Birgit Anette Rasmussen (Olsen)

Birgit Anette Rasmussen (Olsen)



  • 1999: DPhil, UCPH
  • 1977: MA, Indo-European Linguistics, UCPH
  • 1974: BA, Indo-European Comparative Linguistics, UCPH


  • 2014-: Professor of Indo-European Studies with special responsibilities, UCPH
  • 2008–14: Associate professor of Indo-European at the centre of excellence Roots of Europe – Language, Culture and Migrations, U.C.
  • 2005-07: Associate research professor (Danish Council for Independent Research, Humanities), UCPH
  • 2001–03: Associate research professor (Danish Research Council for the Humanities), UCPH
  • 1991–92: Alexander-von-Humboldt-scholarship, Christian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel
  • 1987-90: Research scholarship (Danish Research Council for the Humanities), UCPH

Administrative experience 

  • 2013: Centre leader of Roots of Europe; deputy (and for longer periods de facto) centre leader since 2010
  • 2013-: Leader of the Velux project Individual, kin and family in prehistoric Europe – what words can tell since July 2013
  • 2010-: Coordinator of Indo-European Studies, UCPH
  • Since the beginning of the Roots of Europe project 2008, I have had a key role in research
  • management, contact to international collaborators, organization of conferences, seminars, guest
  • lectures etc.

Studies abroad

  • 1981–82: Studies of Vedic, Latin, Armenian, Hittite and Lycian: University of Regensburg
  • 1981: Studies of Classical and Modern Armenian: Armenian Academy of Sciences, Erevan
  • 1973-80: Summer courses in Modern Greek, Russian and Italian language and culture

University teaching

1977-2013       UCPH., Department of Linguistics (later INSS) (teaching assistant, external lecturer and research associate professor), teaching a wide range of subjects at all levels within the field of Indo-European studies:

  • Historical linguistics; Introduction to Indo-European (IE) linguistics ; Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans; IE phonology; IE morphology; The laryngeal theory; IE word formation; IE lexicon; Seminars on recent IE literature

  • Sanskrit; Vedic; Avestan; Indo-Iranian language history with text analysis (Rigveda, Atharvaveda, Avestan, Old Persian)

  • Greek; Greek language history with text analysis (Homer, dialects, Mycenean)

  • Italic languages (Oscan, Umbrian, South Picene etc.); Latin language history with text analysis (Plautus, Ennius, inscriptions)

  • Gothic; Panorama of Old Germanic languages with text samples (Gothic, Old Norse, Old English, Old Saxon, Old High German)

  • Classical Armenian; Modern East Armenian

  • Old Irish

  • Anatolian

  • Block seminars on Armenian language history, IE morphology and IE word formation

1987-1990: Department of Oriental Philology, UCPH:

  • Indo-Iranian language history; Old Indic text analysis (Rigveda, Atharvaveda, Brāhmaṇa, Upanishads); Avestan; Old Persian

1993–2005 and 2007-08: Elementary Courses of Greek and Latin, University of Copenhagen:

  • Greek, Latin

1997–2004: Department of Greek and Latin, UCPH:

  • Ancient literature in translation (1997-2000), Introduction to Latin (2004)                      

1990-91: Chistian-Albrechts-Universität, Kiel:

  • Indogermanische Lautlehre, Indogermanische Kultur


Supervisor of theses at the levels of BA, MA (Latin, Greek, Italic, Celtic, morphology, semantics etc.) and Ph.D. (Jan Heegaard on Kalasha, Adam Hyllested on Indo-Uralic, Bjarne S. Hansen on Germanic/Nordic, Tobias Mosbæk Søborg on Anatolian); paedagogical supervisor of postdocs/ assistant professors (Jenny Larsson, Thomas Olander, Benedicte Nielsen Whitehead, Guus Kroonen)

Paedagogical courses

  • Paedagogical course for teachers of Greek and Latin, 1996.
  • Course for supervisors of MA-theses, UCPH, 2009.

Conference organization

Organizer of the block seminars, Armenische Sprachgeschichte (1995) and Indo-European Morphology (2002), the international conference Indo-European Word Formation (2000) and the cross-disciplinary symposium Tracing the Indo-Europeans (2012). Co-organizer of several guest lectures and seminars on language, archaeology, comparative mythology, and genetics, and two international conferences (The Sound of Indo-European, 2009, and Etymology and the European Lexicon, 2012) under the auspices of the Roots of Europe.


Author of three monographs and several articles on Indo-European matters. My fields of research embrace the Indo-European language family as a whole, including all individual branches, with special emphasis on morphology, notably nominal word formation, but also phonology and accentology, the morphophonemics of the proto-language, morphosyntax, loanword relations, etymology, “Wörter und Sachen”, and the reconstruction of Indo-European culture. Special studies are dedicated to Indo-Iranian, Greek, Latin, Germanic, Anatolian and in particular Armenian.

Editorial posts

  • Executive editor of Tocharian and Indo-European Studies (Museum Tusculanum Press), 2013-
  • Member of the editorial board of Nowele (Benjamins), 2013-
  • Editor and co-editor of 6 collected volumes and conference proceedings (3 in progress)

Conference papers etc.

Contributions to about 30 conferences in Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Armenia and the USA (several as invited speaker and all on different subjects).Guest lecturer at the Indo-European Summer School, Freie Universität, Berlin, 2009.

National and international network

Collaboration with the Centre for Textile Research, U.C., on teaching, and supervision of potential Marie Curie scholars.

Collaboration on scholarly exchange, seminars and publications with a wide range of European and American Indo-Europeanists, archaeologists and specialists on comparative mythology in connection with both the Roots of Europe and the Velux project. External collaborators on the Velux project are: Prof. Joshua Katz, Princeton (Classics and Indo-European, especially studies in vocabulary), Prof. Michael Janda, Münster (Indo-European language and mythology) and Kristian Kristiansen, Göteborg (archaeology, the Indo-European background of Bronze Age society, especially in Northern Europe). Moreover, the established contact with the archaeologists James Mallory, Belfast (Indo-European language and culture; the origin of the Tocharians) and David Anthony, Hartwell College (the archaeology of the Eurasian steppes) is continued, and a joint publication on archeology and language seen in the perspective of the Indo-European homeland is under preparation.


Several popular lectures on language history, language and culture and Indo-European linguistics for e.g. the Open University, Filologisk Historisk Samfund, students and teachers of Latin and Greek, UCPH, trade unions etc.

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