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Linguistics Nikolai Trubetzkoy
by
Edwin Battistella

Introduction

Nikolai Sergeyevich Trubetzkoy is regarded by many as the creator of the science of phonology. His posthumously published Grundzüge der Phonologie (Principles of Phonology) elaborates his observations on the linguistic function of speech sounds, the role of oppositions, and markedness, influenced by his rejection of neogrammarian principles and his extension of Saussearean insights. Grundzüge der Phonologie became the classic statement of part of the Prague School linguistics, which later influenced both European and American linguistics, most notably in Chomsky and Halle’s The Sound Pattern of English. Trubetzkoy was born on 15 April 1890 in Moscow. His family was part of the Russian nobility, which traced its lineage to the 12th-century Grand Duchy of Lithuania. His family was also part of the religious and academic establishment in pre-Soviet Russia. Trubeztkoy’s father Sergei Nikolaevich Trubetzkoy (b. 1862–d. 1905) was professor of religious philosophy at Moscow University and the first elected rector of that university, though he died without being able to assume the post. One uncle, Evgeny Nikolaevich (b. 1863–d. 1920), was also a professor of philosophy and the author of a work on Russian iconography. Another uncle, Girgorii Nikolaevich Trubetzkoy (b. 1873–d. 1929), was a diplomat and political writer. The Trubetzkoys were politically liberal pan-slavists and were involved in reform movements in the Orthodox Church. Nikolai Trubetzkoy was a prodigy and a polyglot fascinated by language and folklore and began publishing work in Finno-Ugrian at the age of fifteen. In his early twenties, he traveled to Leipzig University to study comparative linguistics and in 1915 joined the faculty of Moscow University. Trubetzkoy left Russia in 1920 and eventually settled in Austria in 1922, where he became Head of Slavic Linguistics at the University of Vienna, participating as a long-distance member of the Prague Linguistics Circle. Trubetzkoy died of heart disease on 25 June 1938, shortly after the Gestapo searched his home and confiscated the draft of his book On the Pre-History of Slavic Languages. He was just forty-eight. In his relatively short life, Trubetzkoy published nearly 150 works on phonology and prosody, on comparative linguistics, linguistic geography and chronology, folklore, literature, history, and political science. The surname Трубецкой is variously Romanized as Trubetzkoy, Trubetskoy, Trubetzkoi, Trubetskoi, Troubetzkoy, Troubetskoy, Troubetzkoi, Troubetskoi, Trubet͡skoĭ, and Trubeckoj.

General Overviews

The most accessible general work is Anderson 1985, which describes the influence of Trubetzkoy on the Prague Circle. An earlier but important work is Baltaxe 1978, which focuses on phonological issues. Toman 1995 includes a chapter on Trubetzkoy that places his linguistic interests in the larger context of his Eurasianism, while Liberman 1990 offers an in-depth survey of Trubetzkoy’s literary and folkloric scholarship, and the second and third parts of Liberman 1991 survey Trubetzkoy’s Eurasianist ideas.

  • Anderson, S. R. 1985. Phonology in the twentieth century: Theories of rules and theories of representations. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    Pages 85–119 discuss Trubetzkoy and the development of phonology and morphophonology. The book places Trubetzkoy’s work in broad phonological context.

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  • Baltaxe, C. A. M. 1978. Foundations of distinctive feature theory. Baltimore: Univ. Park Press.

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    A discussion of Trubetzkoy’s role in the foundations of phonology and distinctive feature theory, with a comparison of his ideas to those of Roman Jakobson and of Noam Chomsky and Morris Halle (in their Sound Pattern of English).

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  • Liberman, A. 1990. Trubetzkoy as a literary scholar. In N. S. Trubetzkoy: Writings on literature. Edited, translated, and introduced by A. Liberman, xi–xlvi. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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    Survey covering both Trubetzkoy’s folkore and literary studies, showing how linguistic ideas applied to literary study and influences. Includes a bibliography of work related to Trubetzkoy’s literary work.

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  • Liberman, A. 1991. Postscript: N. S. Trubetzkoy and his works on history and politics. In The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman, 295–375. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    Parts two and three of the essay (pp. 338–375) explore Trubetzkoy as a Eurasianist.

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  • Toman, J. 1995. The magic of a common language: Jakobson, Mathesius, Trubetzkoy, and the Prague Linguistic Circle. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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    Toman’s richly documented study situates the Czech avant-garde in larger discourses about collective activity and social commitment. Chapter 10 (pp. 185–210) offers a readable assessment of Trubetzkoy’s thought with reference to his ideas about Sprachbund and Eurasia.

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Collections

Edited and translated collections are of special importance, since much of Trubetzkoy’s work was originally published in Russian, French, or German, and in sources no longer easily available. In addition, much of Trubetzkoy’s work was published posthumously, from his iconic Grundzüge to the literary studies based on his lectures. The main collections in English are due to the efforts of Anatoly Liberman, who edited Trubetzkoy 2001, Trubetzkoy 1990, and Trubetzkoy 1991. Trubetzkoy 2001 does an excellent job of representing both Trubetzkoy’s phonological and historical studies. Trubetzkoy 1990 collects his work on Dostoevsky as well as shorter excerpts on Old Russian literature and 19th-century Russian poetry. Collections in Russian includes Trubetzkoy 1963, featuring Trubetzkoy’s work in metrics, Roman Jakobson’s production of Trubetzkoy 1975 (most in Russian and some in French and German), and the collection Trubetzkoy 1987, edited by Thomas Gamkrelidzke and others, and including some materials still not available in English. German-language collections include Fedor Poljakov’s Trubetzkoy 2005 (in German), which collects Trubetzkoy’s Eurasianist and other political writings, and Trubetzkoy 1988, which collects some lesser-known writings on Slavic.

  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1963. Three philological studies. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan, Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literature.

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    A short book including collecting three works on metrics: “O metrike castuski” originally published in 1927, “K voprosu o stixe ‘Pesen zapadnyx slavjan’ Puškina” first published in 1937, and “Afanasij Nikitin’s ‘Journey beyond the Three Seas’ as a Work of Literature” first published in 1926.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1975. Letters and notes. Edited by R. Jakobson, H. Baran, O. Ronen, and M. Taylor. The Hague: Mouton.

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    The volume includes 197 letters and postcards (in Russian) from Trubetzkoy to Jakobson between December 1920 and May 1938, plus five letters to Nikolai Durnovo. Also included are a set of thirteen other letters and his essays “On Racism” and “The Literary Development of Lev Tolstoi,” both in Russian.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1987. Izbrannye trudy po filologii. Edited by T. V. Gamkrelidze, V. V. Ivanov, V. P. Neroznak, and N. I. Tolstoi. Moscow: Progress.

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    Russian versions of key writings of Trubetzkoy, focusing on linguistic theory, Caucasology, and metrics. There are scholarly commentaries on some pieces and an afterword by Gamkrelidze, Ivanov, and Tolstoi.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1988. Opera slavica minora linguistica. Edited by S. Hafner, F. W. M. Trummer, and V. Kühnelt-Leddihn. Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch-Historische.

