Born Apr. 7, 1867, in Gjelballe, near Kolding, Jutland; died Oct. 25, 1953, in Copenhagen. Danish linguist.
Pedersen graduated from the University of Copenhagen in 1890 and became a professor there in 1903, serving as chairman of the university’s subdepartment of comparative grammar from 1914 to 1937. He was a specialist in the comparative and historical study of Indo-European languages and in comparative and historical linguistics. His authoritative works based on comparative phonology and morphology dealt with such Indo-European languages as Celtic, Hitto-Luwian, Albanian, Armenian, To-charian, and Slavic, as well as with the Semitic and Finno-Ugric languages. Pedersen cited significant consonantal correspondences to justify his theory of the Nostratic kinship of languages.
He is the author of a work on the development of comparative linguistics in the 19th century.
WORKSVergleichende Grammatik der keltischen Sprachen, vols. 1–2. Göttingen, 1909–13.
Sprogvidenskaben. Copenhagen, 1924.
Linguistic Science in the Nineteenth Century: Methods and Results. Cambridge, Mass., 1931.
Hittitisch und die anderen indoeuropäischen Sprachen, 2nd ed. Copenhagen, 1938.
REFERENCESMélanges linguistiques offerts à Holger Pedersen…. Copenhagen, 1937.
Sommerfelt, A. “Holger Pedersen.” Orbis, 1954, vol. 3, no. 1.