William Gardner Hale

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William Gardner Hale (born February 9, 1849 in Savannah, Georgia , † June 24, 1928 in Stamford, Connecticut ) was an American classical philologist .


Hale studied Classical Philology at Harvard University , where he worked as a Fellow from 1870 to 1871 after completing his bachelor's degree . After a few years as a tutor, he went to Germany in 1876 at the suggestion of his teacher William Watson Goodwin (1831-1912) for a year, where he deepened his studies at the universities of Leipzig and Göttingen . Here he turned particularly to Latin grammar, with which he occupied himself all his life.

Upon his return, Hale continued to work as a tutor at Harvard until he was appointed Professor of Latin at Cornell University in 1880 . In 1892 he moved to the University of Chicago and stayed there until his retirement in 1919. During his time in Chicago, Hale was president of the American Philological Association from 1892 to 1893 and director of the American School of Classical Studies in Rome from 1895 to 1896 . He received his doctorate from Union College (1895), Princeton University (1896), University of St. Andrews (1907) and University of Aberdeen (1907).

Hale trained several generations of Latin teachers and thus ensured the spread of classical studies in the United States. With the Latin grammar he pursued his own method, which became known as psychological syntax . Unlike the previous “metaphysical” or “logical” syntax, he conveyed an intuitive mastery of Latin syntax and applied methods of modern foreign language learning to a “dead” language.

In his research, Hale was particularly concerned with the syntax of the Latin particles and the verbal forms. In a series of essays in 1888/1889 he attacked the views of the Austrian philologist Emanuel Hoffmann . Other philologists for Hale also took part in the following debate, including the grammar school teacher Martin Wetzel, who published an extensive discussion of the dispute in 1892 ( Das Recht in the dispute between Hale and Em. Hoffmann on the tenses and modes in Latin temporal clauses ).


  • Ward W. Briggs : Hale, William Gardner . In: Derselbe (ed.), Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists , Westport, CT / London: Greenwood Press 1994, ISBN 978-0-313245-60-2 . P. 251f.

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