Bogoslav Šulek (born Bohuslav Šulek; April 20, 1816 – November 30, 1895) was a Croatian philologist, historian and lexicographer. He founded much of the Croatian terminology in the areas of social and natural sciences, technology and civilization. He is considered one of the most influential Croatian philologists of all time.
Šulek was a Slovak by birth. He was born in the Slovakian town of Sobotište, where he attended primary school. He studied at the evangelical lyceum in Bratislava. He decided not to become a pastor, but was unable to continue his studies in Jena, so he came to his brother in the Croatian town of Brod na Savi in November 1838. Soon he made contact with Ljudevit Gaj, the central figure of the Croatian Illyrian movement, and in autumn 1839 started working as a printer for Franjo Župan in Zagreb.
He started writing for Gaj's papers in 1841 and was the editor-in-chief of the illegal paper Branislav, printed in Belgrade, in 1844-45. He was the editor of Gaj's Novine Horvatske, Slavonske i Dalmatinske (Paper of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia) from 1846 to 1849, Slavenski jug (Slavic South) in 1849, and Jugoslavenske novine (Yugoslav Paper) in 1850. During the 1850s he wrote many textbooks (e.g. Learning to Read, Children's Primer, Natural Sciences for Primary School, Plant Studies for High School etc.). At the same time, he was writing a German-Croatian dictionary. He also wrote against the aggressive Serbian linguistic policy of the linguist and folklorist Vuk Karadžić.
Defender of Croatian heritage
One of the most important Šulek's articles was Serbs and Croats (1856), published in the Neven magazine on more than 30 pages. That text, combining history, literature and philology, challenged the Greater Serbian positions which was attributing the entire Shtokavian literature to the Serbian linguistic corpus. Those who want to deny the existence of a people should be well-armed with reasons based on the nature of things and evidence from credible historians. The coastal writers call their language Croatian, says Šulek, citing a dozen works mentioning the Croatian language in the title. On the other hand, there are no old books written in Glagolitic or Latin scripts where the writers call their language Serbian; in fact, even the books written in Bosnian Cyrillic call their language Croatian or Slav. Croatian writers could not call their language Serbian because the Serbs used a mixture of Old Church Slavonic, Russian and Serbian during most of their history, while the Shtokavian language "flourished only with the Croats until recently".
From 1858 till 1865, Šulek was the editor of Gospodarski list. He was one of the initiators of Pozor magazine (1867). He was an exceptionally prolific journalist and scientific propagator. In 1868 he issued his most famous political work, Naše pravice. Izbor zakonah, poveljah i spisah, znamenitih za državno pravo kraljevine dalmatinsko-hrvatsko-slavonske od god. 1202 - 1868 (Our Rights. A Selection of Laws, Charters and Documents Important for the State Right of the Kingdom of Dalmatia, Croatia and Slavonia, 1202-1868). He was a member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts and its secretary from 1871 till his death. He was promoted into a doctor of sciences in 1867 on the basis of his study of Ruđer Bošković.
Influence on Croatian terminology
When Croatian again became the official language in 1861 (instead of German), Šulek dedicated much time to create the Croatian scientific terminology. After the Croatian-Hungarian Settlement of 1868, he also created many Croatian military terms. Many of his terms(words) present in Croatian to this day are also present in Serbian and Bosnian
He supported the linguistic principles of the Zagreb school of philology and promoted Croatian linguistic purism. He replaced foreign words with solutions taken from Croatian dialects and other Slavic languages (most often from Slovak and Czech, but also from Russian and Slovenian) and created neologisms. This brought him in conflict with the promoters of the so-called "pure folk language" (the Croatian followers of Karadžić) who criticized his actions and slurred his lexical solutions as "Šulekisms".
The modern Croatian language has retained many words created by Šulek. He formed some crucial parts of the Croatian terminology in the areas of social and natural sciences, technology and urban civilization. For this reason, Šulek is considered one of the most influential Croatian philologists in history.
- "Deutsch-kroatisches Worterbuch - Njemačko-ilirski rječnik", I. - II. (Zagreb, 1860) - German-Croatian Dictionary
- "Hrvatsko-njemačko-talijanski rječnik znanstvenoga nazivlja", I. - II. (Zagreb, 1874/75; reprint: Zagreb, 1995) - Croatian-German-Italian Dictionary of Scientific Terms
- "Jugoslavenski imenik bilja", (Zagreb, 1879.) - Yugoslavian Plant Lexicon
- "Bogoslav Šulek (Subotište u Slovačkoj, 20. IV.1816 - Zagreb, 30. XI. 1895)" (in Croatian). Archived from the original on 7 August 2011.
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