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Vladimir I. Georgiev

Vladimir Ivanov Georgiev (1908–1986) was a prominent Bulgarian linguist, philologist, and educational administrator.[1]


Born in the village Gabare, near Byala Slatina Vladimir Georgiev graduated philology at the Sofia University (1930). He specialized Indo-European, Slavic and general linguistics at the University of Vienna (1933–1934), and later at the universities of Berlin (1935–1936), Florence (1939–1940) and Paris (1946–1947). Assistant Professor at Sofia University (1931–1941), Associated Professor (1936–1945), Professor (1945), head of the department of general and comparative-historical linguistics at the Faculty of History and Philology at Sofia University (1948–1974), Dean of the Faculty of Philology (1947–1948), Vice-Rector (1948–1951), Rector (1951–1956). Director of the Institute for Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1951–1957), Secretary of the Department of Linguistics, Literature and Art Studies (1956–1963), Vice-President of the Academy of Sciences (1959–1972), Director of the United Center for Language and Literature (from 1972). Chairman of the International Committee of Slavic Studies (1958–1963, since 1963 - Vice-President), President of the Bulgarian National Committee of Slavic Studies (since 1955). President of the International Association for the Study of Southeast Europe (1965–1967). Member of the Bureau of the Governing Board of the International Committee for Mycenology. Chief. editor of the "Short Encyclopedia of Bulgaria" (1962–1969), an encyclopedia "AZ" (1974), "Encyclopedia of Bulgaria" (1978). Editor of the magazine "Balkan Linguistics." Academician (1952). Honorary Doctor of Humboldt University in Berlin (1960) and Charles University in Prague (1968). Corresponding Member of the French Academy of Sciences (1967), the Finnish Academy of Sciences (1966), Saxon Academy of Sciences in Leipzig (1968), the Belgian Academy of Sciences (1971), Athens Academy of Sciences (1977).

Georgiev developed the problems of the Balkan linguistics. He distinguished the Thracian and Dacian from Phrygian, he determined also the location of the Thracian and Illyrian among other Indo-European languages. Based on a new application of comparative historical method he established the existence of an unknown Indo-European language, the Pelasgian. Georgiev is one of the first to contribute to the understanding of Minoan letters. Established by Georgiev situations were further developed by many scientists (Brandenstein, Van Vindekens, Carnot, Merling, Haas etc.). He made multiple contributions to the field of Thracology, including a linguistic interpretation of an inscription discovered at the village of Kyolmen in the Shoumen district of northeastern Bulgaria.[2] In the 1960s, Georgiev examined the names of the twenty-six largest rivers of central and eastern Europe. He suggested that the names were reconstructible to Proto-Indo-European and that the Indo-European homeland was delimited on the west by the Rhine river and to the east by the Don river.[3]

He also proposed that the Etruscan language was related to Hittite,[4] a theory which is not generally accepted by scholars.


  1. ^ Office of the Foreign Secretary, p. 15.
  2. ^ Ivanov, p. 8. "Since we have just spoken in the same breath of the Thracians and the Etruscans, in connection with their language and the writing they used, let us refer, even though quite briefly, to the importance of the achievements of Bulgarian linguist Vladimir Georgiev in Thracology. The reference is more specifically to his interpretation of the inscription discovered several years ago at the village of Kyolmen (Shoumen district, North-western Bulgaria)."
  3. ^ Curtius, Weil, Tytler, Scaglione, Wilbur, and Huntsman, p. lxvi. The late 1960's saw the reinterpretation of Krahe's 'Old European' river names. The Bulgarian linguist, Vladimir Georgiev, examined the names of the twenty-six largest rivers of central and eastern Europe and found all of them be reconstructible to PIE. An examination of the large rivers outside this central core, e.g., Siene, Po, Kama, Ural showed the names to be either non-Indo-European or late Indo-European. Therefore, Georgiev concluded that the IE homeland was delimited on the west by the Rhine and on the east by the river Don (Georgiev 1966).
  4. ^ "Hethitisch und Etruskisch: die hethitische Herkunft der etruskischen Sprache", Sofia 1962.


  • Office of the Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Sciences (U.S.). The Eastern European Academies of Sciences: A Directory, 1963 (original from the University of Michigan).
  • Ivanov, Teofil. Antique Tombs in Bulgaria. Sofia Press, 1980 (original from the University of Michigan).
  • Georg Curtius, Henri Weil, Alexander Fraser Tytler, Aldo D. Scaglione, Terence H. Wilbur, and Jeffrey F. Huntsman. The Lautgesetz-controversy. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1978. ISBN 90-272-0871-9 [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK]

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