Antoine Meillet (11 Nov. 1866, Moulins - 21 Sept. 1936, Châteaumeillant)
Անթուան Մէյէ (11 նոյ. 1866, Մուլէն - 21 սեպտ. 1936, Շաթօմէյան)

Antoine Meillet

Following Hübschmann, Meillet was the linguist of international standing who accorded Armenian its correct position and value. Armenian was at the center of his interests. It’s worth noting also that he was H. Adjarian’s beneficent teacher.

First a student of Carrière, he attended Hübschmann’s lectures, then went to Vienna, to the Mkhitarist monastery, where he learned Armenian fundamentally with Fr. Dashian, 1890-1891. Subsequently, he travelled to Tbilisi, the center of Eastern Armenians, and Ejmiatzin, after which to the Venice Mkhitarist monastery, where he became a member the St. Lazar academy.

1902-1906 he was a professor of Armenian at the Paris École des langues orientales (School of Oriental Languages) and in 1906 was appointed lecturer in comparative grammar at Collège de France, where he remained for 30 years. As a result of his studies, he was associated with Indo-European languages from the beginning, and in 1903 had already published his monumental Introduction to the Comparative Study of Indo-European Languages. Among his lectures, he published Le Slave commun (Common Slavic), 1914, Grammaire du vieux perse (Grammar of Old Persian), 1916, Caractères généraux des langues germaniques (The General Characteristics of Germanic Languages), etc.

Demanding and reserved as a scientist, he was, however, a warm Armenophile and participated in all sorts of organizations beneficial to Armenians, as well as becoming an active member of the Armenian National Delegation.

With Charles Diehl and Frédéric Macler, he was the founder of La Revue des Études Arméniennes  (Review of Armenian Studies), which lasted 10 years.

Of note is his main opus on the Armenian language, first published in 1903, in Vienna, and later again in 1962, in Lisbon, to date an authoritative work.

Translated by Y.K.


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