Karel Štrekelj

Journalist, expert in Slavonic languages, grammarian, and collector of folk material.

KAREL ŠTREKELJ (Gorjansko 1859 - 1912 Graz).
Journalist, expert in Slavonic languages, grammarian, and collector of folk material.

He began his schooling in Gorjansko and continued in Gorizia/Gorica where he attended the classical grammar school, then went to Vienna in 1878. At Vienna University he studied Slavonic languages, classical philology and comparative linguistics. His doctoral thesis was based on the phonology of the Central Gorizia/Gorica Karst Dialect and he presented his viva to Professor Miklošič. In 1897, he continued his studies of morphology and accentuation of the Karst dialect. In 1897, he became Associate Professor of Slavic Philology, specialising in Slovene language and literature at Graz University. In 1906, he led a seminar on Slavic Philology. In 1908, he was promoted to the title of full Professor at Graz University. In Graz he gave lectures on Slovene language and literature (he was the first university professor to give lectures on Slavic studies actually in Slovene). He also lectured on Old Church Slavonic and Serbo-Croatian. Co-operating with some Slovene students, he founded the Slovene Literary Association (Slovensko literarno društvo) in Vienna in 1879, where it was possible to learn to write in Slovene. He paid great attention to preserving the beauty and purity of the Slovene language. He is remembered in Slovene cultural and historical memoirs as the greatest initiator and organisor for the collecting of folk songs. He had already began collecting folks songs when he was in secondary school, when he helped a Russian professor J. Baudoin de Courtenay to collect west-Slavic dialect and folk material. In 1886, Slovenska matica entrusted him with the editing of Slovenske Narodne pesmi (Slovene Folk Songs), which was published in two books. After his death, his student J. Glonar edited another two books. Until the year of his death, the number of songs that he had collected was more than 10,000.

With this monumental work, he had set the scientific foundations of Slovene ethnology, mainly in establishing technical views and the handling of ethnological scientific work, which still apply today. In his famous Prayer for National Goods (Prošnja za narodno blago, 1887) he encouraged the gathering of folk songs and he produced various editions of all kinds of oral tradition of the Slovene people.

The elementary school in Sistiana/Sesljan bears his name, as does the Cultural Association Karel Štrekelj from Komen, which deals primarily with folk dancing and singing.

In the half of June, the Karel Štrekelj Awards are presented to the most deserving collectors of folk material. In 1956, a commemorative plaque and Karel Štrekelj memorial room was mounted on the Karel Štrekelj house in Gorjansko.

GPS: 45.8024210, 13.7143500

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