LESKIEN, Johann Heinrich August. Kiel 8.7.1840 — Leipzig 20.9.1916. German IE and Slavic Linguist. Professor in Leipzig. Son of August Wilhelm L., a master carpenter, and Magdalena Schmidt. With his modest background he could only enter the Gymnasium in Kiel in the age of 16, but then proceeded rapidly. In 1860 began classical studies at Kiel University (G. Curtius), then moved to Leipzig, where he learned many other languages, too. Ph.D. 1864. In 1864-66 taught at Thomasgymnasium in Leipzig and studied IE linguistics under Schleicher at Jena. Now he became particularly interested in Baltic and Slavic. From 1867 PD für vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft at Göttingen, in 1869 succeeded Schleicher as ao. Professor für vergl. Sprachwissenschaft und Sanskrit at Jena, but remained there very short time. From 1870 ao. and from 1876 until his death ord. Professor für slavische Philologie at Leipzig, being the first professor of Slavistics in Germany. He was also among chief editors of the Ersch & Gruber Encyclopedia (1882ff.) and of the 14th edition of the Brockhaus Encyclopedia (1891ff.). Married 1871 Marie Elisabeth Judeich, three sons and three daughters (Gertrud married —> Streitberg).
Leskien was a famous teacher and one of the founders of the Neogrammarian school. In his research he mainly dealt with Baltic and Slavic, in his late years also with Albanian. In Jena and Leipzig he was a close friend of Böhtlingk.
Publications: Diss. Rationem quam I. Bekker in restituendo digammo secutus est, examinavit. 53 p. Lipsiae 1866.
– Die Deklination im Slavisch-Litauischen und Germanischen. 29+158 p. Lp. 1876.
– Handbuch der altbulgarischen Sprache. 6+245 p. Idg. Bibl. Heidelberg 1871, rev. 2nd ed. 1886, 6th ed. 1922; Grammatik der altbulgarischen (altkirchenslavischen) Sprache. Heidelberg 1909, 2nd ed. 52+260 p. Idg. Bibl. Heid. 1919, and many editions.
– Grammatik der Serbokroatischen Sprache. 1. 46+588 p. Heidelberg 1914.
– Balkanmärchen. 1915 (transl.); Litauisches Lesebuch.20+312 p. Idg. Bibl. Heidelberg 1919.
– Articles in Archiv für slav. Philologie, Ber. Verh. Sächs. Ges. Wiss., IF, etc.; Slavische und baltische Forschungen: sämtl. Leipziger Akademieschriften 1875-1911. 1-2. Opuscula 7. Lp. 1975.
Sources: K. Brugmann, Ber. Verh. Sächs. Ges. Wiss. 68, 1916, 16*-30*; *E. Eichler, Z. f. Slawistik 26, 1981, 168-191; *R. Hammol, Lex. gramm. 1996, 565-567; *V. Jagić, Archiv f. slav. Philol. 37, 1918/20, 270–280; H.D. Pohl, N.D.B. 14, 1985, 329f.; Stache-Weiske 2017, 257-259, 307, 540; *W. Streitberg, Idg. Jb. 1, 1913, 216-218 (with photo) and 7, 1919, 138-143; briefly D.B.E. 6, 1997, 342; Wikipedia with photo; photo from IJ also in Pedersen 1959, 51.
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