PENZL, Herbert

PENZL, Herbert. Neufelden, Oberösterreich 2.9.1910 — Oakland 1.9.1995. Austrian Linguist in the U.S.A., naturalised 1944. Professor in Berkeley. After gymnasium in Ottakring (Vienna) studied English philology at Vienna. With a scholarship (recommended by S. Freud) went to the U.S.A. and was in 1932-34 Editorial Assistant in the Linguistic Atlas of the U.S.A. and Canada at Brown University. Ph.D. 1936 Vienna, then returned to the U.S.A. In 1936-38 Assistant Professor of German at Rockford College, Illinois. In 1938-39 Associate and 1939-49 Professor of German at University of Illinois. During the war served 1943-45 in U.S. Army. In 1950-53 Associate and 1953-63 full Professor at Uni­ver­sity of Michigan. From 1963 Professor of German Philology at University of California in Berkeley. Retired in 19??. In 1958-59 Visiting Professor at Kabul, 1980 at Vienna and 1981 at Regensburg. Hon. Ph.D. 1986 Vienna. Died of cancer. Married 1950 Vera Rothmüller.

After the war Penzl met Afghan students and in 1948-49 carried out linguistic fieldwork on Pashto in Kandahar area. From a start as an European philologist he had turned into a structuralist, without forgetting historical and literary aspect. As a Germanist he was the first to record the German dialect of the Mennonites.

Publications: A Grammar of Pashto. A descriptive study of the dialect of Kandahar, Afghanistan. 6+170 p. Washington D.C. 1955; A Reader of Pashto. 273 p. Ann Arbor 1962, 2nd ed. 1965; articles on Pashto in ZDMG 1952 and JAOS 1951, 1954, 1961 and Shahidullah Presentation Volume 1966, reviews.

Much on German and English linguistics (altogether he published about 250 research articles).

Sources: *R.L. Kyes, Am. Journal of Germanic Ling. 7, 1995, 247-249; U. Maas in “Verfolgung und Auswanderung deutschsprachiger Sprachforscher 1933-1945” (; Dir. of Am. Sch. 8th ed. 3; obituary on Berkeley Univ. homepage; Wikipedia.

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