VERNER, Karl

VERNER, Karl Adolph. Aarhus 7.3.1846 — Copenhagen 5.11.1896. Danish Linguist and Phonetician. Professor in Copenhagen. Son of a German artisan and his Danish wife. Studied Classics, Germanic and Slavic languagesat Copenhagen, also Sanskrit under Westergaard. Mag. 1873. Further studies at St.Petersburg and Moscow in 1871-75. Librarian at Halle University in 1876-82. From 1882 Docent and 1888 eo. Professor of Slavic at Copenhagen. He had often health problems and died early in paralysis. Unmarried.

In comparative linguistics his name is well known because of the “Verner’s Law’about the role of IE accent in the development of Germanic consonants, found by him. He was a younger friend of Thomsen, who made him to publish it in 1877. He was reticent character, who avoided society and remained reluctant to publish his ideas. Nevertheless, in Germany he eagerly participated the weekly “kneipabend” of the Neogrammarians (who then were young grammarians, indeed). Hon. Ph.D. 1887 Heidelberg.

Publications: “Eine Ausnahme der ersten Lautverschiebung”, KZ 23, 1877, 97-130; “Zur Ablautsfrage”, KZ 23, 1877, 131-138.

Wrote very little, Schröder speaks of “seine ausgesprochene Abneigung gegen das Publiciren”.

Afhandlinger og breve udg. af Selskab for germansk filologi med en biografi ved Marius Vibæk. Copenhagen 1903 (contains all his printed writings and a number of letters).

Sources: Hovdhaugen et al. 2000, 168f. (with photo), 277; O. Jespersen, Danish account in *Tilskueren Jan. 1897, transl. in *Selected Writings of Otto Jespersen. L. n.d., 805-816 (republ. in Sebeok 1966:1, 538-548); Pauly, Køb. Univ. 8, 1992, 538; E. Schröder, A.D.B. 55, 1910, 326-330; *V. Thomsen, Nord tidskr. f. filol. 3:5, 187-202; Wikipedia with photo; photo from NTS in Pedersen 1959, 283.

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