Adelung, Johann Christoph

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Adelung, Johann Christoph


Born Aug. 8, 1732, in Halle; died Sept. 10, 1806. German philologist.

With J. S. Vater, Adelung published the work entitled Mithridates, or Universal Philology Exemplified by the Lord’s Prayer in Nearly 500 Languages and Dialects, a type of linguistic encyclopedia of the beginning of the 19th century. In Mithridates the languages are basically classified according to their geographical and not according to their genealogical features and random characteristics. Adelung is the author of a German-language dictionary that was highly authoritative in 18th-century Germany. His works reflect the striving of the philologists of the 18th century for a comprehensive treatment of the material and were an important stage in the formation of the comparative historical method and theoretical linguistics.


Mithridates oder allgemeine Sprachenkunde mit dem “Vater Unser” als Sprachprobe in beinahe fünfhundert Sprachen und Mundarten, vols. 1–4. Berlin, 1806–17.
Versuch eines vollständigen grammatisch-kritischen Wörterbuches der hochdeutschen Mundart, 2nd ed., vols. 1–4. Leipzig, 1793–1801.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.