KRÁMSKÝ, JIRÍ (b. Plzen [Pilsen], western Bohemia, 23 October 1913; d. Prague, 30 September 1991), Czech general linguist who specialized in Persian language studies. He was born into a lawyer’s family and attended secondary school in his native town. He then studied English and Persian (the latter under Professor J. Rypka) at the Charles University, Prague. After the forced closure of the Czech universities during the German occupation, he taught at secondary schools outside Prague. After the end of World War II, he completed his university studies by defending his thesis for the Ph.D. degree, “Introduction to Orthography and Phonology of Modern Persian.” He first took a job in the State Institute of Linguistics and then worked in the Research Institute of Special Education, Prague in 1955-78. His research was published in leading orientalist journals.
While many of Krámsky’s works deal with English and Turkish linguistics, those on Persian phonology are especially distinctive. He presented one of the first truly innovative attempts at describing modern Persian phonology in 1939. The work has certain shortcomings resulting from the contemporary standard of research in Persian phonology and from problems in data collection, but his further studies filled up such gaps. He also was active in Ural-Altaic and Turkish linguistics, and his research in general linguistics (e.g., Krámsky, 1976) always paid attention to Oriental languages. For instance, the Persian dialects of Ḵonsār and Gaz are discussed in his papers (1976; see rev. of W. Ehlers, Die Mundart von Chunsar and Die Mundart von Gäz [Wiesbaden, 1976, 1979] in Bibliotheca Orientalis 37, 1980, cols. 85-87; 38, 1981, cols. 489-93). He enriched Iranian linguistics with his fresh ideas in book reviews, especially in the journal Archiv Orientální (e.g., 50, 1982, pp. 93-95, on Mohammad Reza Majidi, Struturelle Beschreibung der iranischen Dialecte der Stadt Semnan [Hamburg, 1980]). Krámský was tied to the Iranian world in other respects, too. His first book, in 1945, was Východ a nová doba “The East and the New Age” (apparently based on John E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, London, 1923; rev. ed., New York, 1937); it discusses in detail some aspects of Iranian thinking and the distinctly peaceful nature of the Bahāʾi movement.
In addition to his studies in English and general linguistics, he also published various practical works: The English-Czech and Czech-English Dictionary (see Bibliog.), language textbooks, and methodological considerations on teaching foreign languages.
Works of Jirí Krámsky."A Study in the Phonology of Modern Persian,” ArOr 11, 1939, pp. 66-83.
Vychod a nová doba (The East and the New Age), Kladno, 1945 (68 pp.).
“A Phonological Analysis of Persian Monosyllables,” Archiv Orientální (ArOr) 16, 1947, pp. 103-34, 8 tables.
“On the Oldest Stratum of Words in the Basic Lexical Fund of Modern Turkish,” ArOr 34, 1956, pp. 226-40.
“Ueber den Ursprung und Funktion der Vokalharmonie in den Ural-Altaischen Sprachen,” ZDMG 106, 1956, pp. 117-34.
“Vykopávky na ostrove Bahrejn(Diggings in Bahrain Island),” Novy Orient 12, 1957, pp. 58-60.
“A Quantitative Typology of Language,” in Language and Speech 2/2, April-June 1959.
“Some Notes on Morphological Neutralization in Modern Turkish,” Ural-Altaische Jahrbucher 32, 1960/3-4, pp. 214-19.
“Some Remarks on the Problem of Quantity of Vowel Phonemes in Modern Persian,” ArOr 34, 1966, pp. 215-20.
"Some Ways of Expressing the Category of Determinedness in Language,” Travaux linguistiques de Prague, 1966, pp. 241-53.
“On the Phonological Law of Incompatibility of Free Quantity and Free Stress,” Travaux linguistiques de Prague, 1966, pp. 133-45.
The Word as a Linguistic Unit. The Hague and Paris, 1969.
The Article and the Concept of the Definiteness in Language. Mouton, 1972.
The Phoneme: Introduction to the History and Theories of a Concept, Munich, 1974.
Papers in General Linguistics, The Hague, 1976.
“The Persian Non-Segmantal Phenomena in Contrast with Grammar and Meaning,” ArOr 45, 1977, pp. 165-69.
Jan Caha and Jiri Kramsky, Anglicko-cesky slovnik, 6th ed., Prague, 1986.
Ivan Poldauf, Jan Caha, Alena Kopecka, Jiri Kramsky Anglicko Cesky Cesko Anglicky Slovnik (Czech-English/English-Czech Standard Dictionary), 10th rev. ed., New York, 1998.
February 16, 2005
Originally Published: July 20, 2005
Last Updated: July 20, 2005