Johann Andreas Schmeller

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Johann Andreas Schmeller

Johann Andreas Schmeller (born August 6, 1785 in Tirschenreuth ; † July 27, 1852 in Munich ) was a Germanist and Bavarian linguist . He is considered the founder of modern dialect research in Germany. His lasting contribution is a four-volume Bavarian dictionary, whose successor is currently in-process Bavarian dictionary stands.

life and work

The ancestors were farmers in the Stiftland of the Waldsassen monastery . His parents Johann Joseph and Maria Barbara Schmeller moved from Griesbach (Mähring) to Tirschenreuth, where the father earned his living as a basket maker (pumpkin fences). Johann was born there as the fifth child of the family. When he was one and a half years old, the family decided to move to richer Upper Bavaria in order to escape the poor living conditions; In Regensburg, as he described in his memoirs, the family almost went on board an emigrant ship to emigrate to Hungary on the Danube. But at the request of his mother, the family moved further south and took up residence on a farm (Roun-Gütl) in Rinnberg , Rohrbach municipality , Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm district , where he spent his further childhood and youth.

First he attended the village school of Pörnbach , about four kilometers from his home. The village teacher recognized the boy's talent and arranged for him to be sent to the Latin school of the Scheyern Benedictine monastery . Later he moved to the grammar school in Ingolstadt, then to the (today's) Wilhelmsgymnasium in Munich, which he graduated in 1801, whereupon he continued his studies at the Lyzeum Munich.

"The dialects of Bavaria"

Interested in education, shaped by the Enlightenment and impressed by the ideas of the French Revolution , he went to Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi in Switzerland in 1804 , but he had no use for him. So he was recruited as a soldier in the Spanish service in 1804 and became an assistant at the school for officer students in Madrid, the Real Instituto Pestalozziano Militar, newly founded by Franz Voitel . In 1809 he founded a private school in Basel, which had to be closed in 1813. Thereupon he returned home and in 1814 became a first lieutenant in a hunter battalion of the Bavarian army , in which he received the status of an officer practicing in civil positions in 1823. In 1815 he made his first attempt at a grammatical representation of the Bavarian dialect, in 1821 the first volume of his phonetic alphabet and Die Mundarten Bayerns grammatically represented (reprint 1929) appeared. With her he became the founder of scientific dialectology .

Schmeller's grave in the Old Southern Cemetery in Munich (Grave field 2, row 7, place 40 - location )

In 1824 he became an extraordinary member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and in 1829 he was elected a full member, one of ultimately twelve memberships in learned societies at home and abroad. In the years 1827 to 1837 he created his main work, the four-volume Bavarian dictionary , which became the model and standard for all dialect dictionaries , initially supported by the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig I. From 1826 he held lectures at the University of Munich and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1827 . In the same year he became professor at the Kadettenhaus in Munich and in 1828 associate professor of Old German and Old Germanic language and literature at Munich University. In 1829 he was appointed curator of the court and state library , where he acted as supervisor of the manuscript department. As such, he made an inventory of the entire holdings of 27,000 manuscripts, most of which had come into state ownership from Bavarian monasteries through secularization . In 1844 he turned down the Munich University's call for a professorship for Slavic languages, instead becoming a sub-librarian at the royal library. In 1846 he accepted the call to the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich for the chair of old German language and literature. In 1848 he tried to be politically active by letting the Liberal Association put himself up as an election candidate for the constituent German National Assembly.

Apart from said major works and numerous essays he edited most of Old High German texts Munich manuscripts, so among other things 1830 he Heliand titled Old Saxon Evangelienharmonie , 1832 Old High German doomsday poem Muspilli , 1838 Ruodlieb and 1841, the Old High German translation of the otherwise the Tatian , but attributed the Ammonios from him Gospel harmony. And last but not least, Schmeller published the Carmina Burana, found in 1803, as Carmina Burana - Lieder aus Benediktbeuern in 1847 .

