Roman Jakobson  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Roman Osipovich Jakobson (October 11, 1896 – July 18, 1982) was a RussianAmerican linguist and literary theorist.

As a pioneer of the structural analysis of language, which became the dominant trend in linguistics during the first half of the 20th century, Jakobson was among the most influential linguists of the century. Influenced by the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, Jakobson developed, with Nikolai Trubetzkoy, techniques for the analysis of sound systems in languages, inaugurating the discipline of phonology. He went on to apply the same techniques of analysis to syntax and morphology, and controversially proposed that they be extended to semantics (the study of meaning in language). He made numerous contributions to Slavic linguistics, most notably two studies of Russian case and an analysis of the categories of the Russian verb. Drawing on insights from Charles Sanders Peirce's semiotics, as well as from communication theory and cybernetics, he proposed methods for the investigation of poetry, music, the visual arts, and cinema.

Through his decisive influence on Claude Lévi-Strauss and Roland Barthes, among others, Jakobson became a pivotal figure in the adaptation of structural analysis to disciplines beyond linguistics, including philosophy, anthropology, and literary theory; this generalization of Saussurean methods, known as "structuralism", became a major post-war intellectual movement in Europe and the United States. Meanwhile, though the influence of structuralism declined during the 1970s, Jakobson's work has continued to receive attention in linguistic anthropology, especially through the ethnography of communication developed by Dell Hymes and the semiotics of culture developed by Jakobson's former student Michael Silverstein.

Bibliography

  • Jakobson R., Remarques sur l'evolution phonologique du russe comparée à celle des autres langues slaves. Prague, 1929
  • Jakobson R., K charakteristike evrazijskogo jazykovogo sojuza. Prague, 1930
  • Jakobson R., Child Language, Aphasia and Phonological Universals, 1941
  • Jakobson R., On Linguistic Aspects of Translation, essay, 1959
  • Jakobson R., "Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics," in Style in Language (ed. Thomas Sebeok), 1960
  • Jakobson R., Selected Writings (ed. Stephen Rudy). The Hague, Paris, Mouton, in six volumes (1971–1985):
    • I. Phonological Studies, 1962
    • II. Word and Language, 1971
    • III. The Poetry of Grammar and the Grammar of Poetry, 1980
    • IV. Slavic Epic Studies, 1966
    • V. On Verse, Its Masters and Explores, 1978
    • VI. Early Slavic Paths and Crossroads, 1985
  • Jakobson R., Questions de poetique, 1973
  • Jakobson R., Six Lectures of Sound and Meaning, 1978
  • Jakobson R., The Framework of Language, 1980
  • Jakobson R., Halle M., Fundamentals of Language, 1956
  • Jakobson R., Waugh L., The Sound Shape of Language, 1979
  • Jakobson R., Pomorska K., Dialogues, 1983
  • Jakobson R., Verbal Art, Verbal Sign, Verbal Time (ed. Krystyna Pomorska and Stephen Rudy), 1985
  • Jakobson R. "Shifters and Verbal Categories." On Language. (ed. Linda R. Waugh and Monique Monville-Burston). 1990. 386-392.




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