Lars Martin Fosse lmfosse at ONLINE.NO
Wed Aug 4 10:16:29 UTC 1999


Knut Kristiansen, who taught New Indic languages at the University of Oslo
until a year ago, died at the beginning of July, brutally murdered in his flat
by an intruder. Knut Kristiansen was 71 years old.

During his career, Knut Kristiansen studied and taught a large number of Indian
languages, in particular Hindi and Urdu. He was Norway's foremost expert on
Gypsy languages, specialising in the so-called Tater language, a dialect of
Romani thought to have disappeared, but eventually found and described by
Kristiansen. The Tater language is a NIA language in the last stage of decay,
with an Indian vocabulary but Norwegian grammar.

Knut Kristiansen's learning was immense and legendary. Due to an unnecessarily
hypercritical attitude to his own work, he published little during his career,
but shared his knowledge and research with students and colleagues in the most
generous manner. Knut Kristiansen invested a great deal of work in the
maintenance and enlargement of the Indological book collection at the
University of Oslo, turning it into a first-rate research tool. There is a sad
irony in the fact that this excellent and highly useful collection was broken
up and transferred to various sections of the new University Library of Oslo
just a few weeks before Kristiansen passed away, a fact that caused him much

Knut Kristiansen had a great capacity for warmth and made many friends during
his career. When in a convivial mood, he was a brilliant and witty
conversationalist and storyteller who delighted his "audience" with accounts of
his travels and stays in South Asia. He also constituted one of the last links
to the great period of Norwegian Indology, the period of Sten Konow and Georg
Morgenstierne, whose student he was. When he died, Knut Kristiansen was busy
organising and cataloguing papers and research material left by Morgenstierne.
Tragically, his death also represents an irreparable loss to this work.

Lars Martin Fosse

Dr. art. Lars Martin Fosse
Haugerudvn. 76, Leil. 114,
0674 Oslo
Phone/Fax: +47 22 32 12 19
Email: lmfosse at

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