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Vulf Plotkin, D.Sc. (Philology)

Professor of English and General Linguistics


Description: Vulf2007


1927 - 2013

Born on April 2, 1927, in Rogatchev (USSR), now Rahatchow (Belaruś), third son of Yankl-Shmerl & Chena-Feigl. On June 28, 1941, fled from the rapidly advancing German troops. Worked as farm hand in the Volga region, then as mailman in Kazakhstan. Finished high school in 1948.

Degrees: M.A. in English Philology from the Institute of Foreign Languages

in Leningrad (1948–53);

Ph.D. in 1959 and D.Sc. (Philology) in 1969 from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) University.

Professional activities:

(1953–89) Professor of English, Germanic and General Linguistics at universities and pedagogical institutes in Petrozavodsk, Novosibirsk, Chişinău, Moscow, Tula (USSR).

(1989–92) Linguistic researcher at the Siberian branch

of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk.

(1993–2007) Linguistic consultant at the Institute for Industrial Mathematics

in Beer-Sheva, Israel.

Professor Vulf Plotkin died in Zurich (Switzerland) on July 29, 2013.

Publications: 13 monographs, over 100 papers.

The latest books:

The Evolution of Germanic Phonological Systems: Proto-Germanic, Gothic,

West Germanic, and Scandinavian. Edwin Mellen Press, 2008. ISBN 0773450203.

A new approach is proposed to fundamental problems of phonology, based on following the principles of general systemics in linguistic exploration. It is then applied to the evolution of Germanic phonological systems since the separation of Proto-Germanic from Proto-Indo-European, concluding with modern German, English, Dutch, Swedish, Danish, and Icelandic. The several divergent evolutionary lines appear to have been continuous cause-and-effect chains. The root causes of phonological evolution are shown to lie in the restructurings on the systemic tier of phoneme constituents, i.e. ultimate phonological quanta.

The language system of English. BrownWalker Press, 2006. ISBN 1581129939.

A description of the English language as a dynamic system in the evolutionary process of radical typological restructuring, which has deeply affected its constituent subsystems – grammatical, lexical and phonic.

The book can be ordered from:

This website contains his following writings:

On languages

Как устроен английский язык.

On the role of genetic, areal and ethnocultural factors in the formation and evolution of Yiddish.

άber die Rolle von genetischen, arealen und ethnokulturellen Faktoren in Entstehung und Evolution des Jiddischen.

On the typological evolution of the Danish morphological system.

Consonantal duration in the Eastern Scandinavian phonological systems.

On phonology

Systems of ultimate phonological units.

The kinakeme as the ultimate unit of language.

The ultimate phonological unit as the smallest morpheme shape.

Sound distinction: universal inventories of phonic substance

or language-specific systems?

On political history

Что и зачем испытала Россия в XX веке.

The whys and wherefores of the trials that Russia went through in the 20th century.

On geopolitics

Recurrent geopolitical patterns: the Grand Chessboard and its no less grand,

albeit smaller precursor.