Gertsenberg Leonard Georgievich


    L.G. Herzenberg was born on 21.06.1934 in Liepāja (Latvia). He spent his childhood and teenage years with his family in exile in Siberia and later studied at the Iranian Department of the Oriental Faculty of the LGU (Leningrad State University) in 1956-1961. In 1962, he became a postgraduate student of the Leningrad Department of the Institute of Linguistics of the USSR Academy of Sciences (under the supervision of Prof. I. M. Tronsky) and, after graduation, continued as a fellow at the same institute (now, the ILS RAS).

    In 1966, H. defended his Ph.D. dissertation Yazyk khotanosakskikh buddiyskikh pamiatnikov [The language of Khotanese Buddhist monuments] in two volumes (of 504 and 142 pages, respectively). He was awarded the Dr. of Linguistics title for his 1983 dissertation Voprosy rekonstruktsii indoyevropeyskoy prosodiki [Indo-European prosody: problems of reconstruction]. A professor as of 1993, he became a leading researcher of the ILS RAS as of 1988.

    H.’s scientific interests covered an unusually broad range of issues including various aspects of Indo-European studies such as reconstruction of the Indo-European vocalism based on segment vs. prosodic level interaction; the Indo-European word and its morphological structure; the trends and mechanisms of morphology evolvement; and etymology problems. H. devoted a lot of time and effort to his fundamental work Ētimologicheskiy slovar persidskogo yazyka [An Etymological Dictionary of Persian] which was designed in an electronic format and was to integrate both Western and Oriental linguistic traditions.

    As of 1969, H. gave a several-years-long lecture course at the LGU Chair for General Linguistics. Apart from introductory information, his lecture cycle Introduction into Indo-European Studies included special courses in comparative Indo-European accentology and in analyses of ancient Indian, Hettic, Celtic and other texts with Indo-European comments. Practically all mid- and older-generation linguists from St. Petersburg and other Russian and former Soviet cities, variously involved with Indo-European problematics, have attended this school. H. was widely known as a brilliant lecturer and expert in Indo-European studies in many countries where he was invited as a lecturer/contributor. These include Germany (Berlin, Hamburg, Bamberg), U.S.A. (New York, Cambridge, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Prinston, Washington DC, Seattle, Eugene, Berkeley, Davis, Los Angeles, Saint Louis, New Orleans, Tucson, Chicago), Spain (Salamanca, Madrid, Sevilla, Malaga, Valladolid, Cuenca), The Netherlands (Leiden, Utrecht, Amsterdam), Italy (Catania, Palermo, Cosenza, Naples, Rome), Great Britain (Oxford), Austria (Vienna), Iran (Tehran, Qum, Isfahan), Sweden (Uppsala, Stockholm), etc. In 1992, H. was elected a Corresponding Member of the Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente.