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Max Julius Friedrich Vasmer (; russian: Максимилиан Романович Фа́смер, translit=Maksimilian Romanovič Fásmer; 28 February 1886 – 30 November 1962) was a Russo-
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo ...

linguist
. He studied problems of
etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English ''The'' () is a grammatical article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identi ...
in
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
,
Finno-Ugric Finno-Ugric ( or ; ''Fenno-Ugric'') or Finno-Ugrian (''Fenno-Ugrian''), is a traditional grouping of all languages in the Uralic language family except the Samoyedic languages. Its formerly commonly accepted status as a subfamily of Uralic is ba ...

Finno-Ugric
and
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...

Turkic
languages and worked on the history of
Slavic
Slavic
,
Baltic Baltic may refer to: Geography Northern Europe * Baltic Sea, a sea in Europe * Baltic region, an ambiguous term referring to the general area surrounding the Baltic Sea * Baltic states (also Baltics, Baltic nations, Baltic countries or Baltic rep ...

Baltic
,
Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran ( fa, جمهوری اسلامی ایران ), is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia ...
, and
Finno-Ugric Finno-Ugric ( or ; ''Fenno-Ugric'') or Finno-Ugrian (''Fenno-Ugrian''), is a traditional grouping of all languages in the Uralic language family except the Samoyedic languages. Its formerly commonly accepted status as a subfamily of Uralic is ba ...
peoples.


Biography

Born to German parents in
Saint Petersburg Saint Petersburg ( rus, links=no, Санкт-Петербург, a=Ru-Sankt Peterburg Leningrad Petrograd Piter.ogg, r=Sankt-Peterburg, p=ˈsankt pʲɪtʲɪrˈburk), formerly known as Petrograd (1914–1924) and later Leningrad (1924–1991), ...

Saint Petersburg
, Vasmer graduated from
Saint Petersburg University St Petersburg University (SPbU, Saint Petersburg State University; russian: СПбГУ, Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет) is a Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), o ...

Saint Petersburg University
in 1907. From 1910, he delivered lectures there as a professor. During the
Russian Civil War , date = October Revolution, 7 November 1917 – Yakut revolt, 16 June 1923{{Efn, The main phase ended on 25 October 1922. Revolt against the Bolsheviks continued Basmachi movement, in Central Asia and Tungus Republic, the Far East th ...
of 1917–1922, he worked in the Universities of Saratov and of
Dorpat Tartu (, South Estonian: ''Tarto'') is the second largest city of Estonia, after Estonia's political and financial capital Tallinn. It is situated southeast of Tallinn and 245 kilometres (152 miles) northeast of Riga, the capital of Latvia. Th ...
(
Tartu Tartu (, South Estonian: ''Tarto'') is the second-largest city in Estonia, after the political and financial capital, Tallinn. It is southeast of Tallinn and 245 kilometres (152 miles) northeast of Riga, the capital of Latvia. Tartu lies on th ...

Tartu
). In 1921, he settled in
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...

Leipzig
, but in 1925 moved to
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...

Berlin
. In 1938–1939, he delivered lectures at
Columbia University Columbia University (also known as Columbia, and officially as Columbia University in the City of New York) is a Private university, private Ivy League research university in New York City. Established in 1754 as King's College on the grounds of ...

Columbia University
in
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
. It was there that he started to work on his ''magnum opus'', the . He delivered the eulogy for Professor
Aleksander Brückner Aleksander Brückner (; 29 January 1856 – 24 May 1939) was a Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a c ...
in Berlin-
Wilmersdorf Wilmersdorf (), an inner-city locality of Berlin, lies south-west of the central city. Formerly a borough by itself, Wilmersdorf became part of the new Boroughs of Berlin, borough of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in Berlin's 2001 administrative refor ...

Wilmersdorf
in 1939 and he took over the chair of Slavistic studies at the
University of Berlin Humboldt University of Berlin (german: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, abbreviated HU Berlin) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) ...
. In 1941 he published the book "The Slavs in Greece" (''Die Slaven in Griechenland'') and in 1944 the book "The Greek loanwords in Serbo-Croatian" (''Die griechischen Lehnwörter im Serbo-Kroatischen''). In 1944, the bombing of Vasmer's house in Berlin destroyed most of his materials. Nevertheless, Vasmer persevered in his work, which was finally published in three volumes by
Heidelberg University } Heidelberg University, officially the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg, (german: Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg; la, Universitas Ruperto Carola Heidelbergensis) is a public university, public research university in Heidelberg, B ...

Heidelberg University
in 1950–1958 as . Vasmer died in
West Berlin West Berlin (german: Berlin (West) or ) was a political enclave An enclave is a territory (or a part of one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is ...
on 30 November 1962. The
Russian Russian refers to anything related to Russia, including: *Russians (русские, ''russkiye''), an ethnic group of the East Slavic peoples, primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries *Rossiyane (россияне), Russian language term ...
translation of Vasmer's dictionary – with extensive commentaries by
Oleg Trubachyov Oleg Nikolayevich Trubachyov (also transliterated as Trubachev or Trubačev, russian: Оле́г Никола́евич Трубачёв; 23 October 1930, in Stalingrad – 9 March 2002, in Moscow Moscow (, ; rus, links=no, Москв ...
– was printed in 1964–1973. , it remains the most authoritative source for Slavic etymology. The Russian version is available on
Sergei Starostin Sergei Anatolyevich Starostin (russian: Серге́й Анато́льевич Ста́ростин; March 24, 1953 – September 30, 2005) was a Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a coun ...
's ''Tower of Babel'' web site. Another monumental work led by Max Vasmer involved the compilation of a multi-volume dictionary of Russian names of rivers and other bodies of water. He initiated an even grander project, completed by a team of workers after his death: the publication of a monumental (11 volumes)
gazetteer A gazetteer is a geographical or used in conjunction with a map or .Aurousseau, 61. It typically contains information concerning the geographical makeup, and physical features of a country, region, or continent. Content of a gazetteer can incl ...

gazetteer
that included virtually all names of populated places in Russia found both in pre-revolutionary and in Soviet sources."Russisches geographisches Namenbuch" (The book of Russian Geographic Names), founded by Max Vasmer. Compiled by Ingrid Coper et al.
Wiesbaden Wiesbaden () is a city in central western Germany and the capital of the state of Hesse. , it had 290,955 inhabitants, plus approximately 21,000 United States citizens (mostly associated with the United States Army). The Wiesbaden urban area i ...

Wiesbaden
, Atlas and Volumes 1–9. O. Harrassowitz, 1964–1981. The additional volume 11 appeared in 1988, , and an additional atlas volume in 1989, .


See also

*
Etymological dictionary An etymological dictionary discusses the etymology Etymology ()The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". ...


References


External links


Query the Russian dictionaries
at
Sergei Starostin Sergei Anatolyevich Starostin (russian: Серге́й Анато́льевич Ста́ростин; March 24, 1953 – September 30, 2005) was a Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a coun ...
'
''Tower of Babel''
{{DEFAULTSORT:Vasmer, Max 1886 births 1962 deaths People from Saint Petersburg People from Sankt-Peterburgsky Uyezd Russian people of German descent Etymologists Linguists from Germany Linguists from Russia Russian language Knights Commander of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Corresponding Members of the USSR Academy of Sciences Foreign Members of the USSR Academy of Sciences Members of the German Academy of Sciences at Berlin 20th-century linguists Columbia University faculty