Fayer, her four children, and her grandchildren. May she rest in peace.