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    A 418-page collection of some of Trubetzkoy’s shorter Slavic writings. Includes thirty-three essays in French, German, and Russian, a biographical essay by Hafner (ix–xxxvii), and a bibliography by Trummer and Varvara Kühnelt-Leddihn (xxxix–lxvii).

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1990. Writings on literature. Edited, translated, and introduced by A. Liberman. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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    Selections and translations Trubetzkoy’s work on Old Russian literature, 19th-century Russian poetry, and Dostoevsky, with an excellent opening essay by Anatoly Liberman and appendices from Trubetzkoy’s letters to Jakobson.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1991. The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    Translations of thirteen of Trubetzkoy’s political writings from 1920 to 1937, with a short introduction by V. V. Ivanov and a lengthy analytic postscript by Anatoly Liberman.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001. N. S. Trubetzkoy: Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman and translated by M. H. Taylor Jr. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    A collection of twenty-five articles translated from French, German, and Russian and along with over seventy pages of translated selections of Trubetzkoy’s correspondence with Roman Jakobson selected to complement the articles. The resulting works bring together Trubetzkoy’s ideas on phonology, linguistic geography, and work on the Caucasian and Finno-Ugric languages.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2005. Russland-Europa-Eurasien: Ausgewählte Schriften zur Kulturwissenschaft. Edited by F. Poljakov. Vienna: Verlag der Osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

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    A 479-page collection of German translations of Trubetzkoy’s Eurasian essays, along with an overview of Trubetzkoy’s career by Fedor Poljakov providing connections between his linguistic work and his Eurasianism. The volume also includes reprinted memoirs by Trubetzkoy’s colleagues and students (Jakobson, Alexander Issatschenko, Rudolph Jagoditsch) and an updated bibliography covering 1987–2003.

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Biographical Works

While there is no stand-alone book-length biography of Trubetzkoy, biographical notes appear in several of the Collections and translations. Trubetzkoy’s “Autobiographical Notes” were completed by Roman Jakobson and included in the Grundzüge and elsewhere Jakobson also provides personal recollections in the lengthy forward to Jakobson 1975. That work includes a listing of Trubetzkoy’s courses Short English-language biographies can be found in the encyclopedia articles Grzybek 1998 and Honeybone 2005.

  • Grzybek, P. 1998. Trubetzoy, N.S. (1890–1938). In Encyclopedia of semiotics. Edited by P. Bouissac, 617–618. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

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    A concise but thorough look at Trubetzkoy’s life and work, including his Eurasianism.

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  • Honeybone, P. 2005. Trubetzkoy, N. S. (Nikolai Sergeevich). In Key thinkers in linguistics and the philosophy of language. Edited by S. Chapman and P. Routledge, 267–268. Edinburgh: Edinburgh Univ. Press.

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    Focused mainly on Trubetzkoy’s linguistic contributions.

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  • Jakobson, R. 1975. Foreword. In Letters and notes. Edited by R. Jakobson, H. Baran, O. Ronen, and M. Taylor, v–xiv. The Hague: Mouton.

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    Jakobson provides a personal recollection of the phases of Trubetzkoy’s career. The volume also contains a list of the courses and seminars Trubetzkoy offered at the University of Vienna.

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  • Liberman, A. 1991. Postscript: N. S. Trubetzkoy and his works on history and politics. In The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman, 295–375. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    Part 1 of this three-part postscript (pp. 295–337) is an excellent, extensive biographical essay on Trubetzkoy.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S., and R. Jakobson. 1969. Autobiographical notes on N. S. Trubetzkoy (as related to Roman Jakobson). In Appendix 3 of Principles of phonology. Translated by C. A. M. Baltaxe, 309–323. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Jakobson recounts Trubetzkoy’s life and contributions, quoting Trubetzkoy and interspersing his own commentary.

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Bibliographies

Bibliographic material on Trubetzkoy continues to evolve as collections and translations appear. The main historical bibliography was the one compiled by Bohuslav Havránek for the Travaux Linguistiques de Prague and translated and slightly enlarged by Christianne Baltaxe (Bohuslav 1969). Additional bibliographic material can also be found in the general bibliographies to the material in the Collections, especially the bibliographies in Studies in General Linguistics and Language Structure, Writings on Literature, and The Legacy of Genghis Khan and Other Essays on Russia’s Identity. Krylov 1985 and the N. S. Trubetzkoy Bibliography in Opera slavica minora linguistica are extensive chronologies, the former mostly in Russian and the latter in French. Perhaps the best bibliography is the one online at the University of Lausanne Slavic Department (in French), Encyclopédie des linguistes russes et soviétiques, et d’Europe centrale et orientale.

Trubetzkoy’s Linguistics

Trubetzkoy’s most well-known linguistic contribution was in the analysis of the phonological systems and phonological universals in his Principles of Phonology. He is responsible for foundational studies of quantity as a phonological opposition, developing the concepts of markedness, neutralization and the archiphoneme, and the notions of Sprachbund and morphophonemics. His linguistic writings also included detailed descriptive studies, contributions to Slavic, Finno-Ugric, Caucasian, and Indo-European linguistics, and even work on orthography and language planning.

Phonological Theory

Trubetzkoy’s early works in general linguistics were concerned with foundational and analytic issues. Increasingly in his later works he move toward the more thorough synthesis of theoretical issues for which he is best known. Several of his early pieces (Trubetzkoy 2001a, Trubetzkoy 2001b, Trubetzkoy 2001c) were short, programmatic write-ups of presentations or commentaries at conferences. Trubetzkoy 2001d and Trubetzkoy 2001e sought to respond to concerns about the new direction phonology was taking, while Trubetzkoy 1968, originally published in 1935 in German, was a guide to phonological analysis. His most well-known work, Principles of Phonology, was published posthumously in German (as Grundzüge der Phonologie) in 1939 and translated into English in Trubetzkoy 1969.

  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1968. Introduction to the principles of phonological descriptions. Edited by H. Bluhme. Translated by L. A. Murray. The Hague: Nijhoff.

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    Here Trubetzkoy gives eleven rules for phonemic analysis and also discusses the phoneme combination, syllable structure and prosodic types, and boundaries. Originally published in German in 1935 as Anleitung zu phonologischen Beschreibungen (Brno, Czechoslovakia: Edition du Cercle Linguistique de Prague).

