The New International Encyclopædia/Becker, Karl Ferdinand (philologist)

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BECKER, Karl Ferdinand (1775-1849). A German philologist, born at Lieser, Prussia. He studied at the University of Göttingen, became a physician at Offenbach in 1815, and there opened a small private school. Here his work as an instructor led him to make researches in philology, which for a time met with considerable recognition. His view was that all languages are subject to certain logical and philosophical principles, and that thus a science of comparative philology might be arrived at by a process of deduction. This method was later largely discredited by the investigations of Jakob Grimm and others, whereby comparative philology is based on principles of history and ethnology and is attained inductively. Becker's works include: Deutsche Wortbildung (1824), Ausführliche deutsche Grammatik (3 parts, 1836-39), and Der deutsche Stil (1848; 3d ed. revised by Lyon, 1884). Consult Helmsdörfer, Becker der Grammatiker (Frankfort, 1854).