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Eliyahu "Elye" Falkovitsh (1898–1979) was a Belarusian-Jewish Yiddish linguist.[1][2]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Born in Gomel in the Mogilev Governorate of the Russian Empire (present-day Belarus), Elye Falkovitsh lived there until age 19.[1] In 1917 and 1918, he was the headmaster of a Jewish school in Sarapul.[1] Afterwards, he temporarily moved to Kiev, where he was the director of a children's club in 1918 and 1919 before becoming a cultural worker for the Red Army in 1920 and 1921.[1]

Mid-life[edit | edit source]

Studying at Moscow State University in 1921 and 1922, Elye Falkovitsh later worked for the Commissariat of Enlightenment.[1] Afterwards, Elye Falkovitsh worked as a lecturer on Yiddish linguistics at the Second Moscow State University (later known as the Moscow Teachers' Training Institute) and at the Communist University of the National Minorities of the West.[1] Elye Falkovitsh, together with Ayzik Zaretski, was central in molding the standards of Soviet Yiddish in regards to lexicon, grammar, style, and orthography .[1] After advocating the study of the Pentateuch and the works of Hayim Nahman Bialik and Sholem Asch, Falkovitsh temporarily lost his positions in 1937.[1]

Later life[edit | edit source]

Elye Falkovitsh volunteered to join the Red Army and worked as a medical orderly during World War II, saving the lives of 88 wounded people in one battle and thus receiving the Order of Lenin.[1] After the war, Elye Falkovitsh was editor in chief of the Moscow Yiddish Publishing House Emes until it was liquidated in 1948.[1] Starting from 1961, Falkovitsh helped shape a revised Yiddish orthography.[1] In addition, Elye Falkovitsh also published two grammatical sketches of Yiddish, one in a monograph on Soviet national languages (1966) and the other (posthumously) as an appendix to a Russian-Yiddish dictionary (1984).[3] Elye Falkovitsh died in 1979 at age 80 or 81.[1]

References[edit | edit source]

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