Lev Shcherba

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Shcherba, Lev Vladimirovich


Born Feb. 20 (Mar. 3), 1880, in St. Petersburg; died Dec. 26, 1944, in Moscow. Soviet linguist. Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1943) and the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the RSFSR (1944).

In 1903, Shcherba graduated from the University of St. Petersburg, where he had studied under I. A. Baudouin de Courtenay. He became a professor at the University of Petrograd in 1916. In 1943 he was given a position in the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the RSFSR.

Shcherba’s principal works dealt with problems of general linguistics, Russian studies, Romance philology, Slavic studies, lexicography, and pedagogy. In his master’s dissertation, “Russian Vowels With Respect to Quality and Quantity” (1912), he provided an analysis of the phoneme that anticipated the theory of phonemes subsequently developed in European linguistics. He also studied problems of orthography and orthoepy. Shcherba’s works on the theory and methods of teaching foreign languages were instrumental in creating a Soviet school of methodology.


Vostochnoluzhitskoe narechie, vol. 1. Petrograd, 1915.
Fonetika frantsuzskogo iazyka, 7th ed. Leningrad-Moscow, 1963.
Prepodavanie inostrannykh iazykov v srednei shkole: Obshchie voprosy metodiki. Moscow-Leningrad, 1947.
Izbr. raboty po russkomu iazyku. Moscow, 1957.
Russko-frantsuzskii slovar’, 9th ed. Moscow, 1969. (With M. I. Matusevich).
Iazykovaia sistema i rechevaia deioiel’nost’ (collection of papers). Leningrad, 1974.


Zinder, L. R., and M. I. Matusevich. “L. V. Shcherba: Osnovnye vekhi ego zhizni i nauchnogo tvorchestva.” In L. V. Shcherba, Iazykovaia sistema i rechevaia deiatel’nosí. Leningrad, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.