Uslar, Petr Karlovich
Born Aug. 20 (Sept. 1), 1816, in the village of Kurovo, Tver’ Province; died there June 8 (20), 1875. Russian linguist. Corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1816). Baron.
Uslar graduated from the Academy of the General Staff. One of the first linguists to study the Caucasian (Ibero-Caucasian) languages, he wrote grammatical descriptions, provided with texts and vocabularies, of the Abkhaz, Chechen, Avar, Lak, Darghin, Lezgin, and (in manuscript) Tabasaran languages. Uslar developed an original method of descriptive linguistic analysis and helped lay the foundations of the theory of phonemes. He also formulated the concept of the passivity of the transitive verb in languages with an ergative construction. Uslar attempted to create writing systems and to lay the foundations of education for those peoples of the Caucasus who lacked an alphabet.
WORKSEtnografiia Kavkaza: Iazykoznanie, vols. 1–6. Tiflis, 1887–96.
REFERENCEChikobava, A. S. “P. Uslar i voprosy nauchnogo izucheniia gorskikh iberiisko-kavkazskikh iazykov.” In Iberiisko-kavkazskoe iazykoznanie, vol. 7. Tbilisi, 1955.
G. A. KLIMOV