HIRT, Herman(n) Alfred

HIRT, Herman(n) Alfred. Magdeburg 19.12.1865 — Giessen 12/20.9.1936. German IE scholar. Professor in Giessen. Son of the master carpenter Heinrich Hirt and Bertha Bollmann, educated in Magdeburg. Studies of Sanskrit and IE linguistics at Leipzig and Freiburg, under Brugmann, Leskien, Zarncke, Sievers and Windisch. Ph.D. 1889. Travelled in Lithuania and in the Balkans. From 1891 PD at Leipzig, taught both IE and Germanic linguistics. From 1896 eo. Professor at Leipzig, from 1912 ord. Professor of Sanskrit and Comparative IE at Giessen, where he taught until his death. Married 1894 Margarethe Grosse, one son (died in WW I) and one daughter.

HH was an original and bold scholar, who proposed daring hypotheses. When Brugman and others had mainly concentrated on reconstructing the last phase of the “Ursprache”, HH considered its origins, like Bopp and Schleicher (and later Laryngalists). He tried to reconstruct the origin of flexion. The IE “Urheimat” he located in Central Europe, Russia and Southern Scandinavia, from the Rhine or the Weser to the Ural. According to him the differences between various IE languages had their origin mainly in substratum influences (so for instance the Germanic “Lautverschiebung”). He was much interested in history and culture (Wörter und Sachen). Among his students was H. Arntz.

Publications: Hab.diss. Vom gestossenen und schleifenden Ton in den indogermanischen Sprachen. 42 p. Strassburg 1891 and in IF 1.

Der indogermanische Akzent. 23+356 p. Strassburg 1895; Der idg. Ablaut. Strassburg 1900.

– “Zur lösung der gutturalfrage im Indogermanischen”, BB 24, 1899, 218-291 (with “1. Teil. Die zischlaute und die palatale. A. Altindisch”, 230-252).

Handbuch der griechischen Laut- und Formenlehre. 464 p. Heidelberg 1902, 2nd ed. 652 p. 1912.

Die Indogermanen, ihre Verbreitung, ihre Urheimat und ihre Kultur. 1-2. 770+760 p. Strassburg 1905-07.

Etymologie der neuhochdeutschen Sprache. 404 p. Munich 1909, 2nd ed. 1921; Geschichte der deutschen Sprache. 301 p. Munich 1919, 2nd ed. 1925.

– “Fragen der Vokalismus der Stammbildung im Indogermanischen”, IF 32, 1914, 209-318.

Indogermanische Grammatik. 1-7. Idg. Bibl. 1:13. Heidelberg 1921-36: 1. Einleitung, Etymologie, Konsonantismus. 32+350 p. 1927; 2. Der indogermanische Vokalismus. 267 p. 1921; 3. Das Nomen. 11+360 p. 1927; 4. Doppelung. Zusammensetzung. Verbum. 8+371 p. 1928; 5. Der Akzent. 12+411 p. 1929; 6. Syntax. 1. Syntaktische Verwendung des Kasus und der Verbalformen. 302 p. 1934; 7. Syntax. 2. 1936.

Edited the 2nd ed. of A. Thumb: Handbuch des Sanskrit. 1-2. Heidelberg 1930.

Handbuch des Urgermanischen. 1-3. Idg. Bibl. 1:21. Heidelberg 1931-34.

Die Hauptprobleme der idg. Sprachwissenschaft. Ed. by H. Arntz. 7+226 p. Halle 1939; Indogermanica. Forschungen über Sprache und Geschichte Alteuropas. Ed. by H. Arntz. 10+457 p. Halle 1940.

Sources: *Germanen und Indogermanen. Volkstum, Sprache, Heimat, Kultur. Festschrift H. H. Heidelberg 1936; *H. Arntz in Bursian, Jahresber. Über die Fortschritte 262, 1938, 100-107; *R. Hiersche, Giessener Gelehrte in der ersten Hälfte des 20. Jh. 1. Marburg 1982, 423-433; H. Junker, Archiv für vergl. Phonetik 1, 1937, 53-55; G. Neumann, N.D.B. 9, 1972, 235f.; *R. Schmitt, Lex. gramm. 1996, 419f.; Stache-Weiske 2017, 315f., 530; briefly D.B.E. 5, 1997, 69; Wikipedia.

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