Franz Bopp

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Bopp, Franz


Born Sept. 14, 1791, in Mainz; died Oct. 23, 1867, in Berlin. German linguist. Professor at the University of Berlin (1821–64); member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences from 1822. Founder of the comparative-historical study of Indo-European languages and of comparative philology.

The morphological structure of Sanskrit words led Bopp to the idea of the grammatical similarity of this language to ancient European languages and permitted him to conceive the primary structure of grammatical forms (beginning with verbs) in these languages. He expounded his conclusions in the book The Conjugation System in Sanskrit in Comparison With the Greek, Latin, Persian, and Germanic Languages (1816). Subsequently, Bopp proceeded to compile his Comparative Grammar of the Sanskrit, Zend, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Gothic, and German Languages (published in installments between 1833 and 1839). In 1835, he included the Old Slavic language in his work and in 1838, the Celtic languages; in the second edition (1856–61) he also included Armenian. Bopp compiled A Critical Sanskrit Grammar (1834) and published a number of ancient Hindu texts and translations.


Über das Conjugationssystem der Sanskritsprache in Vergleichung mil jenem der griechischen, lateinischen, persischen und ger-manischen Sprache. Frankfurt am Main, 1816.
Vergleichende Grammatik des Sanskrit, Zend, Armenischen, Griechischen, Lateinischen, Altslavischen, Gothischen und Deutschen, 3rd ed., vols. 1–3. Berlin-Paris, 1868–1871.