A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject.(September 2017)
Anatoly Liberman (Russian : Анато́лий Си́монович Либерма́н; born 10 March 1937) is a linguist, medievalist, etymologist, poet, translator of poetry (mainly from and into Russian), and literary critic.
Liberman is a professor in the Department of German, Nordic, Slavic and Dutch at the University of Minnesota,where since 1975 he has taught courses on the history of all the Germanic languages and literatures, folklore, mythology, lexicography, European structuralism and Russian formalism. He has published works on Germanic historical phonetics, English etymology, mythology/folklore, the history of philology, and poetic translation. He publishes a blog, "The Oxford Etymologist".
He is an advocate of spelling reform.
Liberman was born in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) on 10 March 1937. His father was killed in action in 1941. He graduated from Leningrad State Herzen Pedagogical Institute (now the Herzen State Pedagogical University) in 1959, and then taught English for three years at a boarding school for underprivileged children in the Leningrad region.
During that time he studied on his own and passed what is known in Russia as the candidate minimum (Germanic philology, the history of English, German and philosophy, that is, Marxism and the history of the Communist Party of the USSR).
After returning to Leningrad in 1962, Liberman taught English at the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute (now Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University) and became an extramural graduate student at Leningrad University.
Liberman's academic adviser was Professor M. I. Steblin-Kamenskij, at that time a Soviet scholar in Old Icelandic literature and Germanic historical phonology. In 1965 he defended his Candidate of Philological Sciences (= PhD) dissertation on a topic of Middle English historical phonology, and in the same year Nikita Khrushchev ordered all the institutes of the Academy of Sciences to open groups for the study of what he called "the Scandinavian experience." Steblin-Kamenskij was invited to head such a group at the Institute of Linguistics and invited Liberman to be his full-time junior assistant. There he stayed until his emigration in 1975. In 1972 he defended his Doctor of Philological Sciences dissertation (= West European habilitation) titled "Icelandic Prosody." At the University of Minnesota since 1975, he spent one year as a Hill Visiting Professor and two years as an associate professor; after that he was promoted to full professorship.
Liberman's main ideas in phonology are as follows: 1) A non-contradictory theory of phonology is probably unattainable, because we lack the means of segmenting the speech current into phonemes. 2) The most adequate model of a phonetic change continuing for centuries, such as apocope and consonant shifts, is that of a change caused by some event and is over once the potential of the initial impulse has been used up. The cause of every major change is another change. 3) Stress is not a force but a privileged position in a word, a position in which some oppositions occur that are not allowed in any other syllable. 4) The greatest phonetic changes in the history of Germanic were the concentration of all distinctive features in the root syllable and consonantal lenition as its consequence. 5) Allophones, that is, the phonetic variants of a phoneme, cannot be phonologized (by definition). 6) In Germanic, systemic changes of short vowels are reactions to changes in long vowels. Likewise, changes of voiced consonants are triggered by changes in voiceless consonants; what appears as voicing is really weakening.
Liberman seeks to build an exhaustive purview of previous conjectures and hypotheses on word origins. His team has collected tens of thousands of articles on etymology from hundreds of journals, book chapters, and Festschriften , which feed his works. His books in this area include Etymology for Everyone: Word Origins and How We Know Them (2005), An analytic dictionary of English etymology: an introduction (2008)and A Bibliography of English Etymology (2009). He has also published articles on individual words and groups of related words.
His poetical works include translations and extended commentary on Mikhail Lermontov, Fyodor Tyutchev, Evgeny Boratynsky, and Shakespeare.
Original poetry has appeared in the journals Vstrechi [Encounters], Poberezh'e [The Coast], Novyi Zhurnal [The New Journal], and Mosty [Bridges].
At the University of Minnesota (a selection): Scholar of the College (1985–88), McKnight fellowship (1994–96), Bush fellowship (1995), Fesler-Lampert Professorship (1999–2002), inclusion in The Wall of Discovery (2006), and an award for distinguished contribution to graduate and professional education (2010). From outside sources (a selection): a fellowship from the American-Scandinavian Foundation (1982), Guggenheim Fellowship (1982), Fulbright research fellowship (1988), NEH Summer Seminars (1980 and 1991), Fellowship at Clare Hall (Cambridge University, 1984), NEH Summer Scholarship (1995), summer scholarship (for research and lectures) from the University of Rome (1995), a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (2001–2002); a certificate and a prize for a meritorious paper at the International Phonetic Congress 1977, Miami Beach (Florida, 1977), The Katharine Briggs Folklore Award by the Folklore Society (1995), the Verbatim Dictionary Society of North America award for best project of the year (1996), MLA's annual prize for "a distinguished bibliography" (2010). Word Origins… was a selection of the Book of the Month Club and three other clubs. In 2014 Liberman was elected President of the English Spelling Society, and in 2015 Fellow of the Dictionary Society of North America. In 1997 a Festschrift was published under the title Germanic Studies in Honor of Anatoly Liberman, NOWELE 31–32.
