1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schleicher, August

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SCHLEICHER, AUGUST (1821-1868), German philologist, was born at Meiningen on the 19th of February 1821, the son of a medical practitioner. He attended (1835-1840) the gymnasium at Coburg. In the autumn of 1840 he entered the university of Leipzig as a student of theology, but exchanged Leipzig in the spring of 1841 for Tübingen. Here he remained two years, and under the influence of the famous orientalist Ewald, relinquished the study of theology for that of languages. Proceeding to the university of Bonn in 1843, he took his doctor's degree in 1846 and established himself as Privatdozent for comparative philology. In 1850 he was appointed extraordinary professor of classical philology at the university of Prague, and in 1853 was advanced as ordinary professor to the chair of German and comparative philology and Sanskrit. While at Prague he commenced the study of Slavonic languages, and with the assistance of the Vienna academy of sciences undertook in 1852 a journey of scientific research into Prussian Lithuania, the fruits of which were the first scientific examination and description of the character of the Lithuanian language. In 1857 he became professor of philology at Jena, where he lived and worked until his death on the 6th of December 1868. Next to Franz Bopp (q.v.), the founder on the science of language, no German savant left a more enduring stamp of his personality upon this science than did Schleicher.

His first scientific work, Zur vergleichenden Sprachgeschichte (1848), was followed by Die Sprachen Europas (1850); but the book by which he is best known is Kompendium der vergleichenden Grammatik der indogermanischen Sprachen (2 pts., 1861, 1864; 4th ed., 1876), and a supplementary volume, Indogermanische Chrestomathie (1869). Among his minor writings are “Zur Morphologie der Sprache” (in the Mémoires de l'académie de St. Petersbourg, 1859); Die Darwinsche Theorie und die Sprachwissenschaft (1863, new ed. 1873), Über die Bedeutung der Sprache für die Naturgeschichte des Menschen (1865); while in the department of Slavonic and Lithuanian languages the following may be mentioned: Formenlehre der kirchen-slavischen Sprache (1852); Handbuch der litauischen Sprache (with grammar, reader and glossary, 1856-1857). Besides Lithuanian legends he published an edition of Christian Donaleitis' Litauische Dichtungen (1865).

See S. Lefmann, August Schleicher (1870) and Zeitschrift für vergleichende Sprachforschung, vol. xviii.