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1969. Principles of phonology. Translated by C. A. M. Baltaxe. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    The English translation of Trubetzkoy’s 1939 Grundzüge der Phonologie, published posthumously in German in the Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague 7. This translation synthesizes his work on synchronic phonology based on distinctive oppositions and resting on a survey of nearly two hundred languages. The book includes as appendices a biography of Trubetzkoy by Roman Jakobson and a bibliography of Trubetzkoy’s writings.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001a. Phonology versus phonetics. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 6–10. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Trubetzkoy distinguishes between phonetics as the study of sounds and phonology as the study of sound intention (or “sound concepts”) noting its importance both synchronically and diachronically. Originally published in German as “Berichte von Prof. Dr. N Trubetzkoy,” in Actes du deuxième Congrès international de linguistes (Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et d’Orient Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1933), pp. 120–125.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001b. Phonological systems considered in themselves and in relation to general language structure in studies. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 3–5. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    A brief explanation of phonology and its importance ending in a call for uniform, internationalized efforts at phonological description and an international association dedicated to phonology. Originally published in German as “Berichte von Prof. Dr. N Trubetzkoy,” in Actes du deuxième Congrès international de linguistes (Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et d’Orient Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1933), pp. 109–113.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001c. The systematic phonological representation of languages. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 11–13. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    A short piece in which Trubetzkoy outlines the work needed for linguistic typology, including attention to neutralization and to positions that serve as targets of neutralization. Originally published in German in 1932 as “Charakter und Methode der systematischen phonologischen Darstellung einer gegebenen Sprache,” in Proceedings of the First International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Amsterdam, 3–8 July 1932, pp. 18–22.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001d. A theory of phonological oppositions. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 14–21. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    A discussion of opposition aimed at psychologists and logicians stressing that the classification of sound oppositions is neither subjective nor arbitrary but rather is implied by the language system. Originally published in 1936 in French as “Essai d’une théorie des oppositions phonologiques,” Journal de Psychologie 33:5–18.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001e. On a new critique of the concept of the phoneme. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 22–38. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    A nice example of controlled polemical writing, in which Trubetzkoy responds to Alfred Schmitt’s 1936 critique of the concept of the phoneme. Originally published in 1937 as “Über eine neue Kritik des Phonembegriffes,” in Archiv für die vergleichende Phonetik 1:129–153.

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The History of Slavic Languages

One of Trubetzkoy’s first academic presentations in Moscow was a paper critical of the then-received view of Slavic linguistic history. He had hoped to develop his ideas as a book on the history of the Slavic languages, and his letters to his close friend Roman Jakobson reveal that his early “Outline of the Prehistory of the Slavic Languages” was lost when Trubetzkoy left Moscow after the 1917 Russian Revolution. What remain are a number of analytic pieces that suggest the nature such a study would have taken. From those articles on sound change (and also from his letters to Roman Jakobson during the 1920s) and his essay on the common Slavic elements in culture, readers may appreciate his overall method of analyzing Slavic history in terms of relevant phonological, morphological, and cultural oppositions which guide the evolution of systems. Trubetzkoy 2001e responds to responds to the criticism of the “phonological school” of Nicolai Van Wijk. Trubetzkoy 2001a and Trubetzkoy 2001c are a pair of short articles on the accent systems of Slavic and Baltic branches of Indo-European. Trubetzkoy 2001b and Trubetzkoy 2001d deal with chronologies of changes from Common Slavic to the various Slavic dialects. Trubetzkoy 1949 is a short booklet translating in which discussing influences on the popular and literary Slavic languages. Trubetzkoy 1954, dealing with orthography, sound, and morphology, was published in German.

  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1949. The common Slavic element in Russian culture. Edited by L. Stillman. New York: Columbia Univ., Dept. of Slavic Languages.

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    A short booklet in which Trubetzkoy discusses influences on the popular and literary Slavic languages, Old Church Slavonic, and the modern branches, including a discussion of lexical doublet and oprthography. Originally published as “Obščeslavianskii element v russkoi kul’ture” in Trubetzkoy’s K probleme russkogo samopoznaniia (Paris, 1927), pp. 54–94.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1954. Altkirchenslavische Grammatik: Schrift-, Laut- und Formensystem. Edited by R. Jagoditsch. Vienna: Rudolph Rohrer.

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    Trubetzkoy’s theoretically oriented sketch of Old Church Slavonic grammar, originally written in 1938. Second ed., Heidelberg, Germany: Carl Winter, 1968.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001a. On the original value of the common Slavic accents in studies in general linguistics and language structure. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 141–151. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Trubetzkoy argues that the Common Slavic and Common Baltic accent contours differ systematically from Indo-European prototypes by the innovation of a short falling tone, a change that had profound effects on Slavic and Baltic metrics. Originally published in 1921 in French as “De la valeur primitive des intonations du slave commun,” Revue des études slaves 1:171–87.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001b. On the chronology of some common Slavic sound changes. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 129–140. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Trubetzkoy’s analysis of the relative chronology of a set of complex sound changes in geographically related areas. Originally published in French in 1922 as “Essai sur la chronologie de certains faits phonétiques du slave commun,” Revue des études slaves 2:217–234.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001c. On the proto-Slavic accents in studies. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 152–156. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Trubetzkoy corrects and extends his earlier analysis of West Slavic languages. Originally published in 1924 in German as “Zum urslavischen Intonationssystem,” in Streitberg Festgabe (Leipzig: Breitkopf), pp. 359–366.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001d. The phonetic evolution of Russian and the disintegration of the common Russian linguistic unity. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 109–128. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Trubetzkoy traces how “pan-Russian linguistic unity” (p. 109) disintegrated, offering both a chronology of dialect development from common Slavic and an analysis of the principles of change. Originally published in 1925 in German as “Einiges Lautgeschichte und über die russische Auflösung die der gemeinrussischen Spracheinheit,” Zeitschrift für Slavische Philology 1:287–319.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001e. On the development of the gutturals in the Slavic languages. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 157–164. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Trubetzkoy analyzes the g > γ > h change and responds to the criticism of the “phonological school” of Nicolai Van Wijk. Originally published in German in 1933 as “Die Entwicklung der Gutturale in den slavischen Sprachen,” in Sbornik v čest na L. Miletič (Sofia, Bulgaria), pp. 267–279.

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Prosody and Quantity

Trubetzkoy viewed quantity as a phonological notion. His early papers Trubetzkoy 2001a and Trubetzkoy 2001b provide the groundwork for this synthesis, treating duration as an expression of deeper oppositions, between intensity, divisibility, or syllable structure. He adopts a point-versus-line metaphor for length, distinguishes prosodic features from phonemes and understands length, intensity, and pitch to be relevant only to the extent that they take part in phonological oppositions. Trubetzkoy 1969 includes about thirty-six pages devoted to prosody and quantity from both a theoretical and typological perspective, which served as groundwork for work on prosody in generative phonology.

  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1969. Principles of phonology. Translated by C. A. M. Baltaxe. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press.

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    Pages 170–207 deal with prosody, syllable structure, and quantity.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001a. The phonological basis of quantity in various languages. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 50–59. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Discusses phonologically relevant quantity distinctions, drawing on the work of Sweet and Jespersen, and argues against musical metaphors. The essay proposes two degrees of quantity, a punctual short vowel and an extendible long vowel. Originally published in 1938 as “Die Grundlagen der phonologischen sogenannten ‘Quantitat’ in den Sprachen verschiedenen,” in Scritti di Alfredo in onore Trombetti (Milan: Ulrico Hoepli), pp. 88–97.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001b. Quantity as a phonological problem. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 44–49. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Frames the problem of duration as an expression of more abstract oppositions, between intensity, divisibility, or syllable structure. Trubetzkoy also introduces the point-versus-line metaphor for length. Originally presented in 1938 as “Die als quantitat phonologisches Problem,” in Fourth International Congress of Linguists (Copenhagen: Einnar Munksgaard), pp. 117–122.

