Leo Weisgerber

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Weisgerber, Leo


Born Feb. 25, 1899, in Metz. German linguist (Federal Republic of Germany); specialist on the German language, Celtic studies, and general linguistics. Professor at the universities of Rostock (from 1927), Marburg (from 1938), and Bonn (since 1942). Corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen.

Weisgerber is the most prominent representative of the so-called Neo-Humboldtian trend in foreign linguistics. According to Weisgerber, language is the “middle link,” which mediates the influence of the outer world on the “inner spiritual world of man.” Therefore, like W. Humboldt, Weisgerber considered language to be a manifestation of a “national spirit.” Weisgerber attempted to prove that people who speak different languages also perceive the external world in different ways.


Die Stellung der Sprache im Aufbau der Gesamtkultur [vols.] 1-2. Heidelberg, 1933-34.
Von den Kräften der deutschen Sprache [vols.] 1-2, 3rd ed. Düsseldorf, 1962.
Das Gesetz der Sprache als Grundlage des Sprachstudiums. Heidelberg, 1951.


Gukhman, M. M. “Lingvisticheskaia teoriia L. Vaisgerbera.” In Voprosy teorii iazyka v sovremennoi zarubezhnoi lingvistike. Moscow, 1961. Pages 123-62.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Izutsu honestly admitted that he was indebted to the writings of Johann Leo Weisgerber, who appeared to be influenced by Wilhelm von Humboldt's view of languange as a mirror of its speakers' vision of the world (Weltansicht) and argued for the significance of languange as an intellectual process of world-shaping (Weltgestaltung).
The term reflects the method's theoretical basis in Leo Weisgerber's inhaltbezogene Grammatik (content-orientated grammar), which attracted some attention in Germany during the early 1960s.