MORGENSTIERNE, Georg

MORGENSTIERNE, Georg  Valentin von Munthe af. Christiania (Oslo) 3.1.1892 — Oslo 3.3.1978. Norwegian Indo-Iranian Scholar. Professor in Oslo. Son of Professor Bredo M. and Bertha Ludwigsen Schjelderup. Matriculated from Christiania 1909. Studies at Christiania, of classical philology, comparative linguistics and Indology (under Konow), then at Bonn (Jacobi) and Berlin (Lüders). Ph.D. 1918 Berlin (confirmed 1921). In 1917-29 Adjunktsstipendium for Indo-Iranian philology at Christiania/Oslo University. In 1930-37 Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative IE Linguistics at Gothenburg in Sweden. From 1937 Konow’s successor as Professor of Indian languages and literature at Oslo. Retired in 1960 (succeeded by Simonsson). Hon. Dr. 1942 Gothenburg, 1947 Bern. Married 1918 Agnes Konow (1894-19??; née Schorcht, Konow’s stepdaughter).                       

Morgenstierne started his career working on classical Indian drama, but soon changed field. He was the leading specialist of East Iranian and Dardic languages, his own specialty was Pashto. During his many field trips to North-West India (now Pakistan) and Afghanistan (1923-24, 1929, etc.) he had collected an enormous amount of linguistic material. He was the first to collect linguistically exact field material in Afghanistan (first in Kabul, after the war also in Nuristan, etc.). First visit to Iran only in 1954. He supported the idea of Dardic as a separate group. He was very skilled in etymology, though his Pashto dictionary is said to have appeared prematurely and the preparation of a second edition was prevented by his death. He was known as a popular and good teacher and a keen sportler who often came skiing to the university. Among his students were Kristiansen and Skjærvø.

Publications: Diss. Über das Verhältnis zwischen Cārudatta und Mṛcchakaṭikā. 79+61 p. Halle 1920.

– “The Tibetan version of the Nāgānanda”, AO 2, 1924, 39-54.

– Report on a linguistic mission to Afghanistan. 93 p. Ist. f. sammenl. Kulturf. Oslo 1926; Report on a linguistic mission to North-Western India. 76 p. Ist. f. sammenl. Kulturf. CIII:1. Oslo 1932.

– An Etymological Vocabulary of Pashto. 120 p. Skrifter av Norske Vid.-Akademi II:3. Oslo 1927, rev. ed. 2003.

– The linguistic classification of Dardic and Kafiri. 1927.

– Indo-Iranian Frontier Languages. 1-4. More than 2000 p. Oslo 1929-72 (1. Parachi & Ormuri. 1929; 2. Pamir Languages. 1938; 3. Pashai. 1956; 4. Kalasha. 1972).

– “The language of the Ashkun Kafirs”, Norsk Tidskr. for Sprogvid. (NTS) 2, 1929, 192-289; “Additional Notes on Ashkun”, NTS 7, 1934, 56-115; Notes on Phalūṛa, an Unknown Dardic Language of Chitral . 53 p. Skrifter av Norske Vid.-Akademi. Oslo 1940; “Notes on Dameli, a Kafir-Dardic Language of Chitral”, NTS 12, 1940, 115-197; “Notes on Bashkarik”, AO 18, 1940, 206-257 (a Kohistani dialect); “The Language of the Prasun Kafirs”, NTS 15, 1949, 1-147; Notes on Gawar-Bati. 62 p. Skrifter av Norske Vid.-Akademi. Oslo 1950.

– “Orthography ans Sound-System of Avesta”, NTS 12, 1942.

– Khushhāl Khān, en afghansk nasjonaldikter. 1945.

– Etymological Vocabulary of the Shughni Group. 119 p. Beiträge zur Iranistik 6. Wb. 1974.

– Numerous articles in AO, Norsk Tidskr. for Sprogvid., etc.

– Irano-Dardica. 388 p. Beiträge zur Iranistik 5. Wb. 1973 (selected articles).

– Paa sprogjakt i Hindukush. Dagboksnotater fra Chitral 1929. Ed. Eva M. Lorentzen, with Knut Kristiansen, and Fridrik Thordarson. Oslo 1992.

Sources:  H. W. Bailey, JRAS 1979, 95f.; G. Buddruss, Afghan Journal 5:3, 1978, 109-111 (photo of a painting); *K. Kristiansen & I. Ross, bibliography, Indo-Ir. Fr. lang. 4; *K. Kristiansen, Lex. gramm. 1996, 622f.; *N. J. Ringdal, Georg Valentin von Munthe af Morgenstiernes forunderlige liv og reiser. Oslo 2008; P. Skjærvø, AO 40, 1979, with photo (another in Sardesai; Fr. Thordarson, Encyclop. Iranica 2005 with photo and Norsk biogr. leksikon (online 2009); *Mélanges à G.M. 1962, with bibliography; Bio-bibliogr. Acta Iran. 20, 1979, 369ff.; Göteborg Högsskolans matrikel 1916-41; Wikipedia with photo.

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