Obnorskii, Sergei

Obnorskii, Sergei Petrovich


Born June 14 (26), 1888, in St. Petersburg; died Nov. 13, 1962, in Moscow. Soviet linguist. Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1939; corresponding member, 1931).

Obnorskii graduated from the University of St. Petersburg in 1910. He was a professor at the University of Perm’ from 1916 to 1922 and the University of Leningrad after 1922. His main research was devoted to the history of the Russian language and to dialectology and lexicography.

Obnorskii advanced an original theory concerning the popular Russian basis for the Old Russian literary language (in contrast to the theory of the Church Slavonic roots of literary Russian). His main works were on the morphology of the noun and verb in Russian, and also on the culture of Russian speech, particularly in orthography, pronunciation, and grammatical forms. He was the editor of an academic dictionary of Russian (1912–37) and a member of the editorial board for a 17–volume academic dictionary of the modern Russian literary language (1950–65). He was the founder and first director (1944–50) of the Russian Language Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Obnorskii was awarded the State Prize of the USSR (1947) and the Lenin Prize (1970, posthumously). He was a corresponding member of the Bulgarian and Czech Academies of Sciences and received a doctoral degree honoris causa from the University of Oslo. He was awarded three Orders of Lenin, and also medals.


Imennoe sklonenie v sovremennom russkom iazyke, fascs. 1–2. Leningrad, 1927–30.
Ocherki po istorii russkogo literaturnogo iazyka starshego perioda. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946.
Ocherki po morfologii russkogo glagola. Moscow, 1953.


Vinogradov, V. V. “Nauchnaia deiatel’nost’ akademika S. P. Obnorskogo.” Izvestiia AN SSSR: OLIa, 1958, vol. 17, fasc. 3.
Filin, F. P. “Sergei Petrovich Obnorskii.” Russkii iazyk za rubezhom, 1972, no. 2.