Online Encyclopedia

JOHANN CHRISTOPH ADELUNG (1732-1806)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 190 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHANN CHRISTOPH

ADELUNG (1732-1806)  , German grammarian and philologist, was born at Spantekow, in Pomerania, on the 8th of August 1732, and educated at the public
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schools of
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Anklam and Klosterbergen, and the university of Halle . In 1759 he was appointed professor at the gymnasium of
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Erfurt, but relinquished this situation two years later and went to reside in a private capacity at
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Leipzig, where he devoted him-self to philological researches . In 1787 he received the appointment of
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principal librarian to the elector of Saxony at
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Dresden, where he continued to reside until his
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death on the loth of September 1806 . The writings of Adelung are very voluminous, and there is not one of them, perhaps, which does not exhibit some proofs of the genius, industry and erudition of the author . By means of his excellent gramplars,
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dictionary and various
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works on German style, he contributed greatly towards rectifying the orthography, refining the idiom and fixing the standard of his native tongue . His German dictionary—Grammatisch-kritisches W Oster-bud: der hochdeutschen Mundart (1774–1786)-bears witness to the patient spirit of investigation which Adelung possessed in so remarkable a degree, and to his intimate knowledge of the
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history of the different dialects on which
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modern German is based . No man before Jakob Grimm (q.v.) did so much for the language of Germany . Shortly before his death he issued Mithridates, oder aligemeine Sprachenkunde (1806) . The hint of this ,
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work appears to have been taken from a publication, with a similar title, published by Konrad von Gesner (151&-156.5) in 1555; but the plan of Adelung is much more extensive . Unfortunately he did not live to finish what he had undertaken . The first
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volume, which contains the
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Asiatic
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languages, was published immediately after his death; the other two were issued under the superintendence of Johann Severin Vater (1771–1826) . Of the very numerous works by Adelung the following may be noted: Directorium diplomaticum (
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Meissen, 1802); Deutsche Sprachlehre fib- Schulen (Berlin, 1781), and the periodical, Magazin fur die deutsche Sprache (Leipzig, 1782–1784) .

End of Article: JOHANN CHRISTOPH ADELUNG (1732-1806)
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