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Hermann Osthoff

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Title: Hermann Osthoff  
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Subject: Karl Brugmann, Neogrammarian, Hermann Usener, Historical linguists, Indo-Europeanists
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Hermann Osthoff

Hermann Osthoff (18 April 1847, Billmerich – 7 May 1909, Heidelberg) was a German linguist. He was involved in Indo-European studies and the Neogrammarian school. He is known primarily for formulating Osthoff's law, but also published widely on Indo-European word-formation and morphology.


Osthoff studied Classical Philology, Germanics, Sanskrit and Comparative Linguistics in Berlin, Tübingen and Bonn. In 1869 he was awarded his doctorate in Bonn. During his time in that city he became a member of the Burschenschaft Alemannia of Bonn. From 1870 onwards, he taught in Kassel. In 1875 he successfully completed his postdoctoral 'Habilitation' in Leipzig, and in 1877 he was named Extraordinary Professor of Comparative Linguistics and Sanskrit at Heidelberg. The following year, he was granted full professorship.

The main focus of his research was in Indo-European languages. Along with Karl Brugmann and August Leskien Osthoff was a significant figure in the founding of the Neogrammarians.

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