H, or h, is the eighth letter in the ISO basic Latin alphabet. Its name in English is aitch, or regionally haitch.
A sound change, in historical linguistics, is a change in the pronunciation of a language. A sound change can involve the replacement of one speech sound by a different one or a more general change to the speech sounds that exist, such as the merger of two sounds or the creation of a new sound. A sound change can eliminate the affected sound, or a new sound can be added. Sound changes can be environmentally conditioned if the change occurs in only some sound environments, and not others.
A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins. Syllables are often considered the phonological "building blocks" of words. They can influence the rhythm of a language, its prosody, its poetic metre and its stress patterns. Speech can usually be divided up into a whole number of syllables: for example, the word ignite is made of two syllables: ig and nite.
In Germanic folklore, including Germanic mythology, a dwarf is an entity that dwells in the mountains and in the earth. The entity is associated with wisdom, smithing, mining, and crafting. Dwarfs are sometimes described as short and ugly. However, some scholars have questioned whether this is a later development stemming from comical portrayals of the beings. Dwarfs continue to be depicted in modern popular culture in various media.
Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. Someone who engages in this study is called a linguist. See also the Outline of linguistics, the List of phonetics topics, the List of linguists, and the List of cognitive science topics. Articles related to linguistics include:
Proto-Germanic is the reconstructed proto-language of the Germanic branch of the Indo-European languages.
In phonetics, palatalization or palatization is a way of pronouncing a consonant in which part of the tongue is moved close to the hard palate. Consonants pronounced this way are said to be palatalized and are transcribed in the International Phonetic Alphabet by affixing the letter ⟨ʲ⟩ to the base consonant. Palatalization cannot minimally distinguish words in most dialects of English, but it may do so in languages such as Russian, Mandarin, and Irish.
In phonology, syncope is the loss of one or more sounds from the interior of a word, especially the loss of an unstressed vowel. It is found in both synchronic and diachronic analyses of languages. Its opposite, whereby sounds are added, is epenthesis.
Elfdalian or Övdalian is a North Germanic language spoken by up to 3,000 people who live or have grown up in the locality of Älvdalen, which is located in the southeastern part of Älvdalen Municipality in northern Dalarna, Sweden.
In phonology, epenthesis means the addition of one or more sounds to a word, especially in the beginning syllable (prothesis) or in the ending syllable (paragoge) or in-between two syllabic sounds in a word. The word epenthesis comes from epi- "in addition to" and en- "in" and thesis "putting". Epenthesis may be divided into two types: excrescence for the addition of a consonant, and for the addition of a vowel, svarabhakti or alternatively anaptyxis. The opposite process, where one or more sounds are removed, is referred to as elision.
In phonology, tenseness or tensing is, most broadly, the pronunciation of a sound with greater muscular effort or constriction than is typical. More specifically, tenseness is the pronunciation of a vowel with less centralization, longer duration, and narrower mouth width compared with another vowel. The opposite quality to tenseness is known as laxness or laxing: the pronunciation of a vowel with relatively more centralization, shorter duration, and more widening.
Swedish has a large vowel inventory, with nine vowels distinguished in quality and to some degree quantity, making 18 vowel phonemes in most dialects. Swedish pronunciation of most consonants is similar to that of other Germanic languages. Another notable feature is the pitch accent, which is not found in most European languages.
In phonology, apocope is the loss (elision) of a word-final vowel. In a broader sense, it can refer to the loss of any final sound from a word.
Compensatory lengthening in phonology and historical linguistics is the lengthening of a vowel sound that happens upon the loss of a following consonant, usually in the syllable coda, or of a vowel in an adjacent syllable. Lengthening triggered by consonant loss may be considered an extreme form of fusion. Both types may arise from speakers' attempts to preserve a word's moraic count.
In linguistics, synaeresis is a phonological process of sound change in which two adjacent vowels within a word are combined into a single syllable.
In historical linguistics, transphonologization is a type of sound change whereby a phonemic contrast that used to involve a certain feature X evolves in such a way that the contrast is preserved, yet becomes associated with a different feature Y.
Open syllable lengthening, in linguistics, is the process by which short vowels become long in an open syllable. It occurs in many languages at a phonetic or allophonic level, and no meaningful distinction in length is made. However, as it became phonemic in many Germanic languages, it is especially significant in them, both historically and in the modern languages.
In French spelling, aspirated "h" is an initial silent letter that represents a hiatus at a word boundary, between the word's first vowel and the preceding word's last vowel. At the same time, the aspirated h stops the normal processes of contraction and liaison from occurring.
In linguistics, a surface filter is a type of sound change that operates not at a particular point in time but over a longer period. Surface filters normally affect any phonetic combination that is not permitted according to the language's phonetic rules and so preserve the phonotactics of that language. They are also often a source of complementary distribution between certain sets of sounds.
Ari Hoptman is an American actor, author, and academic, specializing in Germanic etymology, as well as a Marx Brothers historian.