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Home > Mezzofanti > Eminent linguists > Slavonian linguists > Poles

The first is by birth a Pole ; but having early attained to much eminence as an Orientalist, and having travelled with some reputation as an explorer in Syria and Egypt, he obtained the Professorship of Oriental languages in the university of St. Petersburg, in which he has since distinguished himself by an important controversy with the celebrated Von Hammer. Senkowsky, since his residence in St. Petersburg, has made the Russian language his own, and is one of the most prolific writers in the entire range of modern Russian literature. His grammar of that language is among the most intelligible to foreigners that has ever been issued. With most of the languages of Europe, he is said to be perfectly familiar, and his attainments as an Orientalist are of the very highest rank. He is a corresponding member of the Asiatic Societies of most of the capitals of Europe, and publishes indifferently in Polish, Russian, German, and French. Gretsch, the editor of the well-known St. Petersburg Journal, " the Northorn Bee," is perhaps less profound, but equally varied in his attainments. Although a German by birth, he writes exclusively in Russian, and is the author of the best and most popular extant history of Russian literature; of which Otto's Lehrbuch der Russischen Literatur, although apparently an independent work, is almost a literal translation. Mirza Kazem-Beg is of the Tartar race, but a native of Astracan, where his father, a man of much reputation for learning, had settled about the commencement of the century. Soon after the establishment of the professorship of the Turkish and Tartar languages at Kazan, Kazem-Beg was selected to fill it; and, after some time, he was removed to the same chair in the University of Petersburg, which he still holds. Besides the ordinary learned languages, he is acquainted with the Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, Syrian, Persian, and Turkish, as well as those of the Tartar stock ; and he is described as perfect master of the modern European languages, especially French, Italian, German, and English. the last named language he speaks and writes with great ease and elegance, and has even published some translations into it, as, for example, the "Derbend-Nameh." Accompanied Henry to Poland, says that of the two hundred Polish nobles who were then assembled, there were hardly two who did not speak, in addition to their native Polish, German, Italian, and Latin. So universal was the knowledge of the last named language that, with perhaps a pardonable exaggeration, Martin Kromer alleges that there were fewer in Poland than in Latium itself who did not speak it. nevertheless, few names present themselves in this department which have left any permanent trace in history.

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