Sture Allén


July 1, 2022

Sture Allén (Gothenburg, December 31, 1928 – June 20, 2022)[1] was a Swedish linguist, member of the Swedish Academy since 1980. He was the son of engineer Bror Allén and Hanna Johansson. In 1954 he married Professor Solveig Jansson. He was the father of radio host Ingemar Allén.


He studied at the Department of Nordic Languages ​​in Gothenburg. In 1958 he published in number 73 of the Archive of Nordic Philology the article "The division of contemporary Swedish pronouns", which is considered his first important scientific contribution. In the early 1960s he was one of the first humanities scholars in Sweden to take an interest in computer training. On March 31, 1964 he published an article in the Göteborgs Handels- och Sjöfarts- Tidning newspaper called "The Lexicologist and the Computer", in which he compared the introduction of the use of computers to the invention of the printing press. In 1965 he published his doctoral thesis, Graphemic Analysis as a basis for text editing, which contains elements of data processing by computer, taking as the object of his study the letters sent by the member of the Court and diplomat Johan Ekeblad to his brother Claes in the mid-17th century. The thesis defends the consideration that the written language is a parallel system to the spoken language, and not subordinate to it. On the basis of his doctoral thesis, he was appointed Associate Professor and then Acting Professor in the Department of Nordic Languages. He founded a research group on Modern Swedish and was appointed Professor of Computer Linguistics. From this group he created in 1977 a Department of Computer Linguistics as a separate department at the University of Gothenburg, and he became a full professor in 1979. In 1999 this department was merged with the Swedish Language Department. He was Vice Chancellor of the University of Gothenburg for five years and became its Chancellor for one year. He participated in lexical research projects, among which the four-volume Contemporary Swedish Frequency Dictionary (1978-1980), the Best Ten Thousand Frequency Dictionary (1972) and the Homograph Dictionary Different Equal Words (1978) stand out. In 1975 he founded the Language Database, with the aim of accumulating texts for electronic reading. From the "Lexical Database" emerged in 1986 the Swedish Dictionary and then the three-volume Dictionary of the Swedish National Encyclopedia (1995-1996), projects of which he was scientific director. On another plane, in 1974 he joined the Swedish Language Council, of which he was vice-president for twenty years, and published articles on the care of the language. In 1979 he featured in the Nordic Council of Languages' Annual Writings the essay On Principles of Language Care, and in the same year he received the Swedish Academy Prize for Language Purity. On October 2, 1980 he was elected to the Swedish Academy, taking up chair number 3 on December 20 of that year. At the Academy he held the important position of permanent secretary from 1986 to 1999. [2] He initiated the Swedish Classics series and encouraged the holding of cultural gatherings at the Academy. On the other hand, he introduced data processing in the institution's secretariat and library. Thus, on the occasion of the eleventh edition of the Swedish Academy Glossary, published in 1986, it was digitized. That same year, The Grammar of the Swedish Academy began to be produced, in four volumes, which ended in 1999. It also promoted the OSA project of the Department of Computer Linguistics of Gothenburg, aimed at electronic access to the dictionary of the Swedish Academy, accessible at the website.[3]​ From 1984 he was president of the Swedish Society of Literary Arts, as well