Vilém Mathesius

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Vilém Mathesius

Vilém Mathesius (born August 3, 1882 in Pardubice , † April 12, 1945 in Prague ) was a Czech linguist, historian and English scholar.


After graduating from high school in Kolín , Mathesius studied Slavic, German and Romance studies at the Karl Ferdinand University in Prague from 1901 and initially worked as a high school teacher.

In 1909 he completed his habilitation in English and in 1912 was appointed the first (associate) professor of this subject at Charles University in Prague . There he received the chair for English studies in 1919, he built up the English seminar at Charles University and its library. In the second half of the 1920s, Mathesius was a participant in the meetings of the informal Stammtisch group of Prague intellectuals Pátečníci .

Characterized by various illnesses since the early twenties, he became completely blind in 1932 and then concentrated primarily on lectures on the radio, in which he made English known to wider circles of the population. After the Czech universities closed in 1939, he retired to his parents' house in Kolín, but had to return to Prague after its bombing in early 1945, where he died shortly before the end of the war.

Mathesius was the author of numerous papers on English, Czech and general linguistics. Among other things, he is considered the founder of the theory of the subject-rhema structure and with his work "On the potentiality of language phenomena " ( O potenciálnosti jevů jazykových ) from 1911 as an important forerunner of the Prague linguist circle , which he then co-founded in 1926.

His cousin was the poet, publicist and translator Bohumil Mathesius .

Individual evidence

  1. Václav Stehlík: Stari Friday Men Novodobí a Zpátečníci! , online at: / ...


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