Ojārs Bušs 1944–2017

Ojārs Bušs
ICOS was very saddened to hear of the death of Ojārs Bušs on 3 January 2017, aged 72. Dr Bušs was a long-standing member and will be remembered fondly. We publish below an obituary written by his close colleague Laimute Balode (Helsinki/Rīga).


It is with heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of the prominent Latvian linguist, world-renowned onomast, scholar and author Dr Ojārs Bušs (b. 28 April 1944 in Krimulda, Latvia). Our colleague passed away on 3 January 2017 after a severe illness. We have lost an extremely talented, hardworking scientist, polyglot, and a really fascinating person. He had worked at the Latvian Language Institute for more than 40 years, at the same time giving lectures at the University of Latvia. Bušs was a broad-minded linguist: he was especially interested in Finnic languages, in Baltic-Finnic convergences, in theoretical onomastics, and in slang language, while also being engaged in the popularization of science.

Ojārs Bušs published about 300 articles and several books on Latvian place names, first names and surnames, as well as other -onyms. Among his publications were Personvārdi, vietvārdi un citi vārdi: izpētes pakāpieni (Personal Names, Place Names and Other Names: Steps of the Research) (2003), Latviešu valodas slenga vārdnīca (Latvian Slang Dictionary) (2006, with V. Ernstsone), No ģermānismiem līdz superlatīvam (From Germanisms to Superlatives) (2008), No Abavas līdz Zilupei (From Abava to Zilupe: The Origin of Latvian Geographical Names. A Short Dictionary) (2015, with L. Balode). He was one of the authors and editor-in-chief of the multi-volume dictionary of Latvian place names (Latvijas vietvārdu vārdnīca).

The Latvian Language Institute and the whole family of Baltic and Finnic linguists mourns the loss of our colleague – an open-minded and warm-hearted man, who never refused advice or help to anyone.