POKORNY, Julius. Prague 12.6.1887 — Zürich 8.4.1970. Austrian (Bohemian) IE and Celtic Scholar in Swizerland. Professor in Berlin and Zürich. Son of Samuel Christian P. and Margarete Riegner. Educated in Prague and Kremsmünster. Studies of law (degree 1910), philology and linguistics at Vienna, student of Kretschmer. Ph.D. 1912 (diss. on Old Irish). In 1914-20 PD of Celtic Philology at Vienna, in 1918-20 also of English. In 1920-28 beamtl. ao. Professor and 1928-35 Professor of Celtology at Berlin. Dismissed because of Jewish grandparents (himself he was Roman Catholic) he moved to Switzerland in 1943. From 1944 Docent at Bern and Zürich (habilitation 1953), later also at Fribourg. Retired 1959 but continued teaching. From 1955 also Hon. Professor of Celtic at Munich. Hon. Ph.D. Dublin (1925), Swansea (1965) and Edinburgh (1966). He was married (or not, says Breen).

Pokorny was mainly a scholar of Celtic (a noted specialist of Old Irish), but also the author of the much used comparative IE dictionary (based on Walde’s earlier work). He also advocated the strong position of Illyrians in early history and found Illyrian elements even in the British Isles. He strongly supported Irish nationalist movement.

Publications: Much on Celtology, e.g. “Keltologie”, Wissenschaftliche Forschungsberichte: Geisteswissenschaftliche Reihe 2. Bern 1953, 95-186, 194-199  (publ. together with Pisani’s account of general and IE linguistics), also on IE.

– “Die Flexion der ā-Stämme im Indoiranischen und Armenischen”, KZ 46, 1914, 287-292.

Edited A. Walde’s Vergl. Wörterbuch der indogermanischen Sprachen. 1-3. B. & Lp. 1927-32.

Indogermanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch. 1-2. 1187 p. Bern 1959-69 (fasc. 1 in 1948).

Sources: A. Breen, D.I.B. 2009 (online); P. Meyer, Lex. gramm. 1996, 739f.; R. Schmitt, N.D.B. 20, 2001, 593; *H. Wagner, Z. f. celt. Philol. 32, 1972, 313-319; D.G.K. 1950, 1954, 1961; briefly D.B.E. 8, 1998, 22; Wikipedia.

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