Berthold Delbrück

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Berthold Delbrück (1908)

Berthold Gustav Gottlieb Delbrück (born July 26, 1842 in Putbus on Rügen , † January 3, 1922 in Jena ) was a German linguist .

life and work

Grave of Berthold Delbrück in the north cemetery in Jena

Berthold Gustav Gottlieb was the son of the lawyer and later Stralsund district judge Ernst Friedrich Felix Delbrück (* March 15, 1811 - October 20, 1852 in Stralsund) and his wife Auguste Henriette Wilhelmine Böhmer (* March 8, 1815 - October 5, 1872 ). Thus he was a great-nephew of the politician Rudolph von Delbrück from the well-known Delbrück family . After attending grammar school in Stralsund and the school of the Francke Foundations in Halle (Saale) , he began to study comparative philology at the University of Halle-Wittenberg in 1859 . He continued these studies at the University of Berlin , where he devoted himself particularly to the Sanskrit language . He received his doctorate here in 1861 at the age of only 19. After his habilitation in 1866 on syntax in Rigveda , he settled back in Halle and was a private lecturer in comparative linguistics at the university there.

In 1870 Delbrück was appointed to the University of Jena , where he was initially an associate professor, and since 1873 a full professor of comparative linguistics and Sanskrit, which he himself actively mastered. Between 1878 and 1908 Delbrück was rector of the Alma Mater for a total of five semesters . With his works Delbrück established the comparative syntax of the Indo-European language family . In 1871 he received the Bopp Foundation's sponsorship award . In 1885 he became a full member of the Saxon Academy of Sciences . On August 1, 1908, he became an honorary citizen of Jena : “Outstanding scholar and researcher, who at the same time successfully advocated all major national issues.” In 1890 he was elected a foreign member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and in 1912 of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences .

From Easter 1864 to Easter 1866 Delbrück was a teacher at the Marienwerder grammar school . On July 31, 1865, he married in Marienwerder Constanze Kämtz (* June 27, 1845; † 1935), a daughter of the late Imperial Russian State Councilor Ludwig Friedrich Kämtz and his wife Emilie Hüne. There are children from the marriage. The daughters Helene Delbrück (* May 14, 1866), Maria Delbrück (* June 4, 1868) and the son Richard Delbrueck , who became professor of archeology in Jena, are known.

Works (selection)

  • The ancient Indian verb . Hall 1874 ( digitized ).
  • The latest in language research. Reflections on Georg Curtius' script to criticize the latest linguistic research. Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig 1885. ( Digitized and full text in the German text archive ).
  • Comparative syntax of the Indo-European languages . 3 volumes. Trübner, Strasbourg 1893–1900.
  • Basic questions of language research . Strasbourg 1901.
  • Introduction to the study of the Indo-European languages . 6th edition. Breitkopf and Haertel, Leipzig 1919. Reprint Georg Olms Verlag, Hildesheim 1976, ISBN 3-487-05976-2 .


  • Eduard Hermann: Berthold Delbrück. A scholarly life from Germany's great times . Frommann, Jena 1923.
  • Walther Wüst:  Delbrück, Berthold Gustav Gottlieb. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 3, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1957, ISBN 3-428-00184-2 , p. 574 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Martin Meier: Berthold Delbrück. Father of comparative historical syntax . In: Rugia. Rügen yearbook . 2003, pp. 32-37.
  • Emilio Crespo, José Luis García Ramón (eds.): Berthold Delbrück y la sintaxis indoeuropea hoy. Actas del Coloquio de la Indo-European Society Madrid, 21-24 de septiembre de 1994. Ediciones de la UAM, Ludwig Reichert Verlag, Madrid, Wiesbaden 1997.

Web links

Wikisource: Berthold Delbrück  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Member entry by Berthold Delbrück at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences , accessed on January 24, 2017.
  2. Holger Krahnke: The members of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen 1751-2001 (= Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Philological-Historical Class. Volume 3, Vol. 246 = Treatises of the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, Mathematical-Physical Class. Episode 3, vol. 50). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2001, ISBN 3-525-82516-1 , p. 66.