SAPIR, Edward

SAPIR, Edward. Lauenburg, Pomerania (now Lębork, Poland) 26.1.1884 — New Haven 4.2.1939. U.S. Linguist and Anthropologist. Born in a Lithuanian Jewish family, which emigrated to the U.S.A. in 1890. Grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and New York. From 1901 studies of Germanic and IE Linguistics at Columbia, graduated B.A. 1904, M.A. 1905. Prompted by his teacher Franz Boas conducted fieldwork on Indian languages of Washington, Oregon, California and Utah. Ph.D. 1909 Columbia. In 1910-25 Director of Division of Anthropology in Geological Survey of Canada in Ottawa. Then Professor at University of Chicago and from 1931 Professor of Anthropology at Yale. Married around 1910 Florence Delson (d. 1924) and 1926 Jean Victoria McClenaghan, two sons and one daughter with the first and two sons with the second wife. Beside studying their languages he also defended the civil rights of indigenous peoples.

Publications: Diss. on the Takelma language of Oregon.

– Language. 1921; many studies on American languages.

– “On the etymology of Sanskrit áśru, Avestan asru, Greek dákru”, Spiegel Mem. Vol. 1908, 156-159; “Hebrew ‘Helmet’, a Loanword, and its Bearing on Indo-European Phonology”, JAOS 57, 1937, 73-77.

Sources: C.F. Voegelin, Word Study 27, 1952, 1-3 (republ. in Sebeok 1966:2, 489-492); Wikipedia with photo, bibliography and further references.

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