Jacob Wackernagel

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Jakob Wackernagel as rector 1912/13

Jacob Wackernagel (-Stehlin) (born December 11, 1853 in Basel , † May 22, 1938 ibid) was a Swiss Indo-Europeanist and linguist. According to him, this is Wackernagel'sche law named.


Bookplate 1897
Jakob Wackernagel-Stehlin (1853–1938), Dr.  phil., for Greek and Sanskrit, ao.  Professor, most important linguist in the philological field, family grave in the Hörnli cemetery, Riehen, Basel-Stadt
Family grave in the Hörnli cemetery , Riehen, Basel-Stadt

Jacob (also: Jakob) Wackernagel was a son of the German Germanist Wilhelm Wackernagel and brother of Rudolf Wackernagel .

From 1871 to 1875 he studied classical philology , German and history in his hometown of Basel, in Göttingen and in Leipzig . The doctorate took place again in Basel in 1875, the habilitation in 1876 ​​there. From 1879 to 1881 he taught Greek language and literature as an associate professor in Basel and later (1881–1902) as a full professor. From 1902 to 1915 he was a full professor for Indo-European Linguistics in Göttingen. From 1915 to 1936 he taught Indo-European studies in Basel.

Wackernagel married Maria, née Stehlin, in 1886. Two of his children were Hans Georg Wackernagel and Jacob Wackernagel Jr.

The German Archaeological Institute appointed him on Winckelmannstag 1897 as a corresponding member. Since 1901 he was a member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences . In 1931 he was accepted as a corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences . In the same year he received the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art .

Jacob Wackernagel is one of the most important "linguists in the philological direction", as he called himself, and his works are still among the most important in Indo-European studies.

In 1923 Otto Roos created a bust of Wackernagel. His estate, which has only been partially developed, is kept at the University Library of Basel .

His final resting place was in the Hörnli cemetery .

Works (selection)

  • The epic stretch. Contributions to the customer of the Indo-European languages, 1878, vol. 4;
  • The law of elongation of the Greek compound words. Basel 1889;
  • Contributions to teaching in front of the Greek accent. Basel 1893;
  • Mixed contributions to Greek language studies. Basel 1897;
  • Linguistic research on Homer. Basel 1916;
  • Lectures on syntax with a special focus on Greek, Latin and German. Vol. I-2, Basel 1920-1924.


  • Debrunner, Albert : Jacob Wackernagel's 70th birthday . In: Indo-European Yearbook . Vol. 9, 1924, pp. 264-269.
  • Debrunner, Albert: Addendum to the directory of the writings Jacob Wackernagel . In: Indo-European Yearbook . Vol. 23, 1939, pp. 446-451.
  • Ebel, Wilhelm (Ed.): Catalogus Professorum Gottingensum 1734–1962 . On behalf of Georgia Augusta. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1962, pp. 28, 113.
  • Schwyzer, Eduard : Jacob Wackernagel . In: Thomas A. Sebeok (Ed.): Portraits of Linguists: A Biographical Source Book for the History of Western Linguistics, 1746–1963 . Volume II: From Eduard Sievers to Benjamin Lee Whorf. Indiana University Studies in the History and Theory of Linguistics. Indiana University Press, Bloomington / London 1938, pp. 52-55.
  • In memory of Professor Wackernagel-Stehlin: Born on December 11, 1853, died on May 22, 1938 . Basel: Frobenius. (Without statement of responsibility).

Web links

Commons : Jacob Wackernagel  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Jacob Wackernagel  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Own spelling of the first name as Jakob in 1897 on an ex libris "Jakob Wackernagel in Basel" and an owner's note on the right, presumably in his own handwriting; see pictures.
  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. 249.
  3. Otto Roos: 1923, Wackernagel bust. Retrieved September 30, 2019 .
  4. Stock to be determined by selection of securities.