Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1988. First edition. Paperback. 8vo. xlv. 503pp. In English, with insertions in Semitic, Cushitic and Ethiopian languages. Two articles in French and one in German. In very good condition. Blue wrappers with white lettering to front wrapper and spine. Photographic frontispiece, portraying Leslau. Bottom of front wrapper with a small crease, otherwise a near fine copy. Near fine. Item #49911
From the collection of Wolf Leslau. Wolf Leslau was undoubtedly the greatest Semiticist linguist of the past century, many would even say of all time. He was born in Czestochowa, Poland, on November 14, 1906, and died in Fullerton, California, on November 18, 2006. The centenarian was working almost up to his final day on a descriptive grammar of the Ethio-Semitic language Gogot. As with so much of his work, his grammars were based on material he had collected doing fieldwork, in this particular case many decades before. He published more than fifty volumes and more than two hundred articles in a variety of international journals over a long and distinguished career of seventy-plus years, and he is known as a most prodigious contributor to Ethiopian linguistics (including three enormous projects of particular importance, Leslau 1979, 1987, 1995) as well as an important contributor to Semitic comparative and historical lexicography, and folklore and oral literature. His publications (written chiefly in English, but also in French, Yiddish, and Hebrew) ranged across descriptive grammar, comparative grammar, lexicography, grammatical/phonological and lexical reconstruction, etymology, language classification, borrowing, anthropological and cultural linguistic topics (e.g. folk tales, argots, riddles, songs, proverbs, taboos), translation, bibliography, reviews, and even recordings of Ethiopian traditional music.