WACKERNAGEL, Jacob

WACKERNAGEL, Jacob. Basel 11.12.1853 — Basel 22.5.1938. Swiss IE Linguist, Greek and Sanskrit Scholar. Professor in Göttingen and Basel. Son of Wilhelm W. (1806–1868), a Germanist and poet, and Maria Salome Sarasin, brother of the Germanist Rudolf W. (1855–1928). Studies of Greek at Basel, then also Sanskrit and Comparative IE at Göttingen (Benfey) and Leipzig (E. Kuhn). Dr.phil. 1875 Basel. PD 1877 Basel. In 1879-1902 Professor of Greek at Basel (ord. 1881). In 1902-15 Professor of Comparative IE Linguistics at Göttingen and, leaving Germany for political reasons, in 1915-17 again Professor of Greek at Basel, then taught as emeritus there until 1937. In addition to Greek, he taught comparative IE at Basel in 1877-80, 1898-1902 and 1915-37. Honorary Dr. of Geneva and Lausanne. Married 1886 Maria Stehlin, two sons.

Wackernagel was as famous as a Greek as an IE scholar and the major part of his publications deal with Greek. His Indological main work is the monumental Altindische Grammatik, which remained unfinished, but was continued by Debrunner and others on the basis of the enormous material collections of Wackernagel. As a scholar he avoided daring generalizations and hypotheses; thus he was more interested in reconstructing the evolution of individual languages than the Ursprache. “Ein Sprachforscher philologischer Richtung” was his own definition of himself. He emphasized the importance of the philological study of texts in language studies. In Göttingen he collaborated with Andreas in Iranian studies. He was known as a severe and exacting teacher. Among his students were Debrunner and Lommel.

Publications: Diss. De pathologiae veterum initiis. 60 p. Basel 1876 (on Greek).

Über den Ursprung des Brahmanismus. Vortrag. 35 p. Basel 1877.

– “Die epische Zerdehnung”, BB 4, 1878, 259-312; “Miszellen zur griechischen Grammatik”, KZ 27-30, 1885-90 & 33, 1895; “Über ein Gesetz der idg. Wortstellung”, IF 1, 1892, 333-436.

– “Zur Frage nach der Glaubwürdigkeit Vararucis”, KZ 33, 1895, 575f.; “Remarques sur la place du sanscrit dans la linguistique moderne”, Actes du 10. CO Genève 1894, 1897, 90f.; “Prakritismen im Altindischen”, Album Kern 1903, 149-152; “Ai. avṛk”, KZ 40, 1907, 544-547; “Indisches und Italisches”, KZ 41, 1907, 307-319; “Zur Umschreibung der arischen Sprachen”, IF 22, 1907-08, 310-312; “Indo­iranica”, KZ 43, 1910, 277-298 & 46, 1914, 266-280; “Futurum historicum im Altpersischen”, Fs. V. Thomsen 1912, 134-137; “Zu den Verwandtschaftsnamen”, Fs. Andreas 1916, 1-9; “Mythologische Etymologien”, Fs. E. Kuhn 1916, 158-161; “Indoiranisches”, SBeAW 1918, 380-411.

Altindische Grammatik. 1. Lautlehre. 79+344 p. Göttingen 1896; 2:1. Einleitung zur Wortlehre, Nominal­komposition. 12+329 p. Gött. 1905; 3. Nominalflexion, Zahlwort, Pronomen 16+602 p. Gött. 1930 (with A. Debrunner).

With Andreas: “Die vierte Ghāthā des Zuraxthuštro”, NGGW 1911, 1-34; “Die erste, zweite und fünfte Ghāthā des Zuraxthuštro 1.”, NGGW 1913, 363-385 & “2. Anmerkungen”, NGGW 1931, 304–329.

Sprachliche Untersuchungen zu Homer. 264 p. Göttingen 1916; Vorlesungen über Syntax mit besonderer Berücksichtigung von Griechisch, Lateinisch und Deutsch. 1-2. 7+338 p. Basel 1920-24.

– “Kleine Beiträge zur indischen Wortkunde”, Festgabe Jacobi 1926, 1-17; “Altindische und mittelindische Miszellen”, BSOS 8, 1936, 823-834; “Indo­germanische Dichtersprache”, Philologus 95, 1943, 6.

– Many articles on Greek language and philology, on Sanskrit and comparative linguistics.

Kleine Schriften. 1-2. 1425 p. Göttingen 1955; 3. Hrsg. von B. Forssman. 26+478 p. Gött. 1979.

Sources: *Debrunner, Idg. Jb. 9, 1922-23, 264-269 & 23, 1939, 447-451, with bibliography & photo; H. Eichner & H. Rix (edd.), Sprachwissenschaft und Philologie: J.W. und die Indogermanistik heute. Wb. 1990 (with B. Schlerath, “J.W. und die idg. Sprachwiss.”, 10-32); Ellen, Schweizerisches Zeitgenossenlexikon. 2nd ed. c. 1932; *J. Lohmann, Bursians Jb. 1942, 57-70; Probst, bibliography in Festschrift J.W. 1923, 354-361; *L. Renou, JA 230, 1938, 279-286; *R. Schmitt, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 986f. & Encyclop. Iranica online ed. 2014 (with further references); E. Schwyzer, *Forsch. und Fortschr. 14, 1938, 227f. (republ. in Sebeok 1966:2, 52.-55); Stache-Rosen 1990, 123; Stache-Weiske 2017, 567; briefly D.B.E. 10, 1999, 269; Wikipedia (more in German version). Photos also Kleine Schriften 1 and Rau 65, further in Pedersen 1959, 21, A. Staehelin (ed.), Die Professoren der Univ. Basel. 1960 and E. Bonjour, Die Univ. Basel. 1960.

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