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Morphology and Syntax

Trubetzkoy had hoped to write a companion to Principles of Phonology dealing with morphophonemics. However, his morphological studies are centered on two short programmatic papers, Trubetzkoy 2001a and Trubetzkoy 2001b, which note that morphophonemics is neglected in the languages of Europe as opposed to the interest shown in the topic by Hebrew and Arabic grammarians. He argued that a full morphophonology should include the studies of the phonological structure of morphemes, the sound changes of morpheme in contact, and the alternations that serve a morphological function. Trubetzkoy 1929 is his first fully developed morphophonemic analysis, while Trubetzkoy 1968, written near the end of his life, provides a decade-later example of a full synchronic analysis of phonology, morphology, and orthography, focusing on Old Church Slavonic. His essays on “The Relation between the Modifier, the Modified” in Trubetzkoy 2001c reveal the type of analyses that he might have applied to syntactic issues had he lived longer.

  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1929. Polabische Studien. Sitzungberichte der Akad. der Wien in Wisschenschaften, Philos. historische-Klasse, Bd. 211, Abhandlung 4. Vienna and Leipzig: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky.

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    A 167-page book on the phonology, morphology, and morphophonemic of the dead West Slavic language Polabian. Trubetzkoy’s first fully developed morphophonemic analysis.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1968. Altkirchenslavische Grammatik: Schrift-, Laut- und Formensystem. 2d ed. Edited by R. Jagoditsch. Heidelberg, Germany: Carl Winter.

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    Trubetzkoy’s Old Church Slavonic Grammar, which includes morphophonology and discussion of the writing system. Originally written in 1938 but not published until 1954.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001a. On morphonology. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 72–74. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Here Trubetzkoy adapts the term “morphophoneme” to refer to phonemes that alternate according to the morphological structure of a word, such as k/č in Russian ruka/ručnojm, distinguishing morphophonemic alternations from phonemic ones. Originally published in 1929 in French simply as a greeting to the First Congress of Slavic Philologists and appearing in the proceedings as “Sur la ‘morphonologie,’” Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague 1:85–88.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001b. Thoughts on morphonology. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 75–77. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    A more substantive note in which Trubetzkoy argues that morphophonemics has been neglected in the languages of Europe, writing that it must include phonological structure of morphemes, sound changes of morphemes in contact, and alternations that serve a morphological function. Originally published in German as “Gedanken über Morphonologie,” Réunion phonologique internationale tenue à Prague (Prague, 1930), pp. 160–163.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001c. The relation between the modifier, the modified, and the definite. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 78–82. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Trubetzkoy’s analysis of types of modification in which he proposes a fundamental distinction between the subject/predicate relations and the modifiers/modified relations and notes the different distributions of the definite/indefinite opposition across languages. Originally published in French as “Le rapport entre la déterminé, la déterminant, et le défini,” in Mélanges de linguistique offerts à Charles Bally (Geneva, Switzerland: Georg, 1939), pp. 75–82.

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Linguistic Geography and Finno-Ugric, Caucasian, and Indo-European Studies

Trubetzkoy was trained in the neogrammarian historical linguistics of his time, which he left behind in favor of structural and functional approaches, as is evident in his historical and geographical studies. Several papers develop the notion of Sprachbund, or language union, while others challenge the prevailing view of linguistic evolution, suggesting a stronger role for language contact and arguing for the indeterminacy of genetic (family tree) relationships. A number of essays also deal with specific phonetic or etymological issues which provide evidence for relationships, influences, and dates of changes. The notion of language union appears in Trubetzkoy 1928, and in a more developed form in Trubetzkoy 2001c. Trubetzkoy 2001f argues that the assumption of an Indo-European proto-people is a circular and unscientific and that instead the real question must be how and where Indo-European arose. Other works, such as Trubetzkoy 2001b and Trubetzkoy 2001d, deal with specific issues in Indo-European. His historical studies include ones on borrowings (Trubetzkoy 2001a and Trubetzkoy 2001e).

  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1928. Etablissement et délimitation des termes techniques, Proposition 16. In Actes du Premier congrès international des linguists, 17–18. Leiden, The Netherlands: A. W. Sijthoff’s Uitgeversmaatschappij.

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    Trubetzkoy introduces the idea of a “language union.”

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001a. Remarks on some Iranian words borrowed by the North Caucasian languages. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 165–169. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    A look at Indo-Iranian borrowings into Chechen, Karbardian, and Circassian, which lack cognates in Ossetic. Included is discussion of the forms of the name of the Ossetic folk hero Bat’raz. Originally published in 1922 as “Remarques sur quelques mots iraniens empruntes par les langues du Caucase Septentrional,” Mémoires de la Société de linguistique22:247–252.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001b. Thoughts on the Latin a-subjunctive. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 99–103. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    A short piece in which Trubetzkoy proposes that the Italic and Celtic subjunctives derive from an Indo-European optative in *a (rather than *oi) and thus that the optative was not uniform in all the Indo-European languages. Originally published as “Gedanken über den lateinschen a-Konjunktiv,” in Festschrift für P. Kretschmer (Vienna: Jugend und Volk, 1926), pp. 267–274.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001c. Phonology and linguistic geography. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 39–43. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Trubetzkoy distinguishes phonological, phonetic, and etymological differences in dialect study and reinforces the need for phonological dialectology of individual languages. Originally published in German as “Phonologie und Sprachgeographie,” in Réunion phonologique internationale tenue à Prague (Prague, 1930), pp. 228–234.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001d. The pronunciation of the Greek χ in the ninth century A.D. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 104–108. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Evidence from the Old Church Slavonic Glagolithic alphabet to support the view that an aspirated pronunciation of Greek χ lasted into the 9th century. Originally published in 1936 as “Die Aussprache des griechischen x im 9. Jahrhundert n. Chr.,” Glotta: Zeitschrift für griechische und lateinische Sprache 25:248–256.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001e. On the prehistory of East Caucasian languages. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 170–174. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Trubetzkoy’s analysis of the Chechen group proposing that Avar-Ando people of Western Daghestan were not the original inhabitants of that area. Originally published in 1937 as Zur Vorgeschichte der ostkaukasischen Sprachen, in Mélanges de linguistique et de philologie offerts a Jacq. van Ginneken (Paris: Klincksieck), pp. 171–178.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 2001f. Thoughts on the Indo-European problem. In Studies in general linguistics and language structure. Edited by A. Liberman, 87–98. Durham, NC: Duke Univ. Press.

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    Trubetzkoy argues against assuming an Indo-European proto-people and suggests viewing Indo-European as a purely linguistic notion resting on six broad commonalities. Originally published in 1939 in German as “Gedanken über das Indogermanenproblem,” in Acta linguistica 1:81–89. A longer version which restored some omitted pages was published in 1958 as “Mysli ob indoevropejskoj probleme,” Voprosy Jazy-koznanija 1:65–77.

