SCHMIDT, Johannes Friedrich Heinrich

SCHMIDT, Johannes Friedrich Heinrich. Prenzlau 29.7.1843 — Berlin 4.7.1901. German IE Scholar. Professor in Berlin. Orphaned (mother died 1844, father 1852) he grew up at his uncle, Gymnasium Professor K. E. A. Schmidt in Stettin, matriculated there in 1860. In 1860-62 studies of classical philology (Ritschl) at Bonn, then IE, Slavic and Lithuanian at Jena (Schleicher). Ph.D. 1865 Jena. One year of further studies in Sanskrit at Berlin, worked as schoolteacger. PD 1868 Bonn, für vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft, ao. Professor there from 1873. Soon, in 1873-76 ord. Professor für vergl. Sprachwiss. und Sanskrit at Graz in Austria. In 1876 succeeded Ebel as ord. Professor für vergl. Sprachwiss. at Berlin, where he taught until his death. Member of Prussian Academy 1884.

JS was a cautious and prudent scholar who wrote in terse style. Although no systematician, he destroyed Schleicher’s Stammbaum in 1872 and proposed the Wellentheorie. In his later days he mainly concentrated on Greek. In his teaching he often dealt with Sanskrit, too. In 1880-1901 he was one of the editors of KZ.

Publications: diss. Die Wurzel AK im Indogermanischen. 1865.

Kleine Sanskrit-Chrestomathie. 116 p. Weimar 1868 (sep. from Schleicher’s Indogermanische Chrestomathie, texts mostly from the Ṛgveda).

Zur Geschichte der indogermanischen Vocalismus. 1-2. Weimar 1871-75; Die Verwandtschafts­verhältnisse der indogermanischen Sprachen. Weimar 1872; Die Pluralbildungen der idg. Neutra. Weimar 1889; Kritik der Sonantentheorie. Weimar 1895.

– “Zwei arische a-Laute und die Palatalen”, KZ 25, 1881, 1-179; brief articles on Sanskrit in KZ 22, 1874; 26, 1883; 27, 1885; Fs. Roth; Fs. Weber.

Die Urheimat der Indogermanen und das europäische Zahlensystem. 1890.

articles on IE and Greek, e.g. “Assimilationen benachbarten einander nicht berührender Vocale im Griechischen”, KZ 32, 1893, 321-415; “Zur Geschichte der Langdiphthongen im Griechischen”, KZ 38, 1905, 1-52.

Sources: P. Kretschmer, KZ 38, 1905, v-xiv; *B. Schlerath, Lex. Gramm. 1996, 837f.; briefly D.B.E. 9, 1998; Wikipedia with photo (more in German version); photo in Titus Galeria, another in Lochner von Hüttenbach, Das Fach Sprachwissenschaft an der Univ. Graz. 1976, 8.

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