Karl Erich Heidolph

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Karl Erich Heidolph (b. 1933, d. May 10, 1998) was a linguist from (East) Berlin, who worked primarily with the grammar of the German language.


Heidolph was consecutively a member of the Arbeitsstelle Strukturelle Grammatik, in the Zentralinstitut für Sprachwissenschaft, in the Academy for the Sciences in the DDR, and in the Forschungsschwerpunkt Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft.


Karl Erich Heidolph is most well known for his Main Features of German Grammar (Grundzüge einer deutschen Grammatik (Heidolph et al. 1981)), one of the most referenced works on German grammar. He was not only the initiator, co-editor, and co-author of this book, but he also contributed such a large body of information that the book was allowed to appear in the DDR.

In the words of Wolfgang U. Wurzel:

Heidolph is "one of the most original thinkers of German linguistics in the last decade. His scientific work is united with exemplary wisdom; calm, undogmatic theoretical insight and astounding factual knowledge are present in every tiny detail. His strength is above all others in the scientific discussions. Karl Erich Heidolph had the most authoritive participation in the exploratory environment of the scientific climate. He delivered new and often unconventional ideas and brought up critical questions for reconsideration; many of his thoughts live on in the works of his colleagues." (LINGUIST List 9.789, 1998)


  • Bierwisch, Manfred & Heidolph, Karl Erich (Hrsg) 1970. Progress in Linguistics: A Collection of Papers. The Hague: Mouton.
  • Heidolph, Karl Erich & W. Flämig & W. Motsch (eds.) 1981. Grundzüge einer deutschen Grammatik. Berlin: Akademie-Verlag.

References in Literature

  • Gessinger, Joachim. 1984. "Die Entstehungsgeschichte der 'Grundzüge einer deutschen Grammatik'." Osnabrücker Beiträge zur Sprachtheorie 27: 13-36.


Nachruf von Wolfgang U. Wurzel

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