Karl Brugmann

Karl Brugmann

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Karl Brugmann

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Karl Brugmann (1849 - 1919) was a German linguist. He is a towering figure in Indo-European linguistics.


He was educated at Halle and Leipzig. He was instructor in the gymnasium at Wiesbaden and at Leipzig, and in 1872-77 was assistant at the Russian Institute of Classical Philology at the latter place. In 1877 he was lecturer at the University of Leipzig, and in 1882 became professor of comparative philology there. In 1884 he took the same position at the University of Freiburg, but returned to Leipzig in 1887 as successor to Georg Curtius, and for the rest of his professional life (until 1919), Brugmann was professor of Sanskrit and comparative linguistics there.

As a young man, Brugmann sided with the emerging Neogrammarian school, which asserted the inviolability of phonetic laws (Brugmann's law) and adhered to a strict research methodology. As well as in laying stress on the observation of phonetic laws and their operation, it emphasized the working of analogy as an important linguistic factor in modern languages.

As joint editor with Curtius of The Studies in Greek and Latin Grammar, he wrote an article for this work on “Nasilis Sonans,” in which he defended theories so radical that Curtius afterward disclaimed them.Brugmann's fame rests on the two volumes on phonology, morphology, and word formation which he contributed to the five-volume Grundriss der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen (“Outline of the Comparative Grammar of the...
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