Rasmus Kristian Rask

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rask, Rasmus Kristian


Born Nov. 22, 1787, in Braen-dekilde, on the island of Fyn; died Nov. 14, 1832, in Copenhagen. Danish linguist.

In 1829, Rask became a librarian and in 1831 a professor of Oriental languages at the University of Copenhagen. He was one of the founders of comparative historical linguistics. He was the first to use the comparative-historical method in dealing with the origin of Icelandic, and he demonstrated the relationship between the Germanic languages and the Balto-Slavic, Greek, and Latin languages by establishing the phonetic correspondences between them and comparing their grammatical paradigms (Investigation on the Origin of the Old Norse or Icelandic Language, 1818). Rask brought to light many of the phonetic changes that make up the Common Germanic and High German consonant shift known as Grimm’s law. He also engaged in the comparative-historical study of the Balto-Slavic, Finno-Ugric, and Indo-Iranian languages. He was the founder of scientific linguistics in Scandinavia.


Udvalgte ajhandlinger, vols. 1–3. Copenhagen, 1932–35.
In Russian translation:
“Issledovaniia v oblasti drevnesevernogo iazyka, ili proiskhozhdenie is-landskogo iazyka (izvlecheniia). In V. A. Zvegintsev, Istoriia iazykoz-naniia X1X-XX vekov v ocherkakh i izvlecheniiakh, 3rd ed. part 1. Moscow, 1964.


Hjelmslev, L. “Commentaires sur la vie et l’oeuvre de Rasmus Rask.” Conferences de l’Institut de Linguistique de l’Université de Paris. 1950–51, vol. 10.
Bjerrum, M. Rasmus Rask afhandlinger om del danske sprog. Copenhagen, 1959.
Diderichsen, P. Rasmus Rask og den grammatiske tradition. Copenhagen, 1960. I. Sizova
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.