Karl Verner, world-famous linguist – a former student at the Aarhus Cathedral School. Part 4

karlverner

Lingoblog is celebrating the summer with a biography about the world-famous linguist Karl Verner in four parts. In case you missed the first three parts, follow the links here, here and here. Look forward to many more interesting posts after the summer break.

Professor in Copenhagen

When Karl Verner’s teacher, Professor Smith, died in 1881, Verner decided despite great hestitation to apply for a position at Copenhagen University as an associate professor in Slavic studies. From April 1888 he was appointed extraordinary professor. The same year he was – reluctantly – made part of The Royal Danish Society of Sciences, even though he had despised fancy company throughout his life. He preferred the company of the common people …

Karl Verner, world-famous linguist – a former student from Aarhus Cathedral School. Part 3

karlverner

Lingoblog is celebrating the summer with a biography of the world-famous linguist Karl Verner in four parts. In case you missed the first two parts, you can follow this link and this link. Don’t forget to read the last part of the series next week.

Back to Aarhus – the location of the great discovery

After finishing his studies, Karl Verner had to return to his hometown Aarhus. There were no financial possibilities for him to stay in Copenhagen. In the Aarhusian carpenter home, Karl Verner had to manage with his family’s help. He earned a bit with bookkeeping and administration for the family store. But most of all, he spent his time on his own studies. In a …

Karl Verner, world-famous linguist – an former student of Aarhus Cathedral School. Part 2

karlverner

Lingoblog is celebrating the summer with a biography of the world-famous linguist Karl Verner in four parts. In case you missed the first part of the series, you can follow this link. Read along next week where you can read more about Verner’s professional life.

Shortly after making his discovery, Verner shared it with Vilhelm Thomsen (1842-1927) who was an editor for a Danish scientific journal. A linguist himself, Thomsen later became an internationally highly regarded specialist within the field of Indo-European linguistics. He thought the discovery to be true and encouraged Verner to send a manuscript to a German journal so that the groundbreaking discovery could be distributed to a larger audience. Because of this, Karl Verner had …

Karl Verner, world-famous linguist – a former student from Aarhus Cathedral School. Part 1

karlverner

Few people who walk into the buildings of Aarhus Cathedral School, the red and the gray, are aware that someone who once spent many hours studying here went on to being world famous. And even better that the basis of this fame was founded at the Cathedral School, in an area of study unknown to most people.

Few of the students rushing along Vestergade in Aarhus on their way to school even pay attention to the memorial plaque on the gray house number 5: “The linguist Karl Verner 7th of March 1846 – 5th of November 1896 lived here from 1851 to 1875”. Today there is a shoe store and a fur store on the ground floor, but …

How does Lingua Franca induce loneliness? Thoughts upon reading Nolan’s 2020 “The Elusive Case of Lingua Franca”

340px Linguafranca

How would it be if people of all nations spoke but one language? If the world had a universal tongue so that all people, regardless of their mother tongues, their cultures, and their religions, could easily and readily communicate? And what if it took very little effort to learn this language? A code where all language borders dissolve, and the world is without misunderstanding: a true lingua franca, no less.

This dream is not a new one. As Umberto Eco for instance has eloquently shown in his book “The Search for the Perfect Language”, the romantic notion of a universal language has been around for millennia, and it was highly popular in Europe throughout Renaissance and then Enlightenment. In the …

African languages in the 1700s Danish West Indies

voyages slave routes

Most of the Danish West Indian population during the colonial era did not come from Denmark, but had African roots. Even though the African languages only survived as traces in the creoles of the islands, we know that they were used (recessively) in the Virgin Islands for centuries. Danish slave ships transported around 100,000 Africans to the West Indies between 1673 and 1807, and census data from the Danish National Archives (Rigsarkivet) shows that in 1841 – just seven years before the emancipation – close to 10 percent of the unfree population on Saint Croix was born in Africa.

So, which African languages were spoken in the former Danish West Indies?

Since there are somewhere between 1,500 and …