World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Henry M. Hoenigswald

Article Id: WHEBN0025193375
Reproduction Date:

Title: Henry M. Hoenigswald  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Zellig Harris, Linguistic Society of America, List of Guggenheim Fellowships awarded in 1950, Phonological change
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Henry M. Hoenigswald

Henry Max Hoenigswald was born on 17 April 1915 in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) and died on 16 June 2003 in Haverford, Pennsylvania.[1] He was Professor of Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania (1948–85; Emeritus). He married Gabriele Schoepflich in 1944 (she died in 2001; they had two daughters),

He was educated in the German Gymnasium, where he learned the classical languages, and trained as an Indo-Europeanist and a historical and comparative linguist in universities in Munich, Zurich, Padua, and Florence. His refugee status compelled these moves (his grandparents were Jewish, and by 1933 Jews were forbidden to attend German universities).[2] In 1939 he escaped to the United States, where he was at first a research assistant at Yale. He taught at the University of Pennsylvania from 1948 until his retirement in 1985. He was a member of the Linguistic Society of America, of which he was elected President in 1958, and a member of the American Philosophical Society for more than 30 years. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He spent a year at Oxford in 1976 and was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy in 1986.

His arrival in the United States meant not only an end of political oppression but also working contact with scholars who were establishing linguistics as a science, notably Zellig Harris. Deeply familiar with the solid work done by historical linguists, but skeptical by nature,[3] he rapidly came to question their stated rationale and justification for these results,[4] "the gap between substantive practice and theoretical preachment".[5] His work included on the one hand specific penetrating studies in Indo-European and Classical linguistics, and on the other fundamental work in the theory of historical linguistics, some of the first and most lastingly important attempts at formalization of the techniques of historical comparison and reconstruction.

His major work Language change and linguistic reconstruction (Hoenigswald 1960) recapitulates and epitomizes his thinking and his way of working.[6] It exemplifies well several cardinal features of all his work: his conciseness of expression, his formal methods, his recognition that changes, whether in phonology, morphology, or semantics, are changes in the distribution of elements relative to one another, including nil as an element, and his conviction that it is not proper to present historical materials "downward, as history" but rather "upward in time, as inference".[7]

Personally, he was deeply committed to liberal causes, and strongly averse to cant and rhetoric of any kind.[8] His generosity to deserving students "was rewarded with feelings of intellectual admiration and personal warmth toward him"[9] that persist.

