Jakobson, Roman Osipovich


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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.

WORKS

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

REFERENCE

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

V. N. TOPOROV