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Prague Linguistic Circle

ROBERT BEARD


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


Extract

For two decades the Prague Linguistic Circle charted the course of modern linguistic and literary studies. The morphological and phonological theories of current generative linguistics as well as the central notions of modern S emiotics are direct legacies of the circle. The first meeting of the Prague Circle was held in the office of Vilém Mathesius at Charles University on October 6, 1926 to discuss a paper read earlier that day by Henrik Becker. In addition to Becker and Mathesius, that initial gathering included the anglicist Bohumil Trnka, the slavists Roman J akobson and Bohuslav Havránek, and the orientalist Jan Rypka. The meeting ended on a general note of agreement that the group should meet regularly to develop a new agenda of language study. Although Mathesius is considered the founder of the Prague Circle, Jakobson, a former member of the Moscow Linguistic Circle, shaped it and steered its course for nearly two decades. While S aussure was a major influence on the research program of the Prague Circle, the brand of S tructuralism which emerged from the Prague Circle was distinct from that of the G eneva school set afoot by Saussure. In his first address to the circle, Jakobson argued against Saussure's position that language studies completely divorce synchronic and diachronic analyses since synchronic phonology can be fully explained only in terms of diachronic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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