OSTHOFF, Hermann

OSTHOFF, Caspar Carl Heinrich Gottfried Emil Franz Hermann. Billmerich, Westf. 18.4.1847 — Heidelberg 7.5.1907. German IE Scholar. Professor in Heidelberg. Son of Franz O., an estate owner, and Lisette Theodore Birnberg. Gymnasium in Gütersloh. Studies of Classics and Sanskrit at Bonn (Gildemeister), then at Tübingen (Roth) and Berlin (Weber). Ph.D. 1869 Bonn (under H. Usener). In 1872-74 schoolteacher at gymnasium in Kassel, then preparing his habilitation in Leipzig. PD 1875 Leipzig. From 1877 Professor für vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft und Sanskrit (first ao., still in the same year ord.) at Heidelberg, from 1887 also Direktor des Germanisch-romanischen Seminars. Married with Henriette Schölling (1858–1876) and 1878 with Emilie Weeren (1857–19??), one son, two daughters.

In Leipzig Osthoff had adopted Neogrammarian ideas from Leskienand soon became one of the main proponents of this school. His main scholarly work dealt with phonology and morphology of Greek and Latinand their IE background. He taught regularly Sanskrit. He reconstructed the syllabic r for IE “Ursprache”. He was very careful with details and tried to include every possible aspect of the problem discussed. He was close friend of Brugmann. In field he studied Armenian (from Mechitarists in Venice 1882 and 1883), Welsh (in North Wales 1905) and Irish (in Aran Mor 1907). Among his students was Güntert.

Publications: Diss. Quaestiones mythologische. 43 p. Bonn 1869; hab.diss. part 1 of Forschungen im Gebiete des indogermanischen Stammbildung. 1-2. Jena 1875-76.

Das Verbum in der Nominalkomposition im Deutschen, Griechischen, Slavischen und Romanischen. 16+372 p. Jena 1878.

– With K. Brugmann, Morphologische Untersuchungen. 1-5. Lp. 1878-90 (by O. esp. 4. Die Tiefstufe im idg. Vocalismus. 406 p. Lp. 1881).

Zur Geschichte des Perfekts im Indogermanischen. 8+653 p. Strassburg 1884.

– “Allerhaft zauber etymologisch beleuchtet”, BB 24, 1899, 109-173 & 177-213.

Vom Suppletivwesen der indogermanischen Sprachen. 104 p. Heidelberg 1899.

Etymologische Parerga. 1. 7+378 p. Lp. 1901.

– Other works and articles.

Sources: K. Brugmann, *IF 24, 1909, 218-223 (republ. in Sebeok 1966:1, 555-562); D. Drüll, Heidelberger Gelehrtenlexikon 1803–1932. H. 1986; *JA 10:14, 1909; *P. Meyer, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 683; R. Schmitt, N.D.B. 19, 1999, 627f.; *W. Streitberg, Germanisch-Romanische Monatsschrift 7, 1909; briefly Wikipedia with photo.

*E. Einhauser (ed.): Lieber freund … – die Briefe Hermann Osthoffs an Karl Brugmann, 1875–1904. Trier 1992.

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