He died of cholera on July 27, 1852 in Munich . He left behind his wife Juliane or Juliana, nee Harm, used Except, whom he had only married when their daughter Emma (1818–1900) was almost grown up. Two other children from the fraternity didn't get years. Schmeller met the widow of the porcelain painter Anton Auer , who had sons Maximilian Joseph and Franz von Paula from him, in 1816. For a long time it was not possible to get married for financial reasons: Schmeller was unable to produce the prescribed amount of money, which was a prerequisite for a marriage license, and Auer's widow's pension was necessary to support the family. When Lorenz Tutschek asked for his daughter's hand in 1848 , Schmeller had to inform him that he was "by no means up to the prescribed caution of ten thousand guilders", so that the marriage did not materialize.


Schmeller's grave is located in the Old Southern Cemetery in Munich (grave field 2, row 7, place 40 - location ). In front of the simply designed tombstone there is an open book on the base.


Johann Andreas Schmeller controlled or dealt with following languages: Old English , Old Frisian , Ancient Greek , Old High German , Old Church Slavonic , Old Norse , Arabic , Bavarian , Danish , English , French , Gothic , Hebrew , Italian , Latin , Modern Greek , Dutch , Persian , Polish , Portuguese , Russian , Sanskrit , Swedish , Spanish , Czech , Hungarian and still attended lectures on Chinese in his later years .


  • Busts of Johann Andreas Schmeller are in the Hall of Fame in Munich and in his birthplace Tirschenreuth.
  • The Johann-Andreas-Schmeller-Gesellschaft, founded in 1979 and based in Tirschenreuth, researches the dialectological and literary legacy of Johann Andreas Schmeller, promotes the public awareness of his work and supports Schmeller's dialect maintenance and research. Every two years since 1985, it has awarded the Schmeller Prize for outstanding scientific achievements in Schmeller's fields of work, as well as a sponsorship award. It also publishes a yearbook .
  • The Tirschenreuth district awards the Johann Andreas Schmeller Medal for special services in honorary office .
  • The science and language grammar school in Nabburg , the secondary school in Ismaning and the secondary schools in Tirschenreuth and Scheyern were named after Johann Andreas Schmeller .
  • Schmeller never denied his origins. He had a tombstone erected for his parents, on which there is a relief of a woven basket, as a reminder of his father's simple job.

Fonts (selection)

  • Bavarian Dictionary Volume 1 for the online version at Bayer. Academy of Science
  • Bavarian Dictionary Volume 2 for the online version at Bayer. Academy of Science
  • Bavarian dictionary. 2nd Edition. Edited by G. Karl Fromann . 2 volumes. Munich 1872–1877; Reprint Leipzig 1939 (Reprint Aalen 1973.)
  • About writing and writing lessons. An ABC booklet in the hands of teachers (1803), Bayer meeting reports. Academy of Sciences, Munich 1965 for the online version (there also several other publications free of charge online)
  • The German manuscripts of the royal court and state library in Munich based on Johann Andreas Schmeller's shorter directory. Munich 1866 (= Catalogus codicum manu scriptorum bibliothecae regiae monacensis, V – VI: Codicum germanicorum partem priorem et posteriorem completentes. )