Selected writings

There is a complete bibliography at

  • 1937. Su alcuni caratteri della derivazione e della composizione nominale indoeuropea. Rendiconti Istituto Lombardo Lettere n.s. 1:267-274.
  • 1938. Problemi di linguistica umbra—a proposito delle Tabulae Iguvinae editae a Iacobo Devoto. Rivista di Filologia Classica 16:274-294.
  • 1939. Studi sulla punteggiatura nei testi etruschi. Studi Etruschi 12:169-217.
  • 1940. Παν-compounds in early Greek. Language 16:183-187.
  • 1945. Spoken Hindustani, Basic Course. 2 vols. New York: Henry Holt.
  • 1946. Etruscan. In Encyclopedia of Literature, vol. I, ed. J. T. Shipley, pp. 278–279. New York: Philosophical Library.
  • 1952. The phonology of dialect borrowing. Stud. Linguist. 10:1-5.
  • 1953. I fondamenti della storia linguistica e le posizioni neogrammatiche. Lingua Nostra 12:47-50.
  • 1954. Linguistics in the sixteenth century. Libr. Chron. 20:1-4.
  • 1955. Change, analogic and semantic. Indian Linguist. 16:233-236.
  • 1958. A Latin trace of the construction dātā rādhāṃsi. Indian Linguist. 19-20:232-234.
  • 1960. Language change and linguistic reconstruction. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.
  • 1962a. Bilingualism, presumed bilingualism, and diachrony. Anthropol. Linguist. 4:1-5.
  • 1962b. Lexicography and grammar. In Problems in Lexicography, ed. F. W. Housholder, pp. 103–110. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • 1963. On the history of the comparative method. Anthropol. Linguist. 5:1-11.
  • 1964a. Mycenaean augments and the language of poetry. In Mycenaean Studies: Proceedings of the 3rd International Colloquium for My cenaean Studies, ed. E. L. Bennett Jr., pp. 179–182. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
  • 1964b. Graduality, sporadicity, and the minor sound change processes. Phonetica 11:202-215.
  • 1965a. Indo-Iranian evidence. In Evidence for Laryngeals, ed. W. Winter, pp. 93–99. The Hague: Mouton.
  • 1965b. Review: John Lyons, Structural Semantics: An Analysis of Part of the Vocabulary of Plato. Journal of Linguistics, 1:191-196, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • 1966. Criteria for the subgrouping of languages. In Ancient Indo-European Dialects, ed. H. Birnbaum and J. Puhvel, pp. 1–12. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • 1968. A note on overlength in Greek. Word 24:252-254. The syllabaries and Etruscan writing. Incunabula Graeca 25:410-416.
  • 1970. With G. Cardona and A. Senn, eds. Indo-European and Indo Europeans. Haney Foundation Series 9. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • 1973a. Relative chronology—notes on so-called intermediate stages. In Proceedings of the XIth International Congress of Linguists, vol. I, ed. L. Heilmann, pp. 369–373. Bologna: Il Mulino.
  • 1973b. Linguistics. In Dictionary of the history of ideas: studies of selected pivotal ideas, Vol. III. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 61-73.
  • 1974. Internal reconstruction and context. In Historical Linguistics: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Historical Linguistics, vol. II, eds. J. M. Anderson and C. Jones, pp. 189–201. Amsterdam: North Holland.
  • 1977a. Diminutives and tatpuruṣas: The Indo-European trend toward endocentricity. J. Indo-Eur. Stud. 5:9-13.
  • 1977b. Intentions, assumptions, and contradictions in historical linguistics. In Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, ed. R. W. Cole, pp. 168–193. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • 1978a. Adjectives as first compound members in Homer. In Linguistic and Literary Studies in Honor of A. A. Hill, vol. III, Historical and Comparative Linguistics, eds. M. A. Jayazeri, E. C. Polome, and W. Winter, pp. 91–95. The Hague: Mouton.
  • 1978b. Secondary split, typology, and universals. In Recent Developments in Historical Phonology, ed. J. Fisiak, pp. 173–182. The Hague: Mouton.
  • 1979. Ed. The European Background of American Linguistics. Lisse: Foris.
  • 1980a. A reconstruction. In Davis, B. H., and R. O’Cain, eds. First Person Singular: Papers from the Conference on an Oral Archive for the History of American Linguistics, Amsterdam Studies in the Theory and History of Linguistic Science III: Studies in the History of Linguistics, vol. 21. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 21–28.
  • 1980b. Notes on reconstruction, word order, and stress. In Linguistic Reconstruction and Indo-European Syntax, ed. P. Ramat, pp. 69–87. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • 1981. Degrees of genetic relatedness among languages. In Suniti Kuman Chatterji Commemoration Volume, ed. S. Mallik, pp. 113–115. Burdwan: University of Burdwan.
  • 1984. Etymology against grammar in the early 19th century. Histoire, epistemologie, language 6(2):95-100.
  • 1985a. Distinzioni reali e distinzioni chimeriche nella classificazione dei cambiamenti fonologici. In Societa Linguistica Italiana: XVI0 Congresso Internazionale di Studi, ed. L. Agostiniani et al., pp. 111–118. Roma: Bulzoni.
  • 1985b. Sir William Jones and historiography. In For Gordon H. Fairbanks, ed. V. Z. Abson and R. L. Leed, pp. 64–66. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
  • 1986a. Nineteenth-century linguistics on itself. In Studies in the History of Western Linguistics in Honour of R. H. Robins, eds. T. Bynon and F. R. Palmer, pp. 172–188. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 1986b. Some properties of analogic innovations. In Linguistics Across Historical and Geographic Boundaries, vol. 1, eds. D. Kastovsky and A. Szwedek, pp. 357–370. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • 1987a. Bloomfield and historical linguistics. Hist. Ling. 14:73-88.
  • 1987b. Language family trees, topological and metrical. In Biological Metaphor and Cladistic Classification: An interdisciplinary perspective, eds. H. M. Hoenigswald and L. F. Wiener, pp. 257–267. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • 1989a. Language obsolescence and language history: Matters of linearity, leveling, loss, and the like. In Investigating Obsolescence: Studies in Language Contraction and Death, ed. N. C. Dorian, pp. 347–354. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 1989b. Overlong syllables in Rgvedic cadences. J. Am. Orient. Soc. 109:559-563.
  • 1990. Does language grow on trees? Ancestry, descent, regularity. Proc. Am. Philos. Soc. 134(1):10-18.
  • 1992. Comparative method, internal reconstruction, typology. In Reconstructing Language and Culture, eds. E. C. Polome and W. Winter, pp. 23–34. Trends in Linguistics 58. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • 1993. Greco. In Le Lingue Indoeuropée, eds. A. G. Ramat and P. Ramat, pp. 255–288. Bologna: Il Mulino.
  • 1998. Greek. In The Indo-European Languages, eds. A. G. Ramat and P. Ramat, pp. 228–260. London: Routledge. (English version of [1993]).
  • 2000. Historical-comparative grammar. In Morphology: An International Handbook on Inflection and Word Formation, vol. 1, eds. G. Booij, C. Lehmann, and J. Mugdan in collaboration with W. Kesselheim and S. Skopetas, pp. 117–124. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • 2004. Indo-European. In Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages, ed. R. G. Woodard, pp. 534–550. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


  • Swiggers, Pierre (ed.) 1997. Languages, language history, and the history of linguistics: From structure to transformation, between Europe and America. An interview with Henry Hoenigswald. In Languages and Linguists: Aims, perspectives, and duties of linguistics; Les langues et les linguistes: Buts, perspectives et devoirs de la linguistique. Interviews with / Entretiens avec: André-Georges Houdricourt, Henry M. Hoenigswald, Robert H. Robins. Orbis Supplementa, monographies publiées par le Centre Internationale de Dialectologie Generale (Louvain) / Monographs published by the International Center of General Dialectology (Louvain), pp. 41–59.

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.