Heymann Steinthal

Also found in: Wikipedia.
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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sampling the thought of the tradition's main adherents he covers language as an event: Heymann Steinthal, the origin of language from almost nothing: Lazarus Geiger, the spirit of language: Moritz Lazarus, the peace of humor: Hermann Cohen, on tact as a form of sociability, at the limits of the critique of language: Fritz Mathner, and from the critique of language to a critique of culture: Ernst Cassirer.
Klautke's first chapter concerns the creation of academic Volkerpsychologie by Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal. In 1859 the two scholars launched the Zeitschrift fur Volkerpsychologie und Sprachwissenschaft (Journal of Folk Psychology and Linguistics), and the journal's twenty-year lifespan corresponded with the height of optimism about Jewish emancipation and social acceptance in Germany.
Before turning to a discussion of Nietzsche in Chapter 7, Williamson examines alternatives to Wagnerian thought in the writings of Heymann Steinthal and Adalbert Kuhn.