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Alexander (Sasha) Vladimirovich Vovin (Russian: Александр Владимирович Вовин; 27 January 1961 – 8 April 2022) was a Soviet-born Russian-American linguist and philologist, and director of studies at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris, France. He was a world-renowned linguist, well known for his research on East Asian languages.
Alexander Vladimirovich Vovin
Александр Владимирович Вовин
|Died||8 April 2022(aged 61)|
|Alma mater||Saint Petersburg State University|
|Institutions||School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Miami University, University of Michigan|
|Doctoral students||Marc Miyake|
Alexander Vovin earned his M.A. in structural and applied linguistics from the Saint Petersburg State University in 1983, and his Ph.D. in historical Japanese linguistics and premodern Japanese literature from the same university in 1987, with a doctoral dissertation on the Hamamatsu Chūnagon Monogatari (ca. 1056).
After serving as a Junior Researcher at the St. Petersburg Institute of Oriental Studies (1987–1990), he moved to the United States where he held positions as assistant professor of Japanese at the University of Michigan (1990–1994), assistant professor at Miami University (1994–1995), and assistant professor and then associate professor at the University of Hawai'i (1995–2003). He was appointed full professor at the University of Hawai'i in 2003, and continued working there until 2014. He was visiting professor at the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, Kyoto in 2001-2002 and again in 2008, a visiting professor at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany (2008–2009), and a visiting professor at the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL) in Tokyo, Japan in May–August 2012.
Alexander Vovin specialized in Japanese historical linguistics (with emphasis on etymology, morphology, and phonology), and Japanese philology of the Nara period (710–792), and to a lesser extent of the Heian period (792–1192). His last project before his death involved the complete academic translation into English of the Man'yōshū (ca. 759), the earliest and the largest premodern Japanese poetic anthology, alongside the critical edition of the original text and commentaries. He also researched the moribund Ainu language in northern Japan, and worked on Inner Asian languages and Kra–Dai languages, especially those preserved only in Chinese transcription, as well as on Old and Middle Korean texts.
- Vovin, Alexander (1993). A Reconstruction of Proto-Ainu. Leiden: E. J. Brill. ISBN 90-04-09905-0.
- Vovin, Alexander. (2000). Did the Xiong-nu speak a Yeniseian language?. Central Asiatic Journal, 44(1), 87–104. JSTOR 41928223.
- Vovin, Alexander. (2001). Japanese, Korean and Tungusic. Evidence for genetic relationship from verbal morphology. David B. Honey and David C. Wright (eds.), 183–202.
- Vovin, Alexander; Osada Toshiki (長田俊樹), eds. (2003). 日本語系統論の現在 [Perspectives on the Origins of the Japanese Language]. Nichibunken sōsho, 31. Kyoto: International Research Center for Japanese Studies. ISBN 978-4-901558-17-4. ISSN 1346-6585.
- Vovin, Alexander (2003). A Reference Grammar of Classical Japanese Prose. London: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 0-7007-1716-1.
- Vovin, Alexander. (2003). Once again on lenition in Middle Korean. Korean Studies, 27, 85–107. JSTOR 23719571.
- Vovin, Alexander (2005). A Descriptive and Comparative Grammar of Western Old Japanese: Part 1: Sources, Script and Phonology, Lexicon and Nominals. Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental. doi:10.1163/9789004213920. ISBN 1-901903-14-1.
- Vovin, Alexander (2006). The Manchu-Tungusic Languages. Richmond: RoutledgeCurzon. ISBN 978-0-7007-1284-7.
- Vovin, Alexander (2008). Korea-Japonica: A Re-evaluation of a Common Genetic Origin. Hawaii studies on Korea. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-3278-0.
- Vovin, Alexander (2009–2018). Man'yoshu: A New English Translation Containing the Original Text, Kana Transliteration, Romanization, Glossing and Commentary. Global Oriental/Brill., 20 volumes
- Vovin, Alexander (2009). A Descriptive and Comparative Grammar of Western Old Japanese: Part 2: Adjectives, Verbs, Adverbs, Conjunctions, Particles, Postpositions. Folkestone, Kent: Global Oriental. doi:10.1163/ej.9781905246823.i-1376. ISBN 978-1-905246-82-3.
- Vovin, Alexander. (2011). Why Japonic is not demonstrably related to 'Altaic' or Korean. In Historical Linguistics in the Asia-Pacific region and the position of Japanese, The International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL) XX.
- Vovin, Alexander. & McCraw, D. (2011). Old Turkic Kinship Terms in Early Middle Chinese. Türk Dili Araştırmaları Yıllığı Belleten, 59(1), 105–116.
- Vovin, Alexander. (2017). Koreanic loanwords in Khitan and their importance in the decipherment of the latter[dead link]. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 70(2), 207–215. doi:10.1556/062.2017.70.2.4
- Vovin, Alexander; Ishisaki-Vovin, Sambi (2021). The Eastern Old Japanese Corpus and Dictionary. Handbook of Oriental Studies, Section 5 Japan, Vol. 17. Brill. doi:10.1163/9789004471665. ISBN 978-90-04-47119-1.
- Vovin, Alexander (2021). The Footprints of the Buddha. The Text and the Language. Leyde: Brill. ISBN 978-9-004-44977-0.
- Bottéro, Françoise (8 April 2022). "Disparition d'Alexander Vovin" (PDF). Retrieved 8 April 2022.
- Kupchik, John; Alonso de la Fuente, José Andrés; Miyake, Marc Hideo; Vovin, Alexander, eds. (2021). Studies in Asian historical linguistics, philology and beyond: festschrift presented to Alexander V. Vovin in honor of his 60th birthday. Leiden. ISBN 90-04-44856-X. OCLC 1250436437.
- Jankowski, Henryk (2022). "In memoriam Alexander Vovin (1961–2022)". Obituarium/Obituary. Rocznik Orientalistyczny [Yearbook of Oriental Studies]. 75 (1): 165–167. doi:10.24425/ro.2022.141419.
- Kupchik, John (2021). "Biography of Alexander Vovin". In Kupchik, John; Alonso de la Fuente, José; Miyake, Marc Hideo (eds.). Studies in Asian Historical Linguistics, Philology and Beyond: Festschrift Presented to Alexander V. Vovin in Honor of his 60th Birthday. Leiden: Brill. pp. IX–XIV. ISBN 978-90-04-44855-1.
- Kupchik, John; Alonso de la Fuente, José; Miyake, Marc Hideo, eds. (2021). "List of Publications by Alexander Vovin". Studies in Asian Historical Linguistics, Philology and Beyond: Festschrift Presented to Alexander V. Vovin in Honor of his 60th Birthday. Leiden: Brill. pp. XV–XXIX. ISBN 978-90-04-44855-1.