TRUBETZKOY, Prince Nikolai Sergeyevich

TRUBETZKOY, Prince Nikolai Sergeyevich (Russian Knjaz Nikolaj Sergeevič Trubeckoj). Moscow 4(16).4.1890 — Vienna 25.6.1938. Russian Phonetician, Slavic and IE Lin­guist. Son of Sergej Tr. (1862–1905),a Professor of philosophy and Rector of Moscow University, of high nobility. Educated at home, became early interested in ethnology. Linguistics came as a help for ethnology, but soon took over. Started early (1905) writing studies on Fenno-Ugric ethnology. In 1908-12 studied comparative linguistics, etc. at Moscow (under Porzeziński). Ph.D. (Kand.?) 1913. Further studies of Sanskrit and comparative linguistics at Leipzig under Windisch, Sievers, Leskien and Brugman. From 1915 Docent of Sanskrit and comparative linguistics at Moscow University. In the time of revolution he was on a field trip in the Caucasus and was then in 1918-20 Professor of Slavic at Rostov-on-Don (under Denikin’s governement). In 1919 he escaped with his wife to Constantinople, but lost all his papers. In 1920-22 Professor of Comparative linguistics at Sofia, from 1922 Professor of Slavic, from 1923 also Head of Department (succeeding Jagićand on his recommendation) at Vienna. Member of Austrian Academy 1930. Married, children.

As Docent Trubetzkoy taught Sanskrit, but soon turned to Slavic. He was famous of his phonological theory and an early proponent of areal linguistics. His long time interest was the reconstruction of the development from IE to Proto-Slavic and from this to modern languages. In the late 1920s he turned to phonology and the Prague school. Sharply cricicized Nazis.

Publications: Wrote much on Slavic, also on Fenno-Ugrian and Caucasian languages.

Grundzüge der Phonologie. Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague 7. Prague 1939.

Sources: A. Vaillant, Revue des études slaves 19, 1939, 200-202; R. Jakobson, *Acta Linguistica 1, 1939, 64-76 (republ. in Sebeok 1966:2, 526-542); R. Lewicki, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 934-936; *U. Maas, Verfolgung und Auswanderung deutschsprachiger Sprachforscher 1933-1945 (online); Wikipedia with photo.

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