BOPP, Franz

BOPP, Franz. Mainz 14.9.1791 — Berlin 23.10.1867. German Indologist and Lin­guist. Professor in Berlin. Born in a Roman Catholic family, son of a civil servant, Andreas Bopp, and Regina Lincker. Grew up in Aschaffenburg, where he had K. Windischmann as his teacher at the local Gym­nasium, then at the short-lived (1808-14) Aschaffenburg University. Windischmann, Fr. Schlegel, and Herder aroused his interest in Asia, much in the spirit of Romanticism, but without its “Schwärmerei”. In 1812 he went to Paris, where he studied Arabic and Persian under Silvestre de Sacy, Langlès and Chézy, and soon also Sanskrit delving independently into Sanskrit manuscripts of Imperial Library. Soon he wrote his Conjugationssystem, where he stated in 1816 the principles of comparative linguistics. Financed by Bavarian State he went to London in 1817 in order to study Indian manuscripts, and met there W. von Humboldt, Colebrooke, A. Hamilton, and Wilkins. In 1819 published the Nala episode as the first useful school text in Sanskrit, on the basis of six manuscripts in London and Paris.

Back in Germany in 1818 he vainly sought for a professorship in Bavaria. In 1820 he studied Arabic at Göttingen. In 1821 W. v. Humboldt arranged for him an ao. chair at Berlin University (Professor für orientalische Literatur und allgemeine Sprachwissen­schaft). 1820 or 1821 honorary Ph.D. at Göttingen, 1822 member of the Prussian A.W. From 1825 until his death ord. Professor at Berlin (then succeeded by Weber), in 1864 gave up teaching because of an illness. Married 1825 Luise Matthies, four children.

Bopp was the famous pioneer of comparative linguistics. Rask began before him, but Bopp included Sanskrit and his influence was much more far-reaching. While he founded the methods of comparative study, he was not as good as a philologist and was therefore severely criticized by Schlegel and Lassen. He was not really interested in Indian civilization, only in its language. He wrote the first Sanskrit grammar in German and edited several samples of the still unpublished Mahābhārata. As early as 1820 he suggested that Sanskrit a would be derived from IE a, e, o, but the idea was forgotten for a long time. In his later works he tried to extend the IE contact too far, e.g. in Georgian and even in Malayo-Polynesian. Among his many students F. Benary, Johaentgen, A. Kuhn, Lenz, Pertsch, Rosen, Siecke, Stenzler, W. Storck and Wollheim da Fonseca made their doctorate under him, among others were e.g. Arendt, A. Benary, Bréal and L. Poley.

Publications: Ueber das Conjugationssystem der Sanskritsprache in Vergleichung mit jenem der griechischen, lateinischen, persischen und germanischen. Nebst Episoden des Ramajan und Mahabharat. 46+310 p. Frankfurt a.M. 1816; much rev. translation of the first part “The Analytical comparison of the Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, and Teutonic Languages” in Annals of Oriental Literature 1820, rev. 2nd ed. 1845, new ed. with introd. 38+68 p. Amst. Classics in Linguistics 3. 1974, this again to German as “Analytische Vergleichung des Sanskrit…”, Neues Archiv für Philologie und Pädagogik 2:3, 1827, 1-30.

Nalus, carmen samscritum e Mahabharato. 216 p. L. 1819 (edition and Latin translation); rev. 2nd ed. Nalus Maha-bharati Episodium. 239 p. B. 1832; Nalas und Damajanti. Eine indische Dichtung aus dem Sanskrit übersetzt. 12+275 p. B. 1838.

Edited and transl.: Indralokágamanam. Ardschunas Reise zu Indras Himmel nebst anderen Episoden des Mahabharata. 28+78+122 p. B. 1824; Diluvium cum tribus aliis Mahá-bhárati praestantissimis episodiis. 124 p. B. 1829 (edition), & Die Sündflut nebst drei andern der wichtigsten Episoden des Mahabharata. 28+163 p. B. 1829 (transl.).

Glossarium Sanscritum. 216 p. B. 1830; enl. & rev. ed. Glossarium Sanscritum. in quo omnes radices et vocabula usitatissima explicantur et cum vocabulis Graecis, Latinis, Germanicis, Lithuanicis, Slavicis, Celticis comparantur. 1840-47, 3rd ed. 1867; Ausführliche Lehrgebäude der Samskrita-Sprache. 15+360 p. B. 1827 (first fasc. 1824); 2nd ed. in Latin as Grammatica critica linguae sanscritae. 14+335 p. B. 1832 (first fasc. 1829); Kritische Grammatik der Sanskrita-Sprache in kürzerer Fassung. 12+380 p. B. 1834, 2nd ed. 1845, 3rd ed. 1863, 4th ed. by E. Siecke, B. 1868.

