Rasmus Christian Rask, a Danish philologist, born at Brendekilde, on the island of Fünen, Nov. 22, 1787, died in Copenhagen, Nov. 14, 1832. He graduated at the university of Copenhagen, was appointed an assistant in the university library in 1808, and in 1811 published in Danish his "Introduction to the Study of the Icelandic or Old Norse Language." In 1812 he went to Sweden, and in 1813 to Iceland, where he remained three years studying its history and literature. In 1817 he was in Stockholm, and in 1818 and 1819 in Finland and St. Petersburg, occupied with the study of Finnish, Russian, Armenian, Persian, and Arabic. From St. Petersburg he went to Persia, thence to India and Ceylon, and returned to Copenhagen in 1823. He was appointed professor of literary history in the university in 1825, of oriental languages in 1828, and first librarian in 1829. According to Bunsen, Rask anticipated some of the greatest discoveries of Grimm, Bopp, and Burnouf. He published Icelandic, Anglo-Saxon, Spanish, Frisian, Danish, and Lappish grammars, and works on the ancient Egyptian chronology, on the oldest Hebrew chronology, and on the Thracian and Zend languages.
After his death his contributions to various journals were collected, with a life by Petersen (3 vols., Copenhagen, 1834-'8).