Greenberg, Joseph Harold

Greenberg, Joseph Harold,

1915–2001, American anthropological linguist, b. New York City, grad. Columbia (A.B., 1936) and Northwestern Univ. (Ph.D., 1940). He was a professor of anthropology at Columbia (1948–62), afterward joining (1962) the faculty of Stanford. His first major area of research was the classification of African languages, which he divided into four families: Niger-Kordofanian, Afroasiatic, Nilo-Saharan, and Khoisan. He later became interested in language universals. Among his writings are The Languages of Africa (1963), Anthropological Linguistics (1968), Language, Culture, and Communication (1971), and Universals of Human Language (4 vol., 1978).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Greenberg, Joseph Harold


Born May 28, 1915. in Brooklyn. American anthropologist, ethnologist, and linguist.

Greenberg is a specialist in African studies, linguistic typology, and general linguistics. From 1957 to 1962 he was a professor at Columbia University, and he has been a professor at Stanford University since 1962. During 1938–39 he worked in Nigeria. He made quantitative studies of various aspects of language structure: The Measurement of Linguistic Diversity (1956) and A Quantitative Approach to the Morphological Typology of Languages (I960; in Russian translation in the book Novoe v lingvistike, fasc. 3, 1963). Greenberg is the author of The Languages of Africa (1963) and works on separate African languages and groups of languages.


“Nekotorye obobshcheniia. kasaiushchiesia vozmozhnykh nachal’-nykh i konechnykh posledovatel’nostei soglasnykh.” Voprosy iazykoznaniia, 1964, no. 4.
Essays in Linguistics. New ed. Chicago-London. 1963.
Universals of Language. Cambridge (Mass.). 1963.
Language Universals. The Hague-Paris. 1966.


Volotskaia. Z. M. Review of The Measurement of Linguistic Diversity. In Strukturno-tipologicheskoe issledovanie. Moscow, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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