Carl Marstrander

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Carl Johan Sverdrup Marstrander (1883-1965) was a Norwegian linguist, known for his work on the Irish language.[1] His works, largely written in Norwegian, on the Celtic and Norse components in Norwegian culture, are considered important for modern Norway.[2]


He was a student of Sophus Bugge and Alf Torp, and spent time in Ireland from 1907, studying on Great Blasket Island with Tomás Ó Criomhthain,[3][4] and then teaching at the School of Irish Learning in 1910. From 1913 to 1954 he was Professor in Celtic languages at the University of Oslo.[1] During the German occupation of Norway he was jailed several times.[5] He influenced later linguists, including Alf Sommerfelt and Carl H. J. Borgstrøm.[6]

Scholarly work[edit]

In 1913 he began the actual publication of the long-projected historical Dictionary of the Irish Language.[7] He is also known for his writings on the history of the Isle of Man, [8] and for securing support and recognition for the Manx historian J. J. Kneen.[9] He made pioneering sound recordings of the Manx language, at a time when few fluent native speakers survived.[10][11]

He theorised a North Italian or Etruscan origin for the runes. This was, however, partly based on an artefact known now to have been faked.[12][13]