ŞĂINEANU, Lazăr (Lazare Sainéan, originally Eliezer Schein). Ploieşti 23.4.1859 — Paris 11.5.1934. Romanian Romance Linguist, also interested in IE and Sanskrit. Born in a modest Jewish family, son of Moisi Schein, house painter and amateur artist. Studies at Bucureşti under Haşdeu, Georgian et al., further studies in Paris under Gaston Paris, Bréal and Bergaigne, then at Leipzig (Brugmann and Leskien). M.A. 1887 Bucureşti, Ph.D. 1889 Leipzig (diss. on folklore). In 1890-92, acting for Haşdeu, taught at Bucureşti University, but antisemitic legislation barred his advance and he had to teach Latin at high school. He fought vainly to obtain naturalization as a citizen and finally he lost even his post as teacher. To help his naturalization he renounced Judaism and became Orthodox Christian, but it did not help. Disappointed, he moved in 1901 to France, where he lived as linguistic author in Paris, now concentrating on Romanics. Married, one daughter.
Şăineanu knew Sanskrit well, but rarely used it in his publications, which mainly dealt with Romanian literature and folklore and Oriental influences in them, later mainly Romance linguistics. Also worked on Yiddish.
Publications: Basmele Rominilor în comparațiune cu legendele antice clasice. 1114 p. Bucharest 1895 (Romanian Tales compared with classical, some also compared with Indian).
– Influenţa orientală asupra limbii şi culturii române. 1-2. Bucharest 1900; other works on Romanian.
– “Les rites de la construction dans l’Europe orientale”, RHR 45, 1902, 359-396.
– La langue de Rabelais. 1-2. P. 1923; Les sources indigènes de l’etymologie française. 1-3. P. 1925-30; and other works.
Sources: Banateanu, Indo-Asian Cult. 7:3, 1959, 278 & Visva-Bh. Quart. 27, 1961-62, 246; Poghirc, 496; S. Stati, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 813; detailed account in Wikipedia with photo; not in Ionesco 1994.
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