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Political Writings

Trubetzkoy was a leader of the early-20th-century Eurasianist movement, popular among Russian émigrés of the 1920s, which believed that Russian civilization was not culturally part of Europe but should evolve to form its own political systems based on its geography and common legacy with the peoples of Eurasia. Trubetzkoy’s Eurasianism put him at odds both with the Soviets and with the Nazis. Trubetzkoy 1991a, his first book-length publication, argues that the destiny of Eurasia is historically to comprise a single entity. Trubetzkoy 1991c offered a lengthy inquiry into the cultural foundations of Russia as a whole posits that culture and geography inform destiny. Though the book is not a linguistic study, here we see Trubetzkoy’s ideas on cultural destiny developing side-by-side with his work on the history of Slavic. Trubetzkoy’s early political work also included Trubetzkoy 1991d, an analysis of nationalism. In addition to his Eurasianist pieces, Trubetzkoy was a critic of both political Bolshevism and Nazism. The essay Trubetzkoy 1991b, for example, argued that political progress always becomes a new status quo. By the 1930s, Trubetzkoy was critiquing Hitler’s regime in such essays as Trubetzkoy 1991e and Trubetzkoy 1991g, and in Trubetzkoy 1991f he blends in his earlier interests to suggest Eurasianism as an alternative to the Nazi racial theories.

  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1991a. Europe and mankind. In The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman, 1–64. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    Trubetzkoy argues against pan-European chauvinism and in favor of pan-Eurasian nationalism and the historical. Originally published in Russian as Evropa i chelovechestvo (Sofia, Bulgaria, 1920).

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1991b. At the door: Reaction? Revolution? In The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman, 137–145. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    A short analysis of the relativism on the concepts of left and right in politics and the way in which progress achieved becomes a new status quo. Originally published in 1923 as “U dverej (Reakcija? Revoljucija?),” Evrazijskij vremennik 3:18–29.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1991c. The legacy of Genghis Khan: A perspective on Russian history not from the West but from the East. In The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman, 161–231. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    Trubetzkoy asks where the Russian identity comes from, arguing that it is best traced to Genghis Khan rather than to Peter the Great. Blending religious, anthropological, and moral perspectives, Trubetzkoy argues that the foundations of Russia are Eurasian and that the communists, he argues, are misguided in pursuing a Petrine, Western-oriented view. Originally published in 1925 in in Russian as Nasledie Čingiskhana (Berlin: Evraziiskoe izdatel’stvo).

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1991d. Pan-Eurasian nationalism. In The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman, 233–267. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    Offers an analysis of nationalism and the necessity of a pan-Eurasian brotherhood. Originally published in 1927 as “Obščeevrazijskij nacionalizm,” Evrazijskaja xronika 9:24–31.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1991e. On the idea governing the ideocratic state. In The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman, 269–275. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    Trubetzkoy proposes that democracy give way to ideocracy—the selection of leaders according to moral prestige derived from faithfulness to ideas. Originally published in 1935 as “Ob idée-pravitel’nitse ideokratičeskogo gosudarstva,” Evrazijskaja xronika 11:29–37.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1991f. On racism. In The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman, 277–287. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    A short essay in which Trubetzkoy critiques the anti-Semitism of the Russian intelligentsia as serving the interests of German imperialism and as based on a flawed theory of the inheritance of psychological traits. Originally published in 1935 as “O rasizme,” Evrazijskie tetradi 5:43–54.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1991g. The decline of creativity. In The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman, 289–294. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    A short piece in which Trubetzkoy posits that the Soviet policies had resulted in a loss of intellectual creativity in Russia at a crucial time in world history. Originally published in 1937 as “Upadok tvorčestva,” Evrazijskaja xronika 1:10–16.

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On Religion

A devout follower of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Trubetzkoy often linked religious ideas to his cultural analysis. His theory of oppositions is apparent in his analysis of religion when draws on his ideas about “language unions,” with languages and cultures as being defined by their place in the whole in Trubetzkoy 1991b, “The Tower of Babel and the Confusion of Language.” His critique of the unification of Christian churches as a counterweight to communism was offered in Trubetzkoy 1991a, “The Temptation of Religious Union.”

  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1991a. The temptation of religious union. In The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman, 117–130. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    Trubetzkoy argues that the unification of churches is often pursued as a political strategy rather than for piety and is thus fraught with internal contradictions. Originally published in 1923 as “Soblazny edinenija,” in Rossija i latinstvo, edited by P. Bicilli (Berlin: Logos), pp. 121–140. In the supplementary material in the cited edition, Liberman excerpts Trubetzkoy’s 1922 essay “The Religions of India and Christianity” (published in Russian in Evraiiskii vremennik, Utverzhdeniia evraziitsev 3 [1923]:177–230), which discusses Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1991b. The Tower of Babel and the confusion of tongues. In The legacy of Genghis Khan and other essays on Russia’s identity. Edited by A. Liberman, 147–160. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    Trubetzkoy argues in favor of linguistic diversity and that the “confounding of languages” is the solution to cultural homogeneity. Originally published in 1923 as “Vavilonskaja bašnja i smešenie jazykov,” Evrazijskij vremennik 3:107−124.

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On Literature

Once settled in Vienna, Trubetzkoy taught literature as well as linguistics, and his literary scholarship ranges widely over medieval and modern works. For linguists, the connection between his structuralism and his linguistic ideas about oppositions will be of special interest. His work also explores the role of the artist and the aesthetic function of art, and it combines both anthropological and linguistic perspectives—treating texts as episodes of structure whose unity and dynamics are evident in details of language. His analysis of the Russian pilgrim stories, for example (in Trubetzkoy 1990, Writings on Literature) focuses on style in relation to the culture function of literature. His work on meter in Pushkin (in Trubetzkoy 1990), the Russian chastushka (a form of ironic folk poetry popular in the 19th and early 20th century), and bylinas (East Slavic epic narrative poetry) is informed by his linguistic training and several studies; the contrast between the study of the chastushka in Trubetzkoy 1991d (cited under Political Writings) and Trubetzkoy 1987 on the bylinas illustrates the evolution of his thinking. Trubetzkoy 1975 and Trubetzkoy 1948 are studies of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, respectively; the former still available only in Russian. Notable too is Trubetzkoy 1971, which translates his formalist study of Afanasij Nikitin’s “Journey beyond the Three Seas,” in which Trubetzkoy treats the travel tale as literature; the Russian original is was published in 1926. For general thought on literature versus colloquial language, Trubetzkoy 1949 (The Common Slavic Element in Russian Culture) will be of interest. The study of the East Slavic bylinas (Trubetzkoy 1987) is available only in Russian versions. The three studies on metrics collected in Trubetzkoy 1963 are also, despite the English title, in Russian.

  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1948. The style of ‘Poor Folk’ and ‘The Double.’ American Slavic and East European Review 7.2: 150–170.

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    Trubetzkoy’s posthumously published examination of the goals and style of two early works by Dostoevsky.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. 1949. The common Slavic element in Russian culture. Edited by L. Stillman. New York: Columbia Univ., Dept. of Slavic Languages.

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    Trubetzkoy discusses the origins of popular and literary Slavic language, especially literary Russian and Ukrainian, concluding that some Slavic languages have a literature based on tradition while others are based more on external influences. Originally published as “Obščeslavianskii element v russkoi kul’ture” in Trubetzkoy’s collection K probleme russkogo samopoznaniia [On the problem of Russian self-awareness] (Paris, 1927), pp. 54–94.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1963. Three philological studies. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan, Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literature.

