RAMSTEDT, Gustaf John

RAMSTEDT, Gustaf John. Tammisaari 22.10.1873 — Helsinki 25.11.1950. Finnish Altaic Scholar. Studies of classics, Sanskrit (under Donner and Reuter) and Finno-Ugrian at Helsinki. M.A. 1898, Lic. phil. (Ph.D.) 1902, Docent of Altaic Linguistics 1906. School-Teacher in Lahti 1902-09. Professor (eo. for Altaic Linguistics, 1917-41) at Helsinki University, where for a while he also taught Sanskrit. In the beginning of the century several travels of exploration to Mongolia and Central Asia. In the 1920s Finnish ambassador in Tokyo (1919-29), also visited China and Korea. Married.

Ramstedt was a famous specialist of Mongolian and comparative Altaic, a pioneer spoken Mongolian (Khalkha) and Korean studies, who founded a school in Finland and elsewhere. He was also an esperantist. Among his students were M. Räsänen, A. J. Joki and —> P. Aalto.

Publications: Several important monographs on Khalkha (diss. Über die konjugation des Khalkha-mongolischen. 15+119 p. MSFOu 19. Helsinki 1902; Das schriftmongolische und die Urgamundart. JSFOu 21:2, 1903, 56 p.), on Oirat (Kalmückische Sprachproben. 154 p. MSFOu 27:1. Helsinki 1909-1919; Kalmückisches Wörterbuch. 30+560 p. Lexica SFU 3. H. 1935), on Moghol (“Mogholica. Beiträge zur kenntnis der moghol-sprache in Afghanistan”, JSFOu 23:4, 1906, 60 p.), on general Altaic, and on Korean (Korean Grammar. 4+199 p. MSFOu 82. Helsinki 1939), nothing on Indology (a translation of Harṣa’s Ratnāvalī extant as a manuscript in Helsinki University Library). A number of posthumous works and papers have been edited by P. Aalto and H. Halén.

Edited by H. Halén: Nordmongolische Volksdichtung. Gesammelt von G. J. Ramstedt, bearbeitet, übersetzt und hrsg. von H. Halén. 1-2. 287+322 p. MSFOu 153 & 156. Helsinki 1973-74.

Sources: TP 41, 1952; P. Aalto, FUF 30, 1949–50, 37–40; A.J. Joki, Virittäjä 54, 1950, 445–448, 481; P. Poucha, ArO 19, 1951, 617–624; Y.H. Toivonen, JSFOu 55:1, 1951, 1–21; Wikipedia with photo.

H. Halén, Biliktu Bakshi, the knowledgeable Teacher. G. J. Ramstedt’s Career as a Scholar. MSFOu 229. Helsinki 1998.

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