  • Correspondence 1795–1852 . Edited by Werner Winkler. 2 volumes and a register volume. Morsak, Grafenau 1989, ISBN 3-87553-348-8 .
  • Diaries 1801–1852 . Edited by Paul Ruf. 2 volumes. Beck, Munich 1954.
  • Richard J. Brunner : Johann Andreas Schmeller. Linguist and philologist. (= Innsbruck contributions to linguistics. 4). Institute for Comparative Linguistics at the University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck 1971, ISBN 3-85124-503-2 .
  • Richard J. Brunner: Johann Andreas Schneller and the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich. Documents and explanations. (= Ludovico Maximilianea. Sources. 4). Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-428-12814-3 .
  • Johann Andreas Schmeller. 1785-1852. Bavarian State Library, commemorative exhibition for the 200th year of birth . Oldenbourg, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-486-52821-1 .
  • Johann Andreas Schmeller and the beginning of German studies. Lectures from 26.-29. September 1985 at an international conference in Tirschenreuth . Edited by Ludwig M. Eichinger a . Bernd Naumann . Oldenbourg, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-486-54551-5 .
  • Johann Andreas Schmeller and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. Documents and explanations . (= Treatises / Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Philosophical-Historical Class: N. F. 115). Edit v. Richard J. Brunner. Publishing house of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Munich 1997, ISBN 3-7696-0110-6 .
  • Franz Georg Kaltwasser : Schmeller, Johann Andreas. In: Large Bavarian Biographical Encyclopedia. Volume 3: P-Z. K. G. Saur, Munich 2005, pp. 1736f.
  • Georg Lohmeier : Watched the Bavarians in the mouth. From the dictionaries and diaries of Johann A. Schmeller, 1785–1852. Ehrenwirth, Munich 1985, ISBN 3-431-02691-5 .
  • Rainer Albert Müller : Schmeller, Johann Andreas. In: Karl Bosl (ed.): Bosls Bavarian biography. Pustet, Regensburg 1983, ISBN 3-7917-0792-2 , p. 681 ( digitized version ).
  • Johannes Nicklas: Johann Andreas Schmeller's life and work . Rieger, Munich 1885.
  • Anthony Rowley:  Schmeller, Johann Andreas (also Hans Andreas, pseudonym Habemut [h ).] In: Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB). Volume 23, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-428-11204-3 , pp. 126-128 ( digitized version ).
  • Paul Ruf: Schmeller as a librarian. In: Festgabe der Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Emil Gratzl on his 75th birthday. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1953, pp. 9-95. The "Chronological Overview" and the enclosures are abridged in: Contributions to the history of the Bavarian State Library. (= Series of publications / Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. 1). Edited by Rupert Hacker. Saur, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-598-24060-0 , pp. 177-252.
  • Paul Ruf: Schmeller's personality. In: Diaries 1801–1852. Volume 1, Beck, Munich 1954, pp. 1 * -86 *.
  • Franz Xaver Scheuerer: On J. A. Schmeller's philological work and its academic reception. A study on the history of science in German studies. (= Studia linguistica Germanica. 37). de Gruyter et al. a., Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-11-014650-9 .
  • Edward SchröderSchmeller, Johann Andreas . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 31, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1890, pp. 786-792.
  • Werner Winkler: Johann Andreas Schmeller as a teacher. In: Yearbook of the Johann Andreas Schmeller Society. 1981, pp. 107-127.
  • Werner Winkler: Schmeller's correspondence. Reflections on his edition. In: Yearbook of the Johann Andreas Schmeller Society. 1984, pp. 171-184.

Web links

Commons : Johann Andreas Schmeller  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Max Leitschuh: The matriculations of the upper classes of the Wilhelmsgymnasium in Munich. Volume 3, Munich 1970-1976, p. 218.
  2. Schmeller, Johann Andreas: Bavarian dictionary in the culture portal bavarikon
  3. Reinhard Bauer, Ursula Münchhoff (ed.): "Lauter mowed meadows for the reaction". The first half of the 19th century in the diaries of Johann Andreas Schmeller. Munich 1990, ISBN 3-492-10884-9 , p. 288.
  4. Reinhard Bauer, Ursula Münchhoff (ed.): "Lauter mowed meadows for the reaction". The first half of the 19th century in the diaries of Johann Andreas Schmeller. Munich 1990, ISBN 3-492-10884-9 , p. 266 (diary entries from June 12 and 14, 1848)
  5. ^ Internet presence of the Johann Andreas Schmeller Society
  6. ^ The yearbooks in the catalog of the German National Library