POTT, August Friedrich

POTT, August Friedrich. Nettelrede (now Nesselröden) near Hannover 14.11.1802 (or 14.9.) — Halle 5/6.7.1887. German IE Scholar. Professor in Halle. Son of a minister, he lost early his father and at nine also his mother. Grown in a minister’s home he attended lyceum in Hannover. In 1821-25 he studied at Göttingen, first theology, soon also philology (under K. O. Müller, also Arabic under T. C. Tychsen). In 1825-27 school­teacher at Gymnasium of Celle, writing his dissertation. Ph.D. 1827 Göttingen. After further studies at Berlin under Bopp and W. v. Humboldt he taught 1830-33 as PD at Berlin. From 1833 ao. and from 1838 ord. Professor der allgemeine Sprach­wissen­schaft at Halle, where he taught until his death (and was then succeeded by Pischel). Married 1840 Elise Ebeling, apparently no children.

Pott was one of the pioneers of comparative IE linguistics and founder of the scientific etymology. As a true disciple of Bopp he could not understand the Neogrammarians of his later days. He was also the great pioneer of Gipsy linguistics and the first to show that they have a real language instead of a mere slang of vagabonds. His further interests included Celtic. In addition to languages, he was also interested in mythology and ethnology. His style was often confused and meandering. In the 1830s and 1840s he was active in politics as anti-Prussian democrat. He was among the founders of D.M.G.

As a scholar Pott was many-sided and learned, but his abilities as a teacher were not much praised. In addition to comparative linguistics and Sanskrit he also lectured on classical authors (Theocritus, Catullus, Persius, Iuvenalis; Herodotus), from 1833 also Egyptian hieroglyphs and from 1846 Chinese, both until his death. In his Sanskrit teaching he only dealt with easy texts. Among his students were G. v. d. Gabelentz, Delbrück, Ebel, Förstemann, Blau and Theoph. Hahn, but no one completed his doctorate under Pott or habilitated at Halle.

Publications: De relationibus, quae prepositionibus in linguis denotantur. 73 p. Celle 1827.

Die etymologischen Forschungen auf dem Gebiete der indogermanischen Sprachen. 1-2. Lemgo 1833-36, 2nd ed. 1-6. Detmold 1859-76.

– “Kurdische Studien III. Naturgeschichtliches aus der Kurdischen und anderen Sprachen Westasiens”, ZKM 4, 1842, 1-42 & 259-280 (also ZKM 3, 5 & 7, partly with E. Rödiger, and in ZWissSpr 2:2, 1848).

Die Zigeuner in Europa und Asien, ethnologisch-linguistische Untersuchung vornehmlich ihrer Herkunft und Sprache nach gedruckten und ungedruckten Quellen. 1-2. 16+476, 4+540 p. Lp. 1844-45; articles on gipsy in Hoefers Z. 1, 1845; ZDMG 1849, 1853, 1857, 1870

– “Indogermanische Sprachstamm”, Ersch & Gruber, Enzyklopädie 184?.

Die Personennamen, insbesondere die Familiennamen und ihre Entstehungsarten, auch unter Berücksichtigung der Ortsnamen16+721 p. Lp. 1853; “Ueber altpersische Eigennamen”, ZDMG 13, 1859, 359-444.

Series of etymological articles on animal names and related topics in Beitr. z. vgl. Sprachforschung 2, 1861, 38-63, 195-216, 265-282, 401-403 and 3, 1863, 68-98, 289-326.

Doppelung (Reduplication, Gemination) als eines der wichtigsten Bildungsmittel der Sprache. 6+304 p. Halle 1862; Anti-Kaulen oder mythologische Vorstellungen von Ursprache der Völker und Sprachen. 25+298 p. Lemgo 1863; articles on general linguistics in ZDMG 1848, 1852, 1855, 1858, etc.

Wilhelm von Humboldt und die Sprachwissenschaft. 421 p. B. 1876; “Latein und griechisch in einigen ihren wichtigsten lautunterschieden”, KZ 26, 1883, 113-242.

Sources: G. v. d. Gabelentz, A.D.B. 26, 1888, 478-485 (republ. in Sebeok 1966:1, 251-261); *P. Horn, BB 13, 1888, 317-341; *J. Leopold, The Letter Liveth: The life, work and library of August Friedrich Pott (1802-87). Amsterdam – Philadelphia 1983; J. Mehlig, WZHalle 7:4, 1958, 891-893; *Max Müller, Biogr. Essay. 2nd ed. (= Chips 2) 1895, 486-490; F. Plank, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 749f.; *v. Prantl, SBaAW 1888:1, 248-255; R. Schmitt, N.D.B. 20, 2001, 659f.; Stache-Rosen 1990, 20f.; *Encyclop. of Lang. & Ling.; briefly Wikipedia with photo (more details in German version); photo also in Rau 11; another photo in Pedersen 1959, 263.

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