AUSTERLITZ, Robert Paul

AUSTERLITZ, Robert Paul. Bucharest, Romania 13.12.1923 — N.Y. 9.9.1994. U.S. (born in Romania) Linguist and Uralic Scholar in U.S.A., wrote on Dravidian in the 1960s. Son of Austrian father and American mother (with Bohemian roots), grew up in Braşov, learned there German, Hungarian and Romanian. Came to U.S.A. in 1938, high school in New York, then at Washington Square College and after army service at Loyola College. Studies of Linguistics at Columbia University (B.A. and M.A. 1950, Ph.D. 1955). In 1951-53 further studies of Uralic at Helsinki and 1953-54 of Tungusic and Nivkh at Tokyo. Assistant Professor to Associate Professor 1958-65, from 1965 Professor of Linguistics and Uralic Studies at Columbia University. Retired 1992. Died of cancer. Married 1953 with Sylvi Nevanlinna (d. 1981), 2 children.

Austerlitz was a polyglot, who knew many Uralic, Altaic and Siberian languages, Japanese, Korean, Ainu, etc. Beside linguistics he was interested in folk poetry in various languages.

Publications: Mostly on Uralic (beginning with his diss. The metrical structure of Ob-Ugric folk poetry.), also on Altaic, Nivkh (Gilyak), folk poetry, metrics, the history of linguistics, etc.

– “Long-range comparisons of Tamil and Dravidian with other Language Families in Eurasia”, Asher (ed.), Proc. of the 2nd Intern. Conference Seminar of Tamil Studies 1972, 254-261.

Sources: D. Abondolo, Language 80, 2004, 142-152 with bibliography; Dir. Am. Scholars 8th ed. vol. 3, 1982; Wikipedia.

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