Ljudevit Gaj

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Ljudevit Gaj
Ljudevit Gaj (Knjižnica Gajeva 1875).png
Born (1809-08-08)8 August 1809
Krapina, Kingdom Croatia, (Austria-Hungary)
Died 20 April 1872(1872-04-20) (aged 62)
Zagreb, Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, Austria-Hungary
Residence Zagreb, Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia, Austria-Hungary
Citizenship Austria-Hungary
Known for Gaj's Latin alphabet, Illyrian Movement

Ljudevit Gaj (pronounced [ʎûdeʋit ɡâːj]; 8 August 1809 – 20 April 1872), born Ludwig Gay,[1][2] was a Croatian linguist, politician, journalist and writer. He was one of the central figures of the pan-Slavist Illyrian Movement.

Biography[edit]

Origin[edit]

He was born in Krapina (then in the Varaždin County, Kingdom of Croatia, (Austria-Hungary)), on August 8, 1809. His father Johann Gay was a German immigrant from Hungarian Slovakia, and his mother was Juliana née Schmidt, the daughter of a German immigrant arriving in the 1770s.[3][4]

Orthography and Other Work[edit]

Brief Basics of the Croatian-Slavonic Orthography (1830)

Gaj started publishing very early; his 36-page booklet on stately manors in his native district, written in his native German, appeared already in 1826 as Die Schlösser bei Krapina.[5][6]

In Buda in 1830 Gaj's Latin alphabet was published [7][8] ("Brief Basics of the Croatian-Slavonic Orthography"), which was the first common Croatian orthography book (after the works of Ignjat Đurđević and Pavao Ritter Vitezović). The book was printed bilingually, in Croatian and German. The Croatians used the Latin alphabet, but some of the specific sounds were not uniformly represented. Gaj followed the example of Pavao Ritter Vitezović and the Czech orthography, using one letter of the Latin script for each sound in the language. He used diacritics and the digraphs lj and nj.

The book helped Gaj achieve nationwide fame. In 1834 he succeeded where fifteen years before Đuro Matija Šporer had failed, i.e. obtaining an agreement from the royal government of the Habsburg Monarchy to publish a Croatian daily newspaper. He was known as an intellectual leader thereafter. On 6 January 1835, Novine Horvatske ("The Croatian News") appeared, and on 10 January it got the literary addition Danicza horvatzka, slavonzka y dalmatinzka ("The Croatian, Slavonian, and Dalmatian Daystar"). The "Novine Horvatske" were printed in Kajkavian dialect until the end of that year, while "Danica" was printed in Shtokavian dialect along with Kajkavian.

In early 1836 the publications' names were changed to Ilirske narodne novine ("The Illyrian People's News") and Danica ilirska ("The Illyrian Morning Star") respectively. This was because historians at the time hypothesised Illyrians had been Slavic and were the direct forefathers of the present-day South Slavs.

Aside from all this Gaj was a writer also. The most popular poem of that time was "Još Horvatska ni propala" ("Croatia is not in ruin yet"), written in 1833.

Death[edit]

Gaj died in Zagreb Kingdom Croatia, (Austria-Hungary) in 1872 at the age of 62.

Linguistic legacy[edit]

Main article: Gaj's Latin alphabet

The Latin alphabet used in the Croatian language is credited to Gaj's Kratka osnova Hrvatskog pravopisa. The Latin alphabet (gajica) is also used for Serbian when written in Latin, the Cyrillic counterpart is called vukovica, after contemporary linguist Vuk Karadžić. The Slovenian alphabet, introduced in the mid-1840s, is also a variation of Gaj's Latin alphabet (the only difference is the lack of the letters ć and đ).

Personal[edit]

He married 26-year-old Paulina Krizmanić, niece of an abbott, in 1842 at Marija Bistrica. They had five children: daughter Ljuboslava, and sons Velimir, Svetoslav, Milivoje, and Bogdan.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ According to Djuro Šurmin: Hrvatski preporod, vol I-II, Zagreb, 1903)[1], [2]
  2. ^ "Koha Online Catalog MARC Details for Record No. 27429". Koha.ffzg.hr. 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2010-05-02. 
  3. ^ Traian Stoianovich (1994). Balkan Worlds: The First and Last Europe. M.E. Sharpe. p. 282. ISBN 9780765638519. 
  4. ^ Discourses of collective identity in Central and Southeast Europe (1770-1945), Vol. 2, by Balázs Trencsényi and Michal Kopeček
  5. ^ "Die Schloesser bei Krapina". Koha Online Catalog: ISBD View. Library of the Faculty of Philosophy, Zagreb. UDC: 94(497.5)-2. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  6. ^ Đuro Šurmin (1904). Hrvatski Preporod. p. 121. ISBN 9781113014542. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  7. ^ Kratka osnova horvatsko-slavenskoga pravopisanja, poleg mudroljubneh, narodneh i prigospodarneh temeljov i zrokov
  8. ^ Kratka osnova horvatsko-slavenskoga pravopisaňa
  9. ^ "Krapinski Vjesnik". Godina VI. Broj 58. Studeni 2009. ISSN 1334-9317