TROMBETTI, Alfredo. Bologna 6/16.1.1866 — Venice 5.7.1929. Italian Linguist, Polyglot and Orientalist. Of modest origin, son of elder A.Tr., a textile worker, and Viola Mingozzi. He learned goldsmith’s work, but when his talents were noted, the town Bologna paid for his school from 1883 on. Studies at Bologna, “laureato in lettere” 1891. From 1904 ord. Professor of Semitic Philology at Bologna, from 1912 Professor of Glottology there. Married Virginia Patelli, several children.
Trombetti was known of masterly studies of some individual languages, but also of bold hypotheses on linguistics affinity, of Nostratic and even of monogenesis of languages. He had no special interest in India, but had heated controversy with his Indological critics (Formichi and Pavolini, see his Come si fa la critica di un libro. Bologna 1907). For non-Indo-Aryan languages of India he postulated two families, Dravida-Australiani (including Nubian and Elamitic) and Munda-Polynesiaco..
Publications: See Gli studi orientali 179 & 201.
– Indogermanische und semitische Forschungen. 7+76 p. Bologna 1897.
– L’unità d’origine del linguaggio. 8+222 p. Bologna 1905; Saggi di glottologia generale comparata. 1-3. Bologna 1908-20; Elementi di glottologia. 315 p. Bologna 1922.
– Le lingue degli ottentotti e la lingua dei Wa-Sandawi. Bologna 1910.
– Le origini della lingua basca. 163 p. Bologna 1925; La lingua etrusca. 13+237 p. Florence 1928.
Sources: Gli studi orientali in Italia 1861–1911; *A. Ballini, A.Tr. 1866-1929. 62 p. 1930; T. De Mauro, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 934 (with further references); Franci 1991, 207-209; Wikipedia with photo (more in German, another photo in Italian version).
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