Vergleichende Zergliederung des Sanskrits und der mit ihm verwandten Sprachen: “Von den Wurzeln und Pronomen erster und zweiter Person”, ABeAW 1824, 117-148; “Über das Reflexiv”, ABeAW 1825, 191-200; “Über das Demonstrativum und den Ursprung”, ABeAW 1826, 65-102; “Über einige Demonstrativstämme und ihren Zusammenhang mit verschiedenen Präpositionen und Conjunctionen”, ABeAW 1829, 27-47; “Über den Einfluss der Pronomina auf die Wortbildung”, ABeAW 1831, 1-28.

Vergleichende Grammatik des Sanskrit, Zend, Griechischen, Lateinischen, Altslawischen, Litauischen, Gotischen und Deutschen. 1-6. 1512 p. B. 1833-52; 2nd ed. 1-3. 1857-61; French by Bréal P. 1866; English by E. B. Eastwick: A comparative grammar of the Sanscrit, Zend, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Gothic, German, and Slavonic languages. 1-2. 1462 p. L. 1845-53.

– “Über die Zahlwörter”, ABeAW 1833, 163-180; “Die Celtischen Sprachen in ihren Verhältnisse zum Sanskrit, Zend, Griechischen, Lateinischen, Germanischen, Litthauischen und Slawischen”, 88 p. ABeAW(?) 1838; “Über die Verwandschaft der malayisch-polynesischen Sprachen mit den indisch-europäischen”, 164 p. ABeAW 1840; review of v. Humboldt’s Kawi-Sprache, Jb. für wiss. Kritik 1840:1, 697-741; “Über das Georgische in sprachverwandtschaftlicher Beziehung”, ABeAW 1846, 259-339; Die kaukasischen Glieder des indoeuropäischen Sprachstammes. 83 p. B. 1847; “Über die Sprache der alten Preussen”, ABeAW 1853, 77-131; “Über das Albanische in seinen verwandschiftlichen Beziehungen”, ABeAW 1854, 459-549; several studies on Armenian in ABeAW 1856ff.

Vergleichende Accentuationssystem des Sanskrit und Griechischen. 304 p. B. 1854.

Kleine Schriften zur vergleichenden Sprachwissenschaft. Gesammelte Berliner Akademieabhandlungen 1924–1854. 8+668 p. Opuscula 5. Lp. 1972.

Sources: *Benfey 1869, 370-379, 382-405, 470-515; *M. Bréal, introduction (57 pp.) to his transl. of Bopp’s Comparative Grammar, P. 1866; *K. Brugmann & W. Streitberg, “Zu F.B.’s hundertjährigem Geburtstage”, IF 1, 1892, vff.; *H. Ewald, NGGW 1867, 550f.; Falk (2–4) and Sengupta (11–28) in Framke et al. 2014; Gosche, Wiss. Jb zu ZDMG für 1862–67, 24-27; *J.-D. Guigniaut, MAIBL 29:1, 1877, 201-224 and *CRAI 13, 1869, 234-245; *Hoffmann 1915, 95-98; *A. Kuhn, Unsere Zeit N.F. 6:1, 1868, 780-789; *A. Kuhn & A. Schleicher, KZ 17, 1868, 156-160 & *Beitr. z. vgl. Sprachw. 5, 1868, 479-483; *S. Lefmann, “Ein Brief von F.B.”, ZVS 41, 1907, 205-207; A. Leskien, A.D.B. 3, 1876, 140-149 (republ. in Sebeok 1966:1, 207-221); G. Neumann, Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft 1816 und 1966. Innsbr. Beitr. zur Kulturwiss. Sonderheft 24. Insbruck 1967, 5-20; *P. Schmitter, Lex. gramm. 1996, 120f.;Sengupta 1996, 61-66; *Stache-Rosen 1990, 13f.; P.A. Verburg, “The Background to the Linguistic Conceptions of FB”, *Lingua 2, 1950, 438-468 (republ. in Sebeok 1966:1, 221-250); Windisch 67-73; W. Wüst, N.D.B. 2, 1955, 453f.

*S. Lefmann, Franz Bopp, sein Leben und seine Wissenschaft. 1-3, 1891-97 (with a selection of letters); *R. Sternemann, Franz Bopp und die vgl. indo-europäische Sprach­wissenschaft. Innsbr. Beitr. z. Sprachw., Vorträge und kleinere Schriften 33. I. 1984; R. Sternemann (ed.), Bopp-Symposium 1992 der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. 313 p. Heidelberg 1994; *“F.B. — Begründer der Sprachwissenschaft” (collection of articles), WZBerlin 18:2, 1969, 295-331.

Photo in Idg. Jb. 4; photo in Lefmann’s biography, then also in Pedersen 1959, 255 and Rau 7; another in v. Seidlitz, Allgemeine historisches Porträtwerk. Munich 1899; bust by A.H. Terlitz (1866) in Indology in G.D.R. 1978.

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