The Full Wiki

Roman Jakobson: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Semiotics
General concepts

Biosemiotics · Code
Computational semiotics
Connotation · Decode
Denotation · Encode · Lexical
Literary semiotics · Modality
Representation (arts) · Salience
Semeiotic · Semiosis · Semiosphere
Semiotic elements & sign classes
Sign · Sign relational complex
Sign relation · Umwelt · Value

Methods

Commutation test
Paradigmatic analysis
Syntagmatic analysis

Semioticians

Charles Peirce · Thomas Sebeok
Ferdinand de Saussure
Mikhail Bakhtin · Jakob von Uexküll
Umberto Eco · Louis Hjelmslev
Algirdas Julien Greimas
Roman Jakobson · Juri Lotman
Roland Barthes · Marcel Danesi
John Deely · Roberta Kevelson
Eero Tarasti · Kalevi Kull
Michael Silverstein

Related topics

Structuralism
Aestheticization
Postmodernity


Roman Osipovich Jakobson (Russian, Роман Осипович Якобсон) (October 11, 1896, Moscow - July 18, 1982, Boston) was a Russian linguist, semiotician, and literary theorist. As a pioneer of the structural analysis of language, which became the dominant trend of twentieth-century linguistics, 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. 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 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 semiotics of culture developed by his former student Michael Silverstein.

Contents

Life and work

Jakobson was born in Russia to a well-to-do family of Jewish descent, and he developed a fascination with language at a very young age. As a student he was a leading figure of the Moscow Linguistic Circle and took part in Moscow's active world of avant-garde art and poetry. The linguistics of the time was overwhelmingly neogrammarian and insisted that the only scientific study of language was to study the history and development of words across time (the diachronic approach, in Saussure's terms). Jakobson, on the other hand, had come into contact with the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, and developed an approach focused on the way in which language's structure served its basic function (synchronic approach) - to communicate information between speakers.

1920 was a year of political upheaval in Russia, and Jakobson relocated to Prague as a member of the Soviet diplomatic mission to continue his doctoral studies. He immersed himself both into the academic and cultural life of pre-war Czechoslovakia and established close relationships with a number of Czech poets and literary figures. He also made an impression on Czech academics with his studies of Czech verse. In 1926, together with Vilém Mathesius and others he became one of the founders of the "Prague school" of linguistic theory (other members included Nikolai Trubetzkoi, René Wellek, Jan Mukařovský). There his numerous works on phonetics helped continue to develop his concerns with the structure and function of language. Jakobson's universalizing structural-functional theory of phonology, based on a markedness hierarchy of distinctive features, was the first successful solution of a plane of linguistic analysis according to the Saussurean hypotheses. (This theory achieved its most canonical exposition in a book co-authored with Morris Halle.) This mode of analysis has been since applied to the plane of Saussurean sense by his protegé Michael Silverstein in a series of foundational articles in functionalist linguistic typology.

Jakobson escaped from Prague at the start of WWII daringly via Berlin for Denmark, where he was associated with the Copenhagen linguistic circle, and such thinkers as Louis Hjelmslev. As the war advanced west, he fled to Norway, then was smuggled in a coffin by the Norwegisn underground (with his first wife disguised as a peasant woman) over the border to Sweden, where he continued his work at the Karolinska Hospital (with works on aphasia and language competence). When Swedish colleagues feared for a possible German occupation, he managed to leave on a private yacht, together with Ernst Cassirer (the former rector of Hamburg University) to New York City to become part of the wider community of intellectual émigrés who fled there. He taught at The New School and was closely associated with the Czech emigree community during that period. At the École libre des hautes études, a sort of Francophone university-in-exile, he met and collaborated with Claude Lévi-Strauss, who would also become a key exponent of structuralism. He also made the acquaintance of many American linguists and anthropologists, such as Franz Boas, Benjamin Whorf, and Leonard Bloomfield. When the American authorities considered "repatriating" him to Europe, it was Franz Boaz who actually saved his life. After the war, he became a consultant to the International Auxiliary Language Association, which would present Interlingua in 1951.

In 1949 Jakobson moved to Harvard University, where he remained until retirement. In his last decade he maintained an office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was an honorary Professor Emeritus. In the early 1960s Jakobson shifted his emphasis to a more comprehensive view of language and began writing about communication sciences as a whole.

The communication functions

Based on the Organon-Model by Karl Bühler, Jakobson distinguishes six communication functions, each associated with a dimension of the communication process:

Roma jakobson theory.png

One of the six functions is always the dominant function in a text and usually related to the type of text. In poetry, the dominant function is the poetic function: the focus is on the message itself. The true hallmark of poetry is according to Jakobson "the projection of the principle of equivalence from the axis of selection to the axis of combination". [The exact and complete explanation of this principle is beyond the scope of this article.] Very broadly speaking, it implies that poetry successfully combines and integrates form and function, that poetry turns the poetry of grammar into the grammar of poetry, so to speak. A famous example of this principle is the political slogan "I like Ike." Jakobson's theory of communicative functions was first published in "Closing Statements: Linguistics and Poetics" (in Thomas A. Sebeok, Style In Language, Cambridge Massachusetts, MIT Press, 1960, p. 350-377).

Legacy

Jakobson's three principal ideas in linguistics play a major role in the field to this day: linguistic typology, markedness, and linguistic universals. The three concepts are tightly intertwined: typology is the classification of languages in terms of shared grammatical features (as opposed to shared origin), markedness is (very roughly) a study of how certain forms of grammatical organization are more "natural" than others, and linguistic universals is the study of the general features of languages in the world. He also influenced Nicolas Ruwet's paradigmatic analysis and Friedemann Schulz von Thuns four sides model, as well as Michael Silverstein's metapragmatic linguistics.

Jakobson's work has been an influence on the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan and philosophy of Giorgio Agamben.

Bibliography

by Jakobson
  • 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., "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, 1971
    • 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
on Jakobson
  • Roman Jakobson: Echoes of His Scholarship. Ed. by Daniel Armstrong and Cornelis H. van Schooneveld, 1977
  • Brooke-Rose, C., A Structural Analysis of Pound's 'Usura Canto': Jakobson's Method Extended and Applied to Free Verse,1976
  • Caton, Steve C. "Contributions of Roman Jakobson" Annual Review of Anthropology, vol 16: p. 223-260, 1987.
  • Culler, J., Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study of Literature, 1975
  • Groupe µ, Rhétorique générale, 1970. [A General Rhetoric, 1981]
  • Holenstein, E., Roman Jakobson's Approach to Language: Phenomenological Structuralism, Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press, 1975
  • Ihwe, J., Literaturwissenschaft und Linguistik. Ergebnisse und Perspektiven, 1971
  • Kerbrat-Orecchioni, C., L'Enonciation: De la subjectivité dans le langage, 1980
  • Le Guern, M., Sémantique de la metaphore et de la métonymie, 1973
  • Lodge, D., The Modes of Modern Wéiting: Metaphor, Metonymy, and the Typology of Modern Literature, 1977
  • Riffaterre, M., Semiotics of Poetry, 1978
  • Steiner, P., Russian Formalism: A Metapoetics, 1984
  • Todorov, T., Poétique de la prose,1971
  • Waugh, L., Roman Jakobson's Science of Language, 1976

Notes

References

  • Esterhill, Frank (2000). Interlingua Institute: A History. New York: Interlingua Institute.
  • Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). Studying Popular Music. Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-15275-9.
Advertisements

Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message