WEISGERBER, Johann Leo. Metz 25.2.1899 — Bonn 8.8.1985. German (of Lorraine) Linguist and Celtologist. Son of a village teacher, Nikolaus Ludwig W., and Maria Müller, educated in Metz. Participated in WW I in German army, then studies at Bonn. Ph.D. 1923 Bonn (in Celtology under Thurneysen). PD 1925 Bonn. Professor of General Linguistics at Rostock (1927), Marburg (1938) and Bonn (1942-67). As a catholic he had conflict with Nazis in the 1930s, but during the war collaborated working in propaganda in France (with his Pan-Celtic ideas he directed Radio Rennes Bretagne). Also his writings in 1933-45 reveal racist ideas. He was not a member of NSDAP.

As a linguist Weisgerber left traditional diachronic viewpoint and presented synchronic approach. In the after-war times his “energetische Sprachwissenschaft” was very influential in Germany, but he was critical towards the modern linguistics of the 1960s. For Indology his work is hardly important.

Publications: Sprache als gesellschaftliche Erkenntnisform. Manuscript 1925, publ. 224 p. Schriften der Brüder-Grimm-Gesellschaft N.F. 34. Kassel 2008.

– “Die Stellung der Sprache im Aufbau der Gesamtkultur”, W & S 15, 1933, 134-224 & 16, 1934, 97-236.

Die Entdeckung der Muttersprache im europäischen Denken. 152 p. Lüneburg 1948Von den Kräften der deutschen Sprache. 1-4. 49+231+265+256 p. Düsseldorf 1949-50; much on linguistics and German.

Sources: *H. Gipper, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 1004f.; Wikipedia with photo (also German version, with further references).

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