Franz Bopp

Franz Bopp ( born September 14, 1791 in Mainz, † October 23, 1867 in Berlin) was a German linguist and Sanskrit researchers. He is considered the founder of the historical-comparative Indo-European linguistics.

Life and work

Bopp moved on with his parents to Aschaffenburg, where his high school teacher Karl Windisch man in him aroused interest in oriental studies. Both Friedrich Schlegel read about the language and wisdom of the Indians, which caused a great sensation. 1812 Franz Bopp went to Paris. Here, in its dealings with Antoine- Léonard de Chezy, Silvestre de Sacy, August Wilhelm Schlegel and others, matured using the local books and manuscript collections his groundbreaking treatise On the Conjugationssystem the Sanskrit language in comparison with that of the Greek, Latin, Persian and Germanic language that appeared in Frankfurt am Main with a recommendatory preface of his teacher Windischmann 1816. This style of not even 160 pages marked the beginning of Indo-European Studies as a science; Franz Bopp is regarded as its founder.

In Conjugationssystem Bopp provided the basis of the verbal structures of these languages ​​the methodological evidence for their genetic relationship, the English orientalist William Jones had first postulated. Later he extended the circle of Indo-European languages ​​to the Slavic, Lithuanian, Albanian and Armenian.

By King Maximilian I of Bavaria, he was the means to go to London. Here he made ​​the acquaintance with the then Prussian ambassador Wilhelm von Humboldt, who became his disciple in Sanskrit. Bopp expanded its conjugation to a comprehensive well as the declination English presentation and gave the text with a Latin translation of Nala, an episode from the Mahabharata (London 1819), out.

After returning to Bavaria, he was on Humboldt's instigation in 1821 as an associate professor at the University of Berlin, in 1822 a member of the Academy of Sciences and in 1825 a full professor of oriental literature and general linguistics in Berlin. Since 1857 he was a foreign member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. He and his family moved into an apartment in Behrenstraße 64 in Berlin Friedrichstadt.

His overall activity, conquered a voice circuit after another in numerous monographs, culminated in 1833 in the publication of comparative grammar of the Sanskrit, Zend, Greek, Latin, Lithuanian, Gothic and German (Berlin 1833-52, 6 vols, 3rd edition 1868-71, 3 vols; into English in 1866 by Michel Bréal translated into French ).

In addition, Bopp wrote a Comprehensive Teaching Building of the Sanskrit Language (Berlin 1828), followed by the Latin Grammatica Critica Linguae sanscritae (Berlin 1829-32 ) and the excellent also by their practical arrangement Critical grammar of the Sanskrit language in a shorter version (Berlin 1834, 4th Edition 1868) joined.

The glossary sanscritum (Berlin 1830, 3rd edition 1866) yielded sufficient material for the first reading of Sanskrit and a corresponding language- comparative glossary. The Mahābhārata he took Nala and Damayanti except the edited with care episodes Indralokāgamanam. Arjuna journey to Indra's heaven, and the flood, along with three others of the most important episodes of the Mahabharata.

His other writings include:

  • Vocalismus, or spoke comparative reviews, Berlin 1836 ( digitized )
  • About the Celtic languages ​​, Berlin 1839
  • About the relationship of the Malayo- Polynesian languages ​​with the Indo-European, Berlin 1841
  • About the Caucasian members of the Indo -European language tribe, Berlin 1847
  • About the language of the ancient Prussia, Berlin 1853
  • Comparative Accentuationssystem, Berlin 1854
  • About the Albanian in his family relations, Berlin 1855

May 16th 1866, celebrated as the 50th anniversary of the publication of his conjugation festive. At the same time the day was used to establish a special foundation, which Bopp Foundation. Their financing was provided by contributions from the German princes, the philologists of the German states, but at the end of the world.

He was buried in the Trinity Cemetery II in Berlin -Kreuzberg. His final resting place will receive an honorary grave of Berlin. On the grave stone is a relief portrait of Bopp.


Franz Bopp was one of the first thirty knights of the civilian class of the Pour le Mérite ( Pour le Mérite for Arts and Sciences ), which was donated by Frederick William IV in 1842. In Aschaffenburg, Berlin- Kreuzberg and Mainz- Neustadt Boppstraßen were named after him.