Einar Haugen

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Einar Haugen (1906 April 19 - 1994 June 20) was a Norwegian-American linguist whose research focused on Scandinavian languages, bilingualism and language contact.


Haugen was born in Sioux City, Iowa. His parents were Norwegian immigrants from the town of Oppdal. As a child, he lived with his family in Norway for a few years. He was a student at Morningside College (Sioux City) and St. Olaf College (studying under Ole Edvart Rølvaag), earning his B.A. in 1928. He did his graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, getting his Ph.D. in 1931.

He was a faculty member of the University of Wisconsin from 1931 to 1962, and then he was Victor S. Thomas Professor of Scandinavian and Linguistics at Harvard University from 1964 until his retirement in 1975.

He was married to Eva Lund Haugen for 62 years. She died shortly after his death.

Haugen served as president of the Linguistic Society of America, the American Dialect Society, and the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study.


Haugen was a leading scholar in the emerging fields of language contact, bilingualism and sociolinguistics more generally. But his primary interest was in Scandinavian studies. He wrote several books about Norwegian and the Scandinavian languages.


  • "Spoken Norwegian" (1946)
  • "The First Grammatical Treatise: The earliest Germanic Phonology" (1950)
  • "The Norwegian Language in America: A Study in Bilingual Behavior " (1953) (ISBN 0-253-34115-9)
  • "A Norwegian-English Dictionary " (1965)
  • "Language Conflict and Language Planning" (1966)
  • "The Scandinavian Languages: An Introduction to their History" (1976)
  • "Scandinavian Language Structures" (1982)
  • "Blessings of Babel: Bilingualism and Language Planning" (1987)
  • "Ibsen's Drama: Author to Audience" (1979)