Paul Ariste

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Paul Ariste (3 February 1905 – 2 February 1990) was an Estonian linguist renowned for his studies of the Finno-Ugric languages (especially Estonian and Votic), Yiddish[1] and Baltic Romani language.

He was born as Paul Berg, in Torma Parish, Governorate of Livonia, Russian Empire, but in 1927 Estonized his name to Ariste. He graduated from the University of Tartu and subsequently worked with it. Ariste wrote his M.A. thesis ("Eesti-rootsi laensõnad eesti keeles") on Swedish – viz. Estonian Swedish dialect – loanwords in Estonian, his doctoral thesis ("Hiiu murrete häälikud") treated the Hiiumaa dialect of Estonian language. From 1945 to 1946, Ariste was imprisoned by the Soviet authorities (for having been member of Veljesto, a student association in independent Estonia)[2]

He was the head of the Finno-Ugrian Department at the University of Tartu and one of the two most instrumental personalities in reviving Soviet Finno-Ugrian studies.[3][4] Ariste founded the journal Sovetskoye finnougrovedeniye (Советское финноугроведение; Soviet Finno-Ugric Studies, later renamed Linguistica Uralica).

He was also a notable Esperantist, and a member of the Academy of Esperanto between 1967-76.[5] He was also listed in a year 2000 issue of the Esperanto magazine La Ondo among the 100 most eminent Esperantists.[6]

He died in Tartu, aged 84.


  1. ^ Verschik, Anna (1999). The Yiddish language in Estonia: Past and present. Journal of Baltic Studies 30.2, 117-128.
  2. ^ Lukas, Jaan (2005). Paul Ariste — Torma vallast võrsunud legendaarne keelemees Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine. Vooremaa : Torma Valla Teataja #1(29), January 25, 2005.
  3. ^ Domokos, Péter (1978). Uralic Studies and the Research of Literatures in Uralic Languages. Neohelicon 6.1, 9-60. P. 24
  4. ^ Taagepera, Rein (2001). Eastern Finno-Ugrian Cooperation and Foreign Relations. Nationalities Papers 29.1, 181-199.
  5. ^ Actoj de la Akademio (Acts of the Academy) 1963-67
  6. ^ 100 eminentaj esperantistoj Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine list from La Ondo (2000: 3).

Further reading[edit]

  • Ariste, Paul (1939). A quantitative language. Proceedings of the 3rd International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Ghent. P. 276-280.
  • Ariste, Paul (1953). Eesti keele foneetika [Phonetics of Estonian]. Tallinn: Eesti Riiklik Kirjastus.
  • Ariste, Paul (1960). Vadjalaste laule. Tallinn.
  • Ariste, Paul (1968). A Grammar of the Votic Language. Bloomington: Indiana University. ISBN 978-0-87750-024-7
  • Ariste, Paul (1981). Keelekontaktid: Eesti keele kontakte teiste keeltega [Language contacts: Contacts of Estonian with other languages]. Tallinn: Valgus.
  • Viitso, Tiit-Rein (2005). Paul Ariste 100. Linguistica Uralica No 1/2005, 1-3.
  • Viitso, Tiit-Rein (2005). Some Comments about Paul Ariste's Doctoral Dissertation on Phonetics of Hiiumaa Estonian Dialects. Linguistica Uralica No 1/2005, 4-19.

External links[edit]