Sadock Colloquium

December 6
Classics 110
University of Chicago
Saamuali: Kalaallit Nunaata Oqaatsinik Silatoorurorujussua, or Samuel Kleinschmidt: The Linguistic Genius of Greenland
Samuel Petrus Kleinschmidt was a homespun (or home harpooned) linguistic genius born to Moravian missionaries in Greenland in 1814. He published two major linguistic works, an 1851 grammar of Greenlandic Inuit in German and a Greenlandic to Danish dictionary in 1871. In the former work Kleinschmidt discovered the phoneme, recognized ergativity, provided an account of split ergativity that employed parallel systems of morphosyntactic and semantic structure, among other things. My talk will explain the ways in which a man in a skin anorak anticipated linguistic theory that took a century or more to rediscover.