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Trim, John Leslie Melville, 1924-2013 (Linguist and phoneticist)



  • Existence: 1924 - 2013


John Trim was born on 25 October 1924. After leaving school he began a degree in German at University College London, but his studies were interrupted in 1943 when he was called up for service in the Second World War. After leaving the army in 1947, Trim continued his studies and graduated with a first class degree in 1949, gaining university prizes for philology and modern literature. Trim remained at UCL researching and teaching phonetics until 1958, when he moved to Cambridge as the first University Lecturer in Phonetics. He was appointed a Fellow of Selwyn College in 1962.

Whilst at Cambridge, John Trim was the founding Director of the Linguistics Department, which was established in 1966. He was also a Chair of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) and an honourary member of the International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA).

In the early 1960s, John Trim was an examiner for O and A Level German examinations administered by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES). He later became involved in the administration of exams as Chair of the UCLES Joint Committee of Management and of the Executive Committee for Examinations in English as a Foreign Language.

John Trim left his position at Cambridge in 1978 to become Director of the Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (CILT), a position he held until 1987.

Trim played a leading role in the Council of Europe's Modern Languages Projects from 1971 to 1997. He had responsibility for co-authoring the Waystage and Threshold Levels series in 25 languages and developing many international workshops for teacher trainers. John Trim was a key author in the subsequent development of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, published in 2001.

John Trim wrote or co-wrote many publications and edited several journals including "Applied Linguistics" (1980), "Language Teaching" (1978-87) and "Language in Society" (1971-86).

John Trim died in 2013.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:


Personal papers of John L. M. Trim, 1944 - 2012

Reference Code: GBR/2086/UCLES/PP/JLT
Scope and Contents John Trim’s association with UCLES (later Cambridge Assessment) lasted 50 years, first as a setter of German translation examinations and later as Chair of the Executive Committee for Examinations in English as a Foreign Language.According to Dr Nick Saville, Senior Director at Cambridge and colleague of Trim, ‘This was an exciting period in the development of linguistics in Britain and saw the growth of linguistics departments at several of the major British universities. John...
Dates: 1944 - 2012