Konrad Duden
Konrad Alexander Friedrich Duden (January 3, 1829 – August 1, 1911) was a Gymnasium
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

 (high school) teacher who became a philologist
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

. He founded the well-known German language
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 dictionary bearing his name Duden
The Duden is a German dictionary, first published by Konrad Duden in 1880.Currently the Duden is in its 25th edition and published in 12 volumes, each covering different aspects like loan words, etymology, pronunciation, synonyms, etc...



After receiving his Abitur
Abitur is a designation used in Germany, Finland and Estonia for final exams that pupils take at the end of their secondary education, usually after 12 or 13 years of schooling, see also for Germany Abitur after twelve years.The Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife, often referred to as...

 in 1846 in Wesel
Wesel is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is the capital of the Wesel district.-Division of the town:Suburbs of Wesel include Lackhausen, Obrighoven, Ginderich, Feldmark,Fusternberg, Büderich, Flüren and Blumenkamp.-History:...

, Duden studied history, Germanistics, and classical philology at Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

. There he joined the Wingolfsbund student organization and took part in the political activities of the student societies during the revolutionary year 1848.

He broke off his training phase in Soest
Soest, Germany
Soest is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is the capital of the Soest district. After Lippstadt, a neighbouring town, Soest is the second biggest town in its district.-Geography:...

 and took a position as a home tutor in Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. There he met the daughter of the German Consul, Adeline Jakob, whom he married in 1861 and had six children with.

In 1859 he returned to Germany and worked as a teacher and rose to the position of Director of the Archigymnasium in Soest. In 1869 he was appointed "Gymnasium" (High-School) director in Schleiz
Schleiz is a town in the district of Saale-Orla-Kreis in Thuringia, Germany.- Location :Schleiz is in the Thuringian Vogtland area, an area of wooded hills on the borders of Thuringia, Saxony, Bavaria and the Czech Republic...

 and in 1876 became director of the Royal Gymnasium in Hersfeld
Bad Hersfeld
The festival and spa town of Bad Hersfeld is the district seat of Hersfeld-Rotenburg district in northeastern Hesse, Germany, roughly 50 km southeast of Kassel....

. It was here he published his most important work, the "Complete Orthographic Dictionary of the German Language" (Vollständiges Orthographisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache).

In 1905, he retired to Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

/Sonnenberg. He died in 1911 and was buried in the family grave in Bad Hersfeld.


During his entire life he strove toward the unification and simplification of the German orthography
The orthography of a language specifies a standardized way of using a specific writing system to write the language. Where more than one writing system is used for a language, for example Kurdish, Uyghur, Serbian or Inuktitut, there can be more than one orthography...

. His 1880 dictionary represents the start of the Duden series and included 28,000 words on 187 pages. In 1902, the German parliamentary upper house ("Bundesrat") made his rules for orthography mandatory in official state documents. Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

 and Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 followed. One hundred years after his death, the Duden
The Duden is a German dictionary, first published by Konrad Duden in 1880.Currently the Duden is in its 25th edition and published in 12 volumes, each covering different aspects like loan words, etymology, pronunciation, synonyms, etc...

dictionary remains the authoritative source for German orthography.


  • Anleitung zur Rechtschreibung, 18?? (Second Edition, 1878)
  • Die deutsche Rechtschreibung. Abhandlung, Regeln und Wörterverzeichnis, Leipzig 1872 (so-called Schleizer Duden)
  • Vollständiges Orthographisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache, 1880 ISBN 3-446-20478-4
  • Etymologie der neuhochdeutschen Sprache, 1893
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