One summer in August at Patrick's

Created by Araceli 2 months ago

I first met Patrick Hanks at Euralex when I was a PhD student. My PhD supervisor, Janet DeCesaris, had talked to me about him and about the interesting research he was developing on Corpus Pattern Analysis. “Patrick’s methodology might be useful for your dissertation”, she told me. And indeed it was.

Then he came to Barcelona for a training session. I remembered that at that time he was writing his book on Lexical Analysis: Norms and Exploitations. He went back to Bristol and sent me a copy of his draft. I could not believe he was sending me a copy of a book that had not even been published!

That was Patrick! The most gentle professional, lexicographer and teacher I have ever met. I still have that copy as a treasure.  But my most precious memory of Patrick was all his teaching on corpus analysis one summer in August at Patrick’s home.   
Patrick invited me to Bristol to spend a few days learning how to analyse data by applying Corpus Pattern Analysis. Those days turned out to be the best training course in corpus linguistics I’ve ever had.

I remember getting up at 7am and spending the whole day analysing data and discussing lexical usage with him. He used to tell me: “No, no, no, Araceli, you are not meaning that”. And I stayed thinking: “Ah, no? So, what am I meaning???”, with the feeling of not knowing anything at all. He made you think and encouraged you to go further, to be critical and to develop your own thinking. Just watching him listening to classical music and analysing concordances was a real spectacle. “I wish I could enjoy analysing data as much as Patrick does”, I thought at the time.  

One day I remember I told him I wanted to check the difference of the verbs “to preserve” and “to conserve”, as I was working with environmental texts, in English and Spanish. He started analysing the English verbs while I analysed the Spanish uses. At the end of the morning he said to me: “Araceli, these verbs are very boring!!! They do not have many patterns!!!”  Just listening and talking to him was a deep immersion into a great learning process.

I was very lucky to have met Patrick and I will always be grateful for everything he taught me. I wish I could have spent more time with him and I will always regret not having visited him during these last years. He was not just a teacher, a researcher or a specilist in his field. He was a true guide, a mentor, a source of inspiration for all us who were lucky enough to meet him in our academic lives. We will really miss him!

He was a Master (“un Maestro”) for many of us.  Thanks, Patrick, for all you gave us without asking for anything in return.

Araceli Alonso Campo