Vale Anne Cutler FRS FBA FASSA FAHA: 1945 – 2022

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It is with sadness that the Academy acknowledges the passing of Professor Anne Cutler FRS FBA FASSA FAHA, a pioneer in the field of psycholinguistics. Professor Cutler was elected to the Academy in 2008.

Born in Melbourne, Victoria, in 1945, she received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and German (1964), a Diploma in Education (1966) and a Master of Arts in German linguistics (1971), all from the University of Melbourne. She recognised the emerging field of psycholinguistics and continued on to the University of Texas at Austin to complete her PhD, graduating in 1975 with her dissertation, “Sentence Stress and Sentence Comprehension.” As of 2022, she was Professor and Research Chair at the MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at the University of Western Sydney and a chief investigator and Processing program leader in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language.

After completing postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1975-1976) and the University of Sussex (1976-1982), Professor Cutler worked as a research scientist at the Medical Research Council Applied Psychology Unit at the University of Cambridge (1982-1983). She was then a Director at the Max-Planck-Institut für Neurolinguistik in Nijmegen, The Netherlands (1993-2013) (and Managing Director there between 2001-2003 and again between 2009-2010), and Professor of Comparative Linguistics at Radboud University, also in Nijmegen (1995-2013). During this time, Professor Cutler was elected to the Academia Europaea (1999), awarded the Spinoza Prize, the highest distinction in science in The Netherlands (1999), and elected as a Fellow to the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia in 2009. She was then elected to Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015, awarded the Silver Medal for Speech Communication by the Acoustical Society of America (2020) and, in 2020, was elected as Corresponding Fellow to the British Academy.

Professor Cutler was a gifted and prolific scholar. Having published numerous books and articles over her long career, including contributions to journals such as Nature, Journal of Memory of Language and Journal of Linguistics, she was also editor for Slips of the Tongue and Language Production (1982) and Twenty-First Century Psycholinguistics: Four Cornerstones (2005). Her life’s research was summarised in her 2012 book Native Listening: Language Experience and the Recognition of Spoken Words.

Anne Cutler was a visionary scholar and dedicated researcher. Her contributions to the area of psycholinguistics formed the very backbone of research in the field.

Professor Cutler passed away on 7 June 2022. We extend our deepest sympathies to her husband Bill, her wider family, her friends and to Professor Cutler’s colleagues.

In memory of our Fellows

Our Fellows, current and those who have died, have contributed extensively to the rich Australian humanities community. When an Academy Fellow dies, we honour their impact by publishing an obituary by another Fellow who has had a long and close association with them.

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