Rasmus Rask (1787-1832) and language comparison

  • Viggo Bank Jensen University of Copenhagen
Keywords: Rasmus Rask, comparative linguistics, impact on the history of linguistics, forerunner


the paper deals with the Danish linguist Rasmus Rask (1787-1842) and his principal work Investigation of the Origin of the Old Norse or Icelandic Language (1818) which is gone through rather detailed. Subsequently is discussed the impact of Rask's works on the History of linguistics. it is concluded that Rask has had a great impact on Jacob Grimm, and in general on the comparative and historical phonology, while in grammar he did not influence the first important Franz Bopp work (1816), but to a great extent the development of Bopp’s linguistic ideas. it is also described how Rask while treating the correspondences between the Latin and Italian vowel system not only forestalls Friedrich Diez, but also surpasses him; here too, Rask is a theoretical forerunner, but this analysis does not seem to have had an impact on romance linguistics.