Robert Gelston Armstrong (1967-1975, 1976-1977)

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Robert Gelston ArmstrongA social anthropologist who made remarkable and enduring contributions to linguistics, prof Robert Armstrong, Odejo of Idomaland, was the longest serving Director of the Institute, totalling nine years in the position. He attended Western Hills High School, Cincinnati, Ohio, and served as a crptanalyst in the US army durong the Second World War. He obtained his BA in sociology from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, his MA in social anthropology from the University of Oklahoma, and his PhD in social anthropology from the University of Chicago. He taught at the University of Puerto Roco (1947-1948). in 1953 he was a Research Fellow of the Colonial Social Science Research Council in London, during which time he conducted field research into Idoma culture. He taught anthopology at Atlanta University (1955-59), becoming Professor in 1958. In 1963 he became Research Professor of Linguistics at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan. He was editor of the Journal of West African Languages (1963-72). Prof Armstrong was fluent in French, German and Spanish. He read Idoma, Yoruba, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian. He analysed Latin, Igbo, Akweya, Yala and Hausa texts. He conducted extensive research on Idoma language and culture, and did similar work on Yoruba.

His publications include A Comparative Word List of Five Igbo Dialects (1967) and The Study of West African Languages (1967). He made translations of Oba Koso by Duro Ladipo (1972), The Palm Wine Drinkard by Kola Ogunmola (1972), and Onugbo Mloko by S.O.O. Amali (1972). these are available in bilingual publications at the Institute. Professor died on 29 April, 1987.