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    A short book including collecting three works on metrics first published between 1926 and 1937. All in Russian: “O metrike castuski” [About the metrics of the chastushka], originally published in 1927; “K voprosu o stixe ‘Pesen zapadnyx slavjan’ Puškina” (On the problem of verse in Pushkin’s “Songs of the Western Slavs”), first published in 1937; and “Xozhenie za tri morja Afanasija Nikitina, kak literaturnyj pamjatnik” (Afanasij Nikitin’s ‘Journey beyond the Three Seas’ as a work of literature), first published in 1926.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1971. Afanasij Nikitin’s ‘Journey beyond the Three Seas’ as a work of literature. In Readings in Russian poetics: Formalist and structuralist views. Edited by L. Matejka and K. Pomorska, 199–219. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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    Notable in that Trubetzkoy analyzes a travel text not usually taken as literary. Translation of his “Xozhenie za tri morja Afanasija Nikitina, kak literaturnyj pamjatnik.” Versty 1926, 1:164–86.

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1975. Literaturnoe razvitie L’va Tolstogo. In N. S. Trubetzkoy’s letters and notes. Edited by R. Jakobson, 475–479. The Hague: Mouton.

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    In Russian. The text of a December 1935 lecture on the development of Tolstoy as a writer. (Title translation: The literary development of Leo Tolstoy.)

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1987. K voprosu o stikhe russkoi byliny. In Izbrannye trudy po filologii. Edited by N. S. Trubetzkoy, V. A. Vinogradov, V. P. Naroznak, et al., 352–358. Moscow: Progress.

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    Not yet available in English, this is the mature Trubetzkoy’s analysis of the traditional East Slavic epic narrative form and its versification. First published in 1937. (Title translation: On the question of the verse of the Russian bylina; the translated title of the collection is Selected works on philology.)

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1990. Writings on literature. Edited and translated by A. Liberman. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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    Selections and translations of Trubetzkoy’s work on Old Russian literature (the style of Southern Russian chronicles) and 19th-century Russian poetry (focusing on Mikhail Lermontov), with the bulk of the book consisting of Trubetzkoy’s analysis of Dostoevsky as an artist.

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Folklore Studies

Folklore was Trubetzkoy’s first academic interest and his studies were facilitated his mentoring by the Russian folklorists Stefan Kuznetsóv and Vsévolod Miller. Trubetzkoy’s approach, even as a teen, was linguistic and anthropological, analyzing plot variations in terms of cultural oppositions and using comparative and etymological evidence. His first publication, Trubetzkoy 1905, was on the Finnish Kalevala and his interests moved on to comparative folklore more broadly. His early work included studies of death rituals (Trubetzkoy 1905), fertility goddesses in Trubetzkoy 1906, origin myths in Trubetzkoy 1909, and an important analysis of discussion of the legend of the Caucasian hero Redidia as a borrowing rather than a historical recounting in Trubetzkoy 1911. Trubetzkoy’s work on folklore was also a source of his more general critique of European ethnocentrism. His ability to continue fieldwork on folklore was hindered by his emigration, though it was a topic to which he returned near the end of his life, and a reminiscence of his folklore contacts was published posthumously as Trubetzkoy 1941. Few of these works are available in English, but a flavor of Trubetzkoy’s approach can be found in his obituary of Kuznetsóv, translated and excerpted in Writings on Literature as Trubetzkoy 1990.

  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1905. Finnskaja pesn ‘kak Kulto neito pereživanie jazyčeskogo obyčaja. Etnografičeskoe obozrenie (Ethnographic Review) 17:2–3: 231–233.

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    Fifteen-year-old Trubretzkoy’s analysis of Runo 37 of the Kalevala (in which a blacksmith forges a replacement wife from precious metals). He sees it as an ongoing ritual of making effigies of the dead which has been reinterpreted as a folktale in which the blacksmith makes a replacement wife. (In Russian. Title translation: The Finnish song ‘Kulto Neito’ as a survival of a pagan ritual.)

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1906. K voprosu o “Zolotoj Babe.” Etnografičeskoe obozrenie 18.1–2: 52–62.

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    Another work by the teenage Trubetzkoy studying the Paleo-Siberian fertility goddess. He is scathingly critical of ungrounded etymologies and looks the problem in terms of the identity of both functions and names. (In Russian. Title translation: On the question of the “Golden Woman.”)

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1909. Kavkaszkie paralleli k frigiyskomy mifu o rozhdenii iz kamnya (-zemli). Etnografičeskoe obozrenie 20.3: 88–92.

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    Influenced by Vsévolod Miller’s work, Trubetzkoy records and analyzes the origin myths of the Northern Caucasian peoples, proposing parallels with the myths of Asian Minor. (In Russian. Title translation: Caucasian parallels to the Phrygian myth of the birth from stone [Earth].)

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1911. Rededia na Kavkaz. Etnografičeskoe obozrenie 23.1–2: 229–238.

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    An important contribution in which Trubetzkoy shows that the Rededia tale is a borrowing from Russian annals, demonstrating that Rededia had never been known in the Caucasus and that the name was a folk etymology. (In Russian. Title translation: Rededia in the Caucasus).

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1941. Fol’klornoe obščenie meždu vostočnymi slavjanami i narodami severnogo Kavkaza. Zapiski Russkogo Naučnogo Instituta v Begrade 16–17:15–22.

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    Written shortly before his death, this essay focuses on the myth of “Kyc’ug’s son,” a giant killed by the folk hero Sozryko, and its Slavic and Iranian parallels. (In Russian. Title translation: Folklore contacts between the Eastern Slavs and the peoples of the North Caucausus.)

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  • Trubetzkoy, N. S. 1990. Invariants in the systemic principle in ethnography and folklore (Stefan Kirovich Kuznetsov). In Writings on literature. Edited and translated by A. Liberman, 107–109. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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    Trubetzkoy’s obituary for one of his mentors. Excerpted from Etnografičeskoe obozrenie 25.1–2: 325–331.

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The Intellectual Background of Trubetzkoy’s Work

Among the dominant themes in the intellectual background of Trubetzkoy’s work are differences with and the influence of Roman Jakobson, his closest intellectual partner. The article and book chapters Sériot 1999 and Gasparov 1987 explore these parallels in various ways—focusing on the shared biological anti-Darwinian understanding of Trubetzkoy and Jakobson (Sériot), and on their different intellectual orientations, Trubetzkoy’s skepticism of positivism and its link to the Slavophile past in contrast to Jakobson’s avante gardism. The essay Plungjan 1997 also focuses on the differences between Jakobson’s and Trubetzkoy’s approaches and Stolz and Toman 1993 considers the influence of the Church Slavonic heritage on the two scholars. Halle 1985 offers the perspective of one of Jakobson’s most influential students and collaborators, while the book Viel 1984 explores in detail the origins of the notion of markedness. Toman 1995 provides a historically rich overview of the intellectual milieu and orientations of all the members of the Prague Circle.

  • Gasparov, B. 1987. The ideological principles of Prague School phonology. In Language, poetry and poetics: The generation of the 1890s: Jakobson, Trubetskoy, Majakovskij. Edited by K. Pomorska, et al., 49–78. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

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    Gasparov discusses the link between Trubetzkoy’s theoretical research in linguistics and the ideological and social contexts of Russian intellectual life, drawing on the discussion between Jakobson and Trubetzkoy in the Letters and Notes.

