HOFFMANN, Karl. Hof am Regen, Oberpfalz (Bavaria) 26.2.1915 — Erlangen 21.5.1996. German Indo-Iranian and IE Linguist. Professor in Erlangen. Son of a railway officer. After school in Munich he studied from 1934 at Munich under Oertel, Sommer and Wüst. Ph.D. 1941 Munich (under Wüst). He had to join the army in 1939, but could complete his doctorate in 1940. In 1940-43 he served in the Russian front, but was then transferred to the Indische Legion stationed at Lacanau near Bordeaux. As sergeant-major he prepared material for the Hindustani radio station and newspaper, but was also able to continue his Vedic studies. Among his colleagues were Thieme, Alsdorf and G. Roth. After the war he lived in hard conditions, although from 1948 he was able to teach at Munich University and prepare his habilitation. From 1951 PD at Munich, from 1952 ao. Professor at the new University of Saarland in Saarbrücken. In 1955-83 ord. Professor of Comparative and Indo-Iranian Linguistics at Erlangen, rejecting invitations from several other universities. Died after long illness.
Hoffmann did very important work on Avestan and Vedic languages and textual criticism, starting with textual material and carefully applying philological and linguistic methods. He is noted of his work in explaining the Indo-Iranian verbal system and in establishing a better (i.e. rejecting Andreas) interpretation of Avestan textual history. Long time he worked on the continuation of Wackernagel’s Altindische Grammatik (Vol. 4. Verbs), but the work remained unfinished. He was also interested in NIA languages (Bengali), especially in his early years. In addition to comparative IE, Indo-Iranian and Germanic, Old Iranian and Old Indian, he also taught Classical Sanskrit and Pāli, Old High German and Old English texts He was very popular and influential teacher; among his many students were Narten, Forssman, Klingenschmitt, Witzel, Eichner, Oettinger, Lühr, Tichy and Goto, without Ph.D. under him also Dunkel, von Hinüber, Insler, JamaspAsa, Kellens, Klein, Rix, Rolland, R. Schmitt, Strunk, and others.
Publications: Diss. Die alt-indoarischen Wörter mit -ṇḍ-, besonders im Ṛgveda. Manuscript, Munich 1941, summary in Idg. Jb. 30, 1942, 142f.
– Abriss der Hindūstānī-Sprachlehre und deutsch-indisches Wörterverzeichnis. Hagenau, Elsass 1944.
– “Textkritisches zum Jaiminīya-Brāhmaṇa”, IIJ 4, 1960, 1-36; “Die Komposition eines Brāhmaṇa-Abschnittes (MS. I 10, 14-16)”, Mélanges Renou 1968, 367-380.
– “Materialien zum altindischen Verbum”, KZ 79, 1965, 171-191 & 83, 1969, 193-215; “Das Kategoriensystem des indogermanischen Verbums”, MSS 28, 1970, 19-41.
– Hab.diss. rev. as Der Injunktiv im Veda. Synchronische Funktionsuntersuchung. 298 p. Idg. Bibl. Heidelberg 1967.
– Numerous further articles in ZDMG, IIJ, KZ, MSS, Die Sprache, etc., collected in: Aufsätze zur Indoiranistik. Hrsg. von J. Narten. 1-2. 708 p. Wb. 1975-76; 3. Wb. 1992 (1-3, 8+917 p.).
– With J. Narten: Der Sasanidische Archetypus. Untersuchungen zu Schreibung und Lautgestalt des Avestischen. 96 p. Heidelberg 1989.
– With B. Forssman: Avestische Laut- und Flexionslehre. 330 p. Innsbr. Beitr. zur Sprachw. 84. Innsbruck 1996.
Sources: *H. Eichner, Almanach Ö.A.W. 1999, 483-492; *B. Forssman, Kratylos 42, 1997, 214-218; J. Narten, Encyclop. Iranica 12:4, 2004, 420-423; *K. Strunk, Jahrbuch Ba.A.W. 1996, 238-243; M. Witzel, IIJ 40, 1997, 245-253; D.G.K. 1992; Bio-bibliogr. Acta Iran. 20, 1979, 260-262; Festgabe für Karl Hoffmann. 1-3 Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft. M. 1985; Wikipedia with photo (from Aufsätze 1, 1975, also in TITUS Galeria).
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