Heymann Steinthal

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Steinthal, Heymann


Born May 16, 1823, in Gröbzig; died March 14, 1899, in Berlin. German linguist.

Steinthal, who became a professor at the University of Berlin in 1863, was a follower of W. von Humboldt, one of the founders of the psychological school of linguistics. He developed a subjective idealist conception of language, which he applied to the solution of problems in ethnopsychology (Vôlkerspsychologie). Steinthai pointed out the special role of language in ethnopsychology. His views influenced the early work of A. A. Potebnia and the neogrammarians (seeNEOGRAMMARIAN). Steinthal advanced an onomatopoeic theory of the origin of language and laid the foundations of cultural anthropology. Steinthal is known as a popularizer of Humboldt’s typological classification of languages, although the changes that he introduced into this classification in 1860 did not gain recognition.


Grammatik, Logik und Psychologie, ihre Principien und ihr Verhaltniss zu einander. Berlin, 1855.
Charakteristik der hauptsächlichsten Typen des Sprachbaues. Berlin, 1860.
Philologie, Geschichte und Psychologie in ihren gegenseitigen Beziehungen. Berlin, 1864.
Abriss der Sprachwissenschaft, part 1. Berlin, 1881.
Der Ursprung der Sprache im Zusammenhange mit den letzten Fragen alles Wissens, 4th ed. Berlin, 1888.
Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft bei den Griechen und Römern, 2nd ed., parti. Berlin, 1890.


Amirova, T. A., B. A. Ol’khovikov, and Iu. V. Rozhdestvenskii. Ocherkipo istorii lingvistiki. Moscow, 1975. Pages 366–74.
Bumann, W. Die Sprachtheorie H. Steinthals. Meisenhelm am Glan [1966].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.