Vladislav Illich-Svitych

Vladislav Markovich Illich-Svitych (Russian: Владисла́в Ма́ркович И́ллич-Сви́тыч, also transliterated as Illič-Svityč; September 12, 1934 – August 22, 1966) was a Soviet linguist and accentologist. He was a founding father of comparative Nostratic linguistics and the Moscow School of Comparative Linguistics.

Vladislav Markovich Illich-Svitych
Владислав Маркович Иллич-Свитыч
BornSeptember 12, 1934
DiedAugust 22, 1966(1966-08-22) (aged 31)


Of Polish-Jewish descent,[1][2] Illich-Svitych was born in Kiev. In 1941, he moved with his parents to Chkalov (now Orenburg) and later to Moscow. His father, Mark Vladislavovich Illich-Svitych (1886–1963), worked as a bookkeeper. His mother, Klara Moiseevna Desner (1901–1955), was chief director of puppet theater in Orenburg.[3]

He resuscitated the long-forgotten Nostratic hypothesis, originally proposed by Holger Pedersen in 1903. His death prevented him from completing the Comparative Dictionary of Nostratic Languages, but the ambitious work was continued by his colleagues, including Sergei Starostin and Vladimir Dybo.

While embarking on a field trip to collect data on the Hungarian dialects of the Carpathians, he died in an automobile accident on August 22, 1966, near Moscow.

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Nominal Accentuation in Baltic and Slavic, translated by R. L. Leed and R. F. Feldstein, Cambridge, London 1979: the MIT Press. (originally edited in Russian in 1963)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Львова Е. М. Именной указатель // Из истории русской литературы и общественной мысли. 1860—1890-е гг. / АН СССР. Институт мировой литературы им. А. М. Горького; Ред. А. Н. Дубовиков и С. А. Макашин; при участии Т. Г. Динесман и Н. Д. Эфрос; подбор ил. и сост. подписей к ил. Т. Г. Динесман и Н. Д. Эфрос; Фотокопии ил. В. А. Иванова. — М.: Наука, 1977. — С. 717.
  2. ^ Шилов А. А., Карнаухова М. Г. Деятели революционного движения в России. — М.: Издательство всесоюзного общества политических каторжан и ссыльнопоселенцев, 1932. — Т. 2. — С. 1436-1437.
  3. ^ К биографии В. М. Иллича-Свитыча (Biography of V. M. Illich-Svitych)


  • Merritt Ruhlen: On the Origin of Languages. Studies in Linguistic Taxonomy. Stanford University Press 1994.
  • Sydney M. Lamb and E. Douglas Mitchell (Hrsg.): Sprung from Some Common Source. Investigations into the Prehistory of Languages. Stanford University Press, Stanford (Calif.) 1991.
  • Vitaly Shevoroshkin: Reconstructing Languages and Cultures. Abstracts and Materials from the First International Interdisciplinary Symposium on Language and Prehistory. Brockmeyer, Bochum 1989.
  • Bomhard, Allan R. and John C. Kerns: The Nostratic Macrofamily. A Study in Distant Linguistic Relationship. Mouton De Gruyter. Berlin - New York 1994.
  • Dolgopolsky, Aharon: The Nostratic Macrofamily and Linguistic Palaeontology. The McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, Oxford 1998.
  • Holger Pedersen: Türkische Lautgesetze. ZDMG 57, 1903.
  • Holger Pedersen: Linguistic Science in the Nineteenth Century: Methods and Results. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.) 1931.

External linksEdit