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was a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...
philologist, born at Colmar
Colmar is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France.It is the capital of the department. Colmar is also the seat of the highest jurisdiction in Alsace, the appellate court....
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...
Having held appointments at Douai
-Main sights:Douai's ornate Gothic style belfry was begun in 1380, on the site of an earlier tower. The 80 m high structure includes an impressive carillon, consisting of 62 bells spanning 5 octaves. The originals, some dating from 1391 were removed in 1917 during World War I by the occupying...
Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...
, he was appointed professor of Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...
and comparative grammar in the university of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...
. A prolific and versatile writer, he is probably best known by the English translations of his Précis de Grammaire comparée de l'anglais et de l'allemand
and Précis de Grammaire comparée du Grec et du Latin
Important works by him on India and Indian languages are:
- Manuel pour étudier le Sanscrit védique (with Abel Bergaigne, 1890)
- Elements de Sanscrit classique (1902)
- Précis de grammaire pâlie (1904)
- Les littératures de l'Inde: sanscrit, pâli, prâcrit (1904)
- La Magie dans l'Inde antique (1904)
- Le Parséisme (1905)
- L'Agni,ftoma (1906)
Obscure languages (such as Innok, Quechua
Quechua is a Native South American language family and dialect cluster spoken primarily in the Andes of South America, derived from an original common ancestor language, Proto-Quechua. It is the most widely spoken language family of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, with a total of probably...
, Greenland) and local dialects (Lexique Étymologique du Breton moderne
; Le Dialecte Alaman de Colmar
) also claimed his attention.
Le Langage Martien
is a curious book. It contains a discussion of some 40 phrases (amounting to about 500 words), which a certain Mademoiselle Héléne Smith (a well-known spiritualist medium of Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...
), while on a hypnotic visit to the planet Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...
, learnt and repeated and even wrote down during her trance as specimens of a language spoken there, explained to her by a disembodied interpreter.