Roman Jakobson

Today I am going to talk about Roman Jakobson. First of all I would like to tell you the most important facts of his life.
Roman Jakobson was born in Moscow in 1896. He grew up in pre-Revolutionary Russia and began his high school studies at the Lazarev Institute of Languages at the age of ten. He taught at the university of Moscow and it was there that he and six other students founded the Moscow Linguistics Circle. In 1920 he left the Soviet Union for Prague where he worked as a translator and helped to form the Prague Linguistics Circle in 1926. Jakobson was known for his anti-fascist feelings and with the fascist invasion he fled to Denmark and finally in 1941 to America where he lived until his death in 1982. He was professor at the Columbia University in Harvard and at the MIT.
His teaching deeply influenced several trends in the evolution of 20th century structuralism and linguistics.
Four epochs in the development of Jakobson‘s research can be distinguished.
1) In his formalist period from 1914 to 1920 he was both the founder of the Moscow Linguistics Circle and a member of the influential Opoyaz poetics group.
2) In his structuralist period from 1920 to 1939 he was a dominating figure of the Prague School of linguistics and Aesthetics.
3) In his semiotic period from 1939 to 1949 he was associated with the Copenhagen Linguistic Circle and was active in founding the Linguistic Circle of New York.
4) Jakobsons interdisciplinary period began in 1949 with his teaching at Harvard.
Information and communication theory, mathematics, neurolinguistics, biology and even physics were among the fields to which Jakobson extended his interests.
The central fields of his research were poetics and linguistics, especially phonology, morphology, dialectology and aphasiology. From his early years his interest went beyond language and the verbal arts to cover the larger semiotic fields of culture and aesthetics. Jakobson …


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