Roman Jakobson

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Jakobson, Roman

(rəmän` yäk`ôbsən), 1896–1982, Russian-American linguist and literary critic, b. Moscow. He coined the term structural linguistics and stressed that the aim of historical linguistics is the study not of isolated changes within a language but of systematic change. In Czechoslovakia in the late 1920s and the 30s, Jakobson and a few colleagues, most notably N. S. Trubetzkoy, developed what came to be known as the Prague school of linguistics. They argued that synchronic phonology, the study of speech sounds in a language at a given time, must be considered in light of diachronic phonology, the study of speech sounds as they have changed over the course of the language's history. After leaving Czechoslovakia in 1939, Jakobson went on to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden before coming to the United States to teach at Columbia (1943–49) and later Harvard (1949–67); at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1957–67) he worked with Morris Halle on distinctive-feature theory, developing a binary system that defines a speech sound by the presence or absence of specific phonetic qualities, such as stridency and nasality. Through his contact with French anthropologist Claude Lévi-StraussLévi-Strauss, Claude
, 1908–2009, French anthropologist, b. Brussels, Belgium, Ph.D Univ. of Paris, 1948. He carried out research in Brazil from 1935 to 1939.
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 and others, Jakobson was influential in the development of structuralismstructuralism,
theory that uses culturally interconnected signs to reconstruct systems of relationships rather than studying isolated, material things in themselves. This method found wide use from the early 20th cent.
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See his Six Lectures on Sound and Meaning (1978); Framework of Language (1980).

Jakobson, Roman Osipovich


Born Oct. 11 (23), 1896, in Moscow. Russian and American linguist and literary scholar.

Jakobson graduated from the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages in 1914 and from Moscow University in 1918. He emigrated in 1921. Jakobson eventually became a professor at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One of the founders of the Moscow, Prague, and New York linguistics circles, he helped develop the theories of structuralism and structural linguistics.

Jakobson has done research in a number of areas of linguistics. His principal studies in theoretical linguistics deal with phonology, the theory of distinctive features, the problem of language unions, typology, language universals, the general theory of cases, and the description of verbal systems. He has also published important studies dealing with the Slavic languages, primarily Russian, and with poetics, particularly versification and metrics.

Jakobson has made contributions to the study of Slavic mythology and rituals. He has produced studies on early Slavic poetry, epics, Old Russian literature, and the linguistic and stylistic characteristics of many literary figures, including Dante, Shakespeare, M. Eminescu, B. Brecht, and a number of Russian writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. He has also published numerous articles on poetic texts.

Jakobson is an honorary member of many national academies, scholarly societies, and universities.


Selected Writings, vols. 1–2,4. The Hague-Paris, 1962–66, 1971.
Questions de poétique. Paris [1973].


Roman Jakobson: A Bibliography of His Writings. The Hague-Paris, 1971.


References in periodicals archive ?
The advertisement construction, defined as an ensemble of signs that constitutes a type of discourse difficult to analyse owing to the symbols and ideological fragments that it may contain, exploits all the functions of language as they were phrased by Roman Jakobson.
A well-known definition of translation is given by a Russian linguist Roman Jakobson.
The model was fashioned by the celebrated linguist, Roman Jakobson (1971).
Paralelamente, en la sociologia norteamericana se desarrollaba el pensamiento sistemico de la mano de Talcott Parsons, quien incluso habria planificado entre los anos 60 y 62 escribir un libro acerca de los alcances estructuralistas en la teoria de sistemas sociales junto a Roman Jakobson, el cual sin embargo nunca se completo.
8) Roman Jakobson, "Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics," in Style in Language, ed.
In Roman Jakobson, Selected writings II: Word and language, 697--708.
Helle Metslang proceeds from the tempus theory of Hans Reichenbach and Roman Jakobson, making a distinction between absolute time and relative time.
No se dice nada nuevo cuando se sostiene que los estudios de poetica de Roman Jakobson y, sobre todo, su celebre trabajo de 1960, "Linguistica y poetica" (1975: 347-395), marcaron la direccion de las investigaciones literarias de toda una epoca.
Grotz en su libro Vom Umgang mit Tautologien: Martin Heidegger und Roman Jakobson, Hamburgo: Meiner, 2000, establecio un paralelismo entre el valor que Heidegger le asigna a la tautologia en su pensamiento y el tratamiento que hace R.
The Russian linguist and literary critic Roman Jakobson tackled "colorless green" by smoothing out its semantic kinks as if it were already a poem.
Passeia-se pelo modelo de comunicacao de Roman Jakobson, o estudo da cultura de massa de Edgar Morin e o poder vinculado ao saber e localizado nas tramas do discurso de Foucault.
Seeking no more than some technical pointers in recording exotic languages, he attended a series of lectures by Roman Jakobson on the fundamentals of structural linguistics, though he had never heard of the speaker.