Max Mangold, who died on 3 February 2015 aged 92, devoted his whole life to learning and describing languages and their pronunciation. It is no exaggeration to say that he was the IPA phonetician par excellence of the German-speaking world, adopting the system at an early age in preference to the established German transcription systems of the time, because it enabled him to acquire more efficiently the correct pronunciation of the many languages he studied. And many there were! Apart from those he could speak fluently – estimates vary between 10 and 20 in different reports – he studied the grammars of many more. His answer to a personal enquiry in 1992 as to how many languages he could speak was 15 – and a few weeks to polish up the other 15! He then circulated among the multi-national staff and students at the departmental summer barbecue, speaking to the Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Czech, Bulgarian, Greek, Spanish and Swedish guests in their respective native tongues. That was about three years after retiring from his position as professor of phonetics at the Universität des Saarlandes in Saarbrücken, where he had taught since 1957. He continued to offer transcription classes and a colloquium each semester until he was over 90.
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