The most Important Physician-linguist of Transylvania: Sámuel Gyarmathi

Written by Gaal György

S. Gyarmathi (1751–1830) graduated medicine at Vienna University in 1782. All his life he practiced medicine in the court of the counts Bethlen as well as medical chief of Hunyad/Hunedoara County (1787–1791). He was mostly interested in linguistics. He published the first descriptive grammar of Hungarian language (1794). While studying in Göttingen he wrote in Latin the first Comparative Grammar of Finno-Ugric languages (Affinitas, 1799) in which he demonstrated that Hungarian is a Finno-Ugric language. For this volume he is considered one of the founders of Comparative Linguistics. He also published a “Vocabularium” (Vienna, 1816) considered the first etymological dictionary of the Hungarian language. In 2011 we commemorate 260 years from the birth of S. Gyarmathi.


Keywords: medical chief of a county, linguist, Comparative Linguistics

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