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  • Halle, M. 1985. Remarks on the scientific revolution in linguistics 1926–1929. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences 15:61–77.

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    Halle’s commentary on the Jakobson-Trubetzkoy correspondence focusing on their ideas that the evolution of language follows from the organization of its structure. Also published in K. Pomorska, E. Chodakowska, H. McLean, B. Vine, eds., Language, Poetry and Poetics (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1987).

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  • Plungjan, V. A. 1997. R. O. Jakobson et N. S. Troubetzkoy: Deux personnalités, deux sciences? Cahiers de l’ILSL 9:177–186.

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    A discussion of the differences between Jakobson’s and Trubetzkoy’s work arguing that Prague structuralism was not a unified approach. (In French. Title translation: R. O. Jakobson and N. S. Trubetzkoy: Two personalities, two sciences?)

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  • Sériot, P. 1999. The impact of Czech and Russian biology on the linguistic thoughts of the Prague Linguistic Circle. Travaux du Cercle linguistique de Prague, ns/Prague Linguistic Circle Papers 3:15–24.

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    Explores the biological background of both Trubetzkoy’s and Jakobson’s thinking with respect to language evolution, suggesting that both had a neo-Lamarckian view.

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  • Stolz, B. A., and J. Toman. 1993. Philologia militans: Trubetzkoy and Jakobson on the Church Slavonic heritage. In American Contributions to the Eleventh International Congress of Slavists. Edited by R. A. Maguire and A. Timberlake, 414–424. Columbus, OH: Slavica.

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    A short essay tracing the Old Church Slavonic legacy influence on Jakobson and Trubetzkoy, showing how Trubetzkoy in particular viewed Eastern Orthodoxy as a unifying element culturally and linguistically.

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  • Toman, J. 1995. The magic of a common language: Jakobson, Mathesius, Trubetzkoy, and the Prague Linguistic Circle. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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    A very readable social and cultural history of the Prague Circle focusing primarily on the period from 1925 to 1939.

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  • Viel, M. 1984. La notion de “marque” chez Trubetzkoy et Jakobson: Un episode de l’histoire de la pensee structurale. Lille, Belgium: Atelier National Reproduction des Theses.

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    A long (783-page) and minutely detailed study of the origins of the notion of markedness with a fine analysis of the Trubetzkoy-Jakobson correspondence and the distinct approach of the two scholars. In French.

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Trubetzkoy’s Phonological Theory

Much of Trubetzkoy’s Grundzüge is devoted to the study of phonological oppositions, which he characterized as logical correlations among the phonemes of a language. Later studies have mined the underpinning, consequences, and lacunae of Trubetzkoy’s work and its evolution. For an overview of the issues, see Itkonen 2001 and also the more detailed overview of the types of oppositions and their relation to neutralization in Devine 1973. Akamatsu 1988 offers an in-depth and rigorous study of the concepts of the archiphoneme. Trubetzkoy’s evolving view on correlative versus disjunct oppositions is a recurring theme, with different and historically important perspectives offered in Martinet 1964, Vachek 1968, and Viel 1983, while the book Davidsen-Nielsen 1978 and the essay Dresher 2007 place Trubetzkoy’s thoughts on opposition in the context of phonological theory.

  • Akamatsu, T. 1988. The theory of neutralization and the archiphoneme in functional phonology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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    A book-length (533-page) exposition and defense of Trubetzkoy’s notion of the archiphoneme as an indispensible aspect of functional linguistic theory.

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  • Davidsen-Nielsen, N. 1978. Neutralization and the archiphoneme: Two phonological concepts and their history. Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag.

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    A comprehensive history of neutralization with discussion of Trubetzkoy’s and Jakobson’s work and the development of their ideas by a wide range of later phonologists. Includes a preface by André Martinet.

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  • Devine, A. M. 1973. On Trubetzkoy’s view of neutralization and related topics. Linguistics 11.109: 17–34.

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    Densely packed essay identifying several of the gaps and contradictions in Trubetzkoy’s approach to oppositions and neutralization.

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  • Dresher, B. E. 2007. Variability in Trubetzkoy’s classification of phonological oppositions. LACUS Forum 33:133–142.

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    Argues that Trubetzkoy’s account of contrastive relations in Grundzüge der Phonologie (1939) is crucially incomplete and ambiguous.

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  • Halle, M. 1988. N S Troubetzkoy et les origines de la phonologie moderne. Cahiers Ferdinand de Saussure 42:3–22.

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    Halle compares the ideas expressed by Jakobson and Trubetzkoy with those of Martinet and Zellig Harris, focusing on the question of whether or not phonemes constitute mental entities. In French.

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  • Itkonen, E. 2001. Concerning the philosophy of phonology. Puhe ja kieli 21.1: 3–11.

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    A general overview of Trubetzkoy’s thinking in relation to other phonological approaches.

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  • Martinet, A. 1964. Trubetzkoy et le binarisme. Wiener slavistisches Jahrbuch 11:37–41.

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    Martinet argues that there is an essential contradiction between Trubetzkoy’s approach and that of Jakobson with respect to the aprioistically binary nature of phonological oppositions, and that beginning in 1933 Trubetzkoy had begun to give up that view. Reprinted in Martinet’s volume La lingustique synchronigue: Études et recherché (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1965), pp. 77–83.

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  • Vachek, J. 1968. A note on Trubetzkoy and phonemic disjunctions. Folia Linguistica 2.3–4: 160–165.

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    Vachek reviews the development of phonological theory within the Prague Circle in the early 1930s and suggests that Trubetzkoy may have begun to rethink the dichotomy of correlative versus disjunctive relations later than 1933.

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  • Viel, M. 1983. Nouvelles remarques a propos de l’abandon par Trubetzkoy des oppositions disjointes. Historiographia Linguistica 10.3: 267–287.

    DOI: 10.1075/hl.10.3.05vieSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Addresses Trubetzkoy’s abandonment of the division of phonological oppositions into correlations and disjunctions, reviewing the observations of Martinet and Vachek and offering new evidence from Trubetzkoy’s Eurasianist writings. In French.

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Language Contact

Trubetzkoy introduced the term jazykovoj sojuz (language league) in 1923 and expanded on the idea in his 1928 essay “Etablissement et délimitation des termes techniques, Proposition 16” and his 1931 “Phonology and Linguistic Geography” (Trubetzkoy 1928 and Trubetzkoy 2001c, respectively; both cited under Linguistic Geography and Finno-Ugric, Caucasian, and Indo-European Studies). Trubetzkoy’s original concept of the Sprachbund was intended as a methodological counterweight to the “genetic” or Stammbaum model and it reflected areas in which attested multilingualism resulted in language change. Trubetzkoy’s idea, which he illustrated with the example of the Balkans, was developed further in Jakobson 1962a and Jakobson 1962b, which are analyzed and contrasted with Trubetzkoy’s view in Schaller 1997 and in Matejka 1990. Toman’s chapter on Trubetzkoy in The Magic of a Common Language (Toman 1995, cited under General Overviews, pp. 185–213) provides some context. Friedman 2011a and Friedman 2011b provide a clear discussion of the background of the concept, its relation to both historical and social processes of language contact, and its present-day linguistic and political implications. Urban 2007 provides a nice summary of the linguistic issues.

