Ivan Ivanovich Meshchaninov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Meshchaninov, Ivan Ivanovich


Born Nov. 24 (Dec. 6), 1883, in Ufa; died Jan. 16, 1967, in Leningrad. Soviet linguist and archaeologist. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1932) and Hero of Socialist Labor (1945).

Meshchaninov graduated from the University of St. Petersburg in 1907 and from the Institute of Archaeology in 1910. He was director of the Institute of Anthropology, Archaeology, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1933 to 1937, director of the Institute of Language and Thought from 1933 to 1950, and academician-secretary of the literature and linguistics department of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1934 to 1950.

In the 1920’s and early 1930’s, Meshchaninov supervised archaeological excavations in the region north of the Black Sea and in Transcaucasia. N. la. Marr exerted an important influence on him. Meshchaninov was a specialist in the dead languages of the Caucasus and Asia Minor, particularly the Urartean language (Chaldean). In general linguistics he studied the principal stages of the development of languages, founded the theory of conceptual categories and the theory of syntactic typology, and worked out the theory of the sentence. He made important contributions to organizing the study of the unwritten languages of the peoples of the north and of the Caucasus and to training linguistic scholars.

A recipient of the State Prize of the USSR (1943, 1946), Meshchaninov was awarded two Orders of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


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Khaldovedenie: Istoriia drevnego Vana. Baku, 1927.
Vvedenie v iafetidologiiu. Leningrad, 1929.
Iazyk Vanskoi klinopisi. Leningrad, 1935.
Novoe uchenie o iazyke; Stadial’naia tipologiia. Leningrad, 1936.
Obshchee iazykoznanie. Leningrad, 1940.
Chleny predlozheniia i chasti rechi. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
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Struktura predlozheniia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.
Ergativnaia konstruktsiia v iazykakh razlichnykh tipov. Leningrad, 1967.


Zhirmunskii, V. M. “Pamiati akademika I. I. Meshchaninova.” Voprosy iazykoznaniia, 1967, no. 3.
Panfilov, V. Z. “Ivan Ivanovich Meshchaninov.” Izv. AN SSSR, ser. literatury i iazyka, 1967, no. 4.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.