Toporišič was born in the village of Mostec near Brežice in Slovenia, in what was then the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. During the Nazi occupation, his family was expelled from home and was resettled to Silesia, where they had to live between 1941 and 1945.
Upon returning to Yugoslavia, he studied Russian and Slavic philology in Ljubljana. In the early 1950s, he became a junior lecturer at the University of Zagreb, where he was influenced by the Prague school of structural linguistics. After returning to Slovenia in the early 1960s, he started teaching at the University of Ljubljana and became the founding father of modern Slovene linguistics.
As a leading personality of the newer generation of linguists, who brought an innovative and structural approach to the teaching of language, he was trusted by the educational authorities of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia to supervise the reform of language teaching in Slovenian schools from the late 1960s on. He was the author or co-author of several important textbooks, as well as the author of the most influential reference grammar of Slovene. His work has had an enormous influence in the development of modern Slovene language teaching.
In 1968, he worked as an assistant researcher at the University of Chicago. Later he was a guest lecturer at the universities of Hamburg, Regensburg, Klagenfurt, and Graz.
In addition to Slovene, he is fluent in German, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, and English; he also reads Polish and other Slavic languages.
Read more about this topic: Jože Toporišič
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