Ilinsky, Grigorii

Ilinsky, Grigorii [Ильинский, Григорий; Il'inskij, Grigorij], b 23 March 1876 in Saint Petersburg, d 14 December 1937 in Tomsk, RSFSR. Russian linguist of Ukrainian descent. A graduate of Saint Petersburg University and Kyiv University (1911), he served as docent of Kharkiv University (1907–9) and then as professor at the Nizhyn Historical-Philological Institute (1909–18), Saratov University (1920–7), and Moscow University (from 1927). He wrote works on comparative Slavic phonology and morphology, summarized in his Praslavianskaia grammatika (Grammar of Common Slavic, 1916), on Slavic etymology, and on problems in the historical development of individual Slavic languages, including the Ukrainian language (the assimilation of vowels in Ukrainian, lengthening of consonants in words such as zillia [herbs], the imperative, and Ukrainian etymologies). Many of his studies of Ukrainian were published in periodicals of the All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and in the Warsaw journal Ridna mova. His work is characterized by an excessive emphasis on sound alternation with little attention to the historical background of linguistic developments or linguistic geography; it also tends to underrate foreign influences. A victim of Stalinist terror in the 1930s, Ilinsky was arrested and executed in prison.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

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