  • Friedman, V. A. 2011a. Families, leagues, and hybridity: The past and future of Slavic and East European languages. Slavic and East European Journal 55.1: 1–13.

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    A short piece (originally a presidential lecture to American Slavists) offering a concise and lucid discussion of Trubetzkoy’s formulation of Sprachbund and its present-day implications for both Balkan linguistics and Eurasian politics.

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  • Friedman, V. A. 2011b. The Balkan languages and Balkan linguistics. Annual Review of Anthropology 40:275−291.

    DOI: 10.1146/annurev-anthro-081309-145932Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Friedman offers a clear overview of the history of the Sprachbund concept, its present-day utility and application to Balkan linguistics, noting that recent conflations of areal linguistics and typology miss some of the subtleties of the process of language contact.

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  • Jakobson, R. 1962a. Über die phonologische Sprachbünde. In Selected writings. Vol. 1. By R. Jakobson, 137–143. The Hague: Mouton.

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    Jakobson proposes expanding the definition of the Sprachbund, concentrating on phonological correlations such as consonantal timbre, prosody. In German. Originally published in 1931.

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  • Jakobson, R. 1962b. K xarakteristike evrazijskogo jazykovogo sojuza. In Selected writings. Vol. 1. By R. Jakobson, 144–201. The Hague: Mouton.

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    The further elaboration of Jakobson’s extension of the Sprachbund with a center in Eurasia, identifying relic islands and boundaries and positing Russian as the basis of the pan-Eurasian culture. In Russian. Originally published in 1931.

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  • Matejka, L. 1990. N.S. Trubetzkoj’s concepts of language unions and cultural zones. Wiener Slawistischer Almanach 25–26:291–298.

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    Concise and straightforward discussion of Trubetzkoy’s original ideas.

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  • Schaller, H. W. 1997. Roman Jakobson’s conception of “Sprachbünd.” Cahiers de l’ILSL 9:199–204.

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    Schaller provides an in-depth comparison of Trubetskoy’s and Jakobson’s approaches, with reference to some precursors and successors, concluding that Trubetzkoy’s approach was intensive while Jakobson’s was extensive.

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  • Urban, M. 2007. Defining the linguistic area/league: An invitation to discussion. Studia Linguistica Universitatis Iagellonicae Cracoviensis 124:137–159.

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    A clear, up-to-date, and in-depth overview of many of the theoretical issues involved in the development of the Sprachbund concept.

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Morphophonology

Trubetzkoy’s work on morphophonology ranges over a series of short essays and longer studies in which the ideas are applied in descriptive work on Polabian, Old Church Slavic, and Russian. The survey of “Prague School morphonology” in Komárek 1994 focuses on Trubetzkoy’s theoretical efforts and his morphophonological publications, noting his influence on the morphophonemic terminology of the Prague Circle Theses. Also important is the survey Stankiewicz 1976, which offers a full analysis of Trubetzkoy’s morphophonemic views and practices. Kilbury 1976 discusses the developments of morphophonemics from Baudouin de Courtenay to Trubetzkoy to the reaction to Trubetzkoy’s formulations.

  • Kilbury, J. 1976. The development of morphophonemic theory. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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    A short (155-page) readable book adapted from a PhD dissertation tracing the history of morphophonemics, including chapters on Baudouin de Courtenay and Trubetzkoy, and European structuralism after Trubetzkoy.

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  • Komárek, M. 1994. Prague School morphonology. In The Prague School of structural and functional linguistics: A short introduction. Edited by P. Luelsdorff, 45–71. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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    Offers a compact and clear summary of Trubetzkoy’s writings on morphophonology, his morphophonemic terminology, and its later development by other Pragueans.

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  • Stankiewicz, E. 1976. Prague School morphophonemics. In Sound, sign and meaning: Quinquagenary of the Prague Linguistic Circle. Edited by L. Matejka, 101–118. Ann Arbor: Michigan Slavic.

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    An in-depth analysis of of Trubetzkoy’s practices and influence.

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Studies of Trubetzkoy’s Political Writings

For an introduction to commentary on Trubetzkoy’s political and historical writing, a good place to begin is with Liberman 1991, which discusses the contemporary reactions to Trubetzkoy’s social criticism. Moore 1997 is a review article of The Legacy of Genghis Kahn collection. Riasanovsky 1967 is the classic history of the concept of Eurasianism; see also Riasanovsky 1964, a review article on Europe and Mankind. Philosopher Thorsten Botz-Bornstein’s essays drawing on Trubetzkoy’s Eurasianist writings in studies of Japanese ideas of community and of Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi’s concept of Eurafrica in Botz-Bornstein 2007a and Botz-Bornstein 2007b. Geographer Mark Bassin explores the paradox of 1920s Eurasianism in Bassin 2003.

Trubetzkoy’s Literary Work

Critical commentary and explications of Trubetzkoy’s literary work include the introduction in Liberman 1990, which treats the influences and motivation of Trubetzkoy’s literary work and suggests some parallels with his linguistic thinking. Trubetzkoy’s analysis of Afanasii Nikitin has also drawn attention in studies such as Lenhoff 1984 and Titunik 1978. Tihanov 2000 explores Trubetzkoy’s influence on the critic Mikhail Bakhtin. For an assessment in German, see Jagoditsch 1977.

  • Jagoditsch, R. 1977. Trubetzkoys Beitrag zum Studium der altrussichen Literatur. Wiener Slavistisches Jahrbuch 23:76–86.

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    An assessment by Trubetzkoy’s successor at the University of Vienna. In German.

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  • Lenhoff, G. 1984. Trubetzkoy’s “Afanasii Nikitin” reconsidered. Canadian-American Slavic Studies 18.4: 377–392.

    DOI: 10.1163/221023984X01170Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Critique of Trubetzkoy’s 1926 study of Journey beyond the Three Seas (Trubetzkoy 1963, cited under Collections).

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  • Liberman, A. 1990. Introduction: Trubetzkoy as a literary scholar. In N. S. Trubetzkoy: Writings on literature. Edited, translated, and introduced by A. Liberman, xi–xlvi. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press.

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    In-depth survey essay about Trubetzkoy’s literary and folkloric scholarship, its relation to his linguistics, and to Russian formalism. Includes a bibliography of thirty-eight of Trubetzkoy’s works related to literature, ethnography, and history.

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  • Tihanov, G. 2000. Cultural emancipation and the novelistic: Trubetzkoy, Savitsky, Bakhtin. Bucknell Review 43.2: 47–67.

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    A study of the influence of Trubetzkoy’s Eurasianist writing (and that of Petr Savitsky) on Mikhail Bakhtin’s concepts of cultural heteroglossia.

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  • Titunik, I. R. 1978. Between formalism and structuralism: N. S. Trubetzkoy’s “The Journey beyond the Three Seas by Afonasij Nikitin” as a literary monument. In Sound, Sign and Meaning: Quinquagenary of the Prague Linguistic Circle. Edited by L. Matejka, 303–319. Ann Arbor: Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literature, Univ. of Michigan.

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    Explores Trubetzkoy’s use of Russian formalist analysis in the analysis of the Nikitin tale.

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LAST MODIFIED: 02/25/2014

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199772810-0179

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