Anatoly Liberman

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Anatoly Liberman (Russian: Анато́лий Симо́нович Либерма́н; born March 10, 1937, Leningrad) is a professor in the Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches courses in linguistics, etymology, and folklore. Liberman is a native of St. Petersburg, Russia. His main graduate works, written under the auspices of the philologist Mikhail Steblin-Kamensky, focused on Middle English and Icelandic phonetics. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1975.


Liberman has written and edited several books and has produced hundreds of smaller works, most of them aimed at a scholarly audience. He wrote Germanic Accentology (1982) and translated and edited Writings on Literature by Nikolai Trubetzkoy, Mikhail Lermontov: Major Poetical Works (1983), and On the Heights of Creation: The Lyrics of Fedor Tyutchev. His scores of articles include "The Phonetic Organization of Early Germanic" (American Journal of Germanic Languages and Literature, 1992) and "Gone with the Wind: More Thoughts on Medieval Farting" (Scandinavian Studies, 1996).

Liberman's primary interest has been the history of English words. In 2005, he published a popular book for lay readers entitled Word Origins... and How We Know Them: Etymology for Everyone (Oxford University Press, 2005). After several years' work, his An Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2008. He has also collected more than 20,000 articles for A Bibliography of English Etymology.

In addition to his scholarly work, Liberman is a poet, writing mostly in Russian, and a translator of Russian poetry.

Liberman was the doctoral adviser of both Ari Hoptman and Fritz Juengling at the University of Minnesota, where Liberman has taught a variety of courses.

Liberman advocates reforming the spelling of English.[1]



  1. ^ "Casting a last spell: After Skeat and Bradley". The Oxford Etymologist. OUP. Retrieved 9 August 2014. 

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