BRÉAL, Michel-Jules-Alfred

BRÉAL, Michel-Jules-Alfred. Landau (Pfalz) 26.3.1832 — Paris 25.11.1915. French IE scholar. Professor in Paris. Educated in Wissembourg, Metz and Paris (Lycée Louis-le-Grand), then 1852-55 at École normale. Teacher in Strasbourg (1855) and Paris (Louis-le-Grand, 1856). Studied in 1857-60 Sanskrit at Berlin under Bopp and Weber. From 1860 Renan’s successor as Keeper of Oriental Manuscripts in Bibl. nationale. Ph.D. 1863. In 1864 succeeded Hase as Professor of comparative IE linguistics at Collège de France (1864 chargé de cours, 1866 full Professor), retired 1905. From 1868-82 also taught at É.P.H.É. In 1875 member of A.I.B.L. In 1879-88 inspecteur général de l’instruction publique pour l’enseignement supérieur. Married with Henriette Bamberger, three children (Clothilde married Romain Rolland).

He discussed comparative grammar and mythology. He was averse to the views taken by Schleicher and subsequent German IE research. Also discussed the social aspect of languages and, without using the term, the influence of substrate languages. Founder of semantics. Among his students were Bergaigne, Darmesteter and L. Havet.

Publications: Étude des origines de la religion zoroastrienne. 1862; “De la géographie de l’avesta”, JA 5:19, 1862, 482-497; “Le brahme tchengrénghâtchah”, ib. 497-502.

Diss. Hercule et Cecus. Étude de mythologie comparée. 177 p. P. 1863; and De persicis nominibus apud scriptores graecos. 50 p. P. 1863.

De la méthode comparative. 23 p. P. 1864; Mélanges de mythologie et de linguistique. 416 p. P. 1877, 2nd ed. P. 1882; E. Renan et la philosophie indo-européenne. 1893; Essai de sémantique. 349 p. P.1897, 5th edition P. 1911, English transl. by Mrs. Henry Cust, L. 1900.

Translated: Bopp, Grammaire comparée. 1. 57+458 p. P. 1866.

Les tables engubines. 1875; Dictionnaire etymologique latin. 463 p. P. 1885; Pour mieux connaître Homère. 309 p. P. 1906; several other works on linguistics, pedagogy, etc., many articles in MSL.

Sources: R. d’Amat, Dict. Biogr. franç. 7, 1956, 181; *S. Delesalle, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 128f.; *H.W. Giessen, H.-H. Lüger & G. Volz (eds.), M.B. – Grenzüberschreitende Signaturen. Landau 2007; A. Meillet, *Collège de France 1530-1930. 1930, 279ff. republ. in *Linguistique Historique et Linguistique Générale. P. 1951, 2:212-227 and from this in Sebeok 1966:1, 440-453; *A. Meillet, BSL 20, 1916, 10-19; *BSL 11, 1901, 175-190; French and English Wikipedia (with photo and further references); photo in Collège de France 1530-1930. pl. lix; photo also in Pedersen 1959, 94.

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