On 29 November 2021 Professor Wiesław Boryś passed away in Kraków. He was an eminent expert in Slavonic studies, Serbian‑Croatian studies, and Kaszubian studies, and a distinguished etymologist, dialectologist and lexicographer. Professor Wiesław Boryś was born on 4 January 1939 in the village of Bzin in Kielce region. In 1956 he started education at the Chair in Slavonic Studies of the Jagiellonian University. He obtained an MA in Serbian‑Croatian studies in 1961, and eight years later a PhD from the JU Faculty of Philology. In 1974 he earned the title of habilitated doctor, became an associate professor in 1987 and gained full professorship in 1993.
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Professor Boryś was associated with the Polish Academy of Sciences since 1961. He initially worked in the Section of Old Polish Language and then, from 1969 until retirement, in the Department of Proto‑Slavic Language. In 1986–2008 he taught a range of courses at the JU Institute of Slavonic Studies.
The scholarly work of Professor Boryś was especially focused on diachrony – the history of Slavonic language and lexicon, historical and comparative grammar, etymology, and the reconstruction of Proto‑Slavic language – as well as dialectology. The development of his research interests was largely shaped by Serbian‑Croatian studies, particularly into Čakavian and Kajkavian dialects as well as his work at the Polish Academy of Sciences – Proto‑Slavic studies and later also Kashubian studies.
The achievements of Professor Boryś include the publication of about 200 scholarly works, including 8 single‑authored books and 16 co‑authored books (e.g. eight volumes of
Słownik prasłowiański). The crowning achievement of his career was the publication of two lexicographic works: Słownik etymologiczny języka polskiego, the first dictionary since the times of Aleksander Brückner to provide a generally available etymological compendium of the Polish language, and
Słownik etymologiczny kaszubszczyzny, the world’s first etymological dialect dictionary in the field of Slavonic studies, consisting of six volumes written together with Professor Hanna Popowska‑Taborska.
The chief focus of Professor Boryś was the description of South Slavonic languages and dialects, especially Čakavian and Kajkavian dialects. He was one of the greatest experts in this field, which is reflected in several dozen articles as well as the books
Budowa słowotwórcza rzeczowników w tekstach czakawskich XV i XVI w.,
Studia nad dialektem czakawskim
Akcentuacja rzeczowników and
Czakawskie studia leksykalne.
Dziedzictwo prasłowiańskie w słownictwie czakawskim.
The late Professor Wiesław Boryś will always be remembered for his impressive scholarly achievements and kept in fond memory.