Josef Jungmann

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For the Olympic fencer, see Josef Jungmann (fencer).
Josef Jungmann

Josef Jungmann (16 July 1773 in Hudlice, near Beroun – 14 November 1847 in Prague) was a Bohemian poet and linguist, and a leading figure of the Czech National Revival. Together with Josef Dobrovský, he is considered to be a creator of the modern Czech language.

Life[edit]

Jungmann was the sixth child (out of ten) of a cobbler. His father was of a Bohemian German descent and his mother was a local Czech woman. That's way their children could speak both language as well. In his youth, he wanted to become a priest. After he completed grammar school in 1788-1792 however, he went on to study Philosophy and Law. Beginning in 1799, he started teaching at a high school ("Gymnasium") in Litoměřice (Leitmeritz), which had a German majority at that time. In 1815, he moved to Prague, where he worked until 1845 in Old Town Academic Grammar School as a teacher of Czech. He earned a doctorate in Philosophy and Mathematics in 1817; he was a dean of the Faculty of Arts in 1827 and 1838. In 1840, he became a rector of the Charles University of Prague.

Work[edit]

Jungmann was a rigorous advocate of the rebirth of written Czech language. In contrast to his teacher, Josef Dobrovský, he also wrote his works in Czech. In 1805, he published a translation of Chateaubriand's "Atala". By this, he intended to prove that the Czech language is suitable for complicated artistic texts. Later, he published translations of Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Friedrich Schiller and John Milton. Jungmann’s original poems are few, but include two early Revival sonnets and the short narrative poem Oldřich a Božena.

In following years, he published a series of polemic texts, most notably the "Talks on Czech Language". In 1820, he published "Slovesnost", which was a kind of a stylistic textbook. In 1825, a "History of Czech literature" followed.

His most important work is the Czech-German dictionary in five volumes (1834–39). In this dictionary, he laid out the basis for the modern Czech vocabulary. In order to achieve the stylistic range of vocabulary he desired, for poetic effect, and in order to expand the lexical resources of Czech, Jungmann revived archaic words, for which he studied historical documents, or borrowed from other Slavic languages, and created neologisms. Many of his words became a permanent part of the language.

Jungmannova Street and Jungmannovo náměstí (Jungmann's Square) in Prague are named after him; the square contains a large statue of Jungmann.[1]

Literature[edit]

  • Antibohemia, 1814
  • Historie literatury české aneb Soustavný přehled spisů českých, s krátkou historií národu, osvícení a jazyka, 1825
  • Krok
  • Nepředsudečné mínění o české prozódii, 1804
  • O jazyku českém, 1806
  • O klasičnosti literatury a důležitosti její
  • Oldřich a Božena, 1806
  • Rozmlouvání o jazyku českém
  • Slovesnost aneb Sbírka příkladů s krátkým pojednáním o slohu, 1820
  • Slovník česko-německý, 1834-39 (5 dílů)
  • Slovo ke statečnému a blahovzdělanému Bohemariusovi, 1814
  • Zápisky, 1871

Biographies[edit]

  • Emanuel Chalupný: Jungmann, Prag 1909
  • Julius Dolanský: Jungmannův odkaz (Z dějin české slovesnosti), Prag 1948

References[edit]

  1. ^ Insight City Guide: Prague, 2006, p. 152