Podcast episode 21: Karl Bühler’s Organon model and the Prague Circle

In this episode, we look at psychologist Karl Bühler’s (1879–1963) Organon model of communication and observe its influence on the linguists Nikolai Trubetzkoy (1890–1938) and Roman Jakobson (1896–1982), who were associated with the Prague Circle.

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References for Episode 21

Primary Sources

Bühler, Karl (1927), Die Krise der Psychologie, Jena: Fischer.

Bühler, Karl (1931), ‘Phonetik und Phonologie’, Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague 4, 22–53. MPI PuRe (last page of scan missing)

Bühler, Karl (1933), Axiomatik der Sprachwissenschaften, Frankfurt: Klostermann.
(English trans., The Axiomatization of the Language Sciences, in Innis 1982.)

Bühler, Karl (1934), Sprachtheorie: Die Darstellungsfunktion der Sprache, Jena: Fischer. MPI PuRe: 1965 edition
(English trans.: 2011, Theory of Language, trans. Donald Fraser Goodwin, ed. Achim Eschbach, Amsterdam: Benjamins.)

Bühler, Karl (1960), Das Gestaltprinzip im Leben des Menschen und der Tiere, Bern: Huber.

Durnovo, Nikolaj, Bohuslav Havránek, Roman Jakobson, Vilém Mathesius, Jan Mukařovský, Nikolai Trubetzkoy, & Bohumil Trnka (1929), ‘Thèses présentées au Premier Congrès des philologues slaves’, in Mélanges linguistiques dédiés au Premier Congrès des Philologues Slaves, pp. 5–29. Praha: Jednota Československých Matematiků a Fysiků. BnF Gallica
(English trans. by Marta K. Johnson, 1978, ‘Manifesto’, in Recycling the Prague Linguistic Circle, ed. Marta K. Johson, pp. 1–31. Anne Arbor: Karoma.)

Gardiner, Alan Henderson (1932), Theory of Speech and Language, Oxford: Oxford University Press. archive.org

Jakobson, Roman (1981 [1960]), ‘Poetry and grammar’, in Selected Writings: Roman Jakobson, vol. III, Poetry of Grammar and Grammar of Poetry, 18–51, The Hague: Mouton.
(An abridged version with the title ‘The speech event and the functions of language’ is reproduced in Jakobson 1990, pp. 69–79.)

Jakobson, Roman (1990 [1960]), ‘Linguistics and Communication Theory’, in Jakobson (1990), pp. 489–497.

Martinet, André (1980 [1949]), Éléments de linguistique générale, Paris: Armin Colin. archive.org

Shannon, Claude & Warren Weaver (1949), The Mathematical Theory of Communication, Urbana: University of Illinois Press. MPI PuRe: 1964 edition

Trubetzkoy, Nikolai (1939), Grundzüge der Phonologie. Prague.
(English trans. by Christiane A.M. Baltaxe, 1969, Principles of Phonology. Berkeley: University of California Press. archive.org)

Secondary Sources

Ash, Mitchell G. (1995), Gestalt psychology in German culture, 1890–1967: Holism and the quest for objectivity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Benetka, Gerhard (1995), Psychologie in Wien: Sozial- und Theoriegeschichte des Wiener Psychologischen Instituts 1922–1938, Wien: WUV-Universtätsverlag.

Edwards, Paul N. (1997), The Closed World: Computers and the politics of discourse in Cold War America, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Eschbach, Achim, ed. (1984), Bühler-Studien, 2 vols., Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.

Friedrich, Janette (2004), ‘Les idées phonologiques de Karl Bühler’, Les dossiers de HEL No. 2, ed. Janette Friedrich & Didier Samain, Paris: SHESL. https://shesl.org/index.php/dossiers2-karl_buhler/

Friedrich, Janette, ed. (2018), Karl Bühlers Krise der Psychologie: Positionen, Bezüge und Kontroversen in Wien der 1920er/30er Jahre, Cham: Springer.

Geoghegan, Bernard Dionysius (2011), ‘From information theory to French theory: Jakobson, Lévi-Strauss and the cybernetic apparatus’, Critical Enquiry 38: 96–126.

Innis, Robert E. (1982), Karl Bühler, semiotic foundations of language theory, New York: Plenum Press.

Jakobson, Roman (1990), On Language, ed. Linda R. Waugh & Monique Monville-Burston, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Ungeheuer, Gerold (2004 [1967]), ‘Die kybernetische Grundlage der Sprachtheorie von Karl Bühler’, in Sprache und Kommunikation, ed. Karin Kolb & H. Walter Schmitz, 128–146, Münster: Nodus.

Van de Walle, Jürgen (2008), ‘Roman Jakobson, cybernetics and information theory: a critical assessment’, Folia Linguistica Historica 29: 87–128.

Posted in Podcast
One comment on “Podcast episode 21: Karl Bühler’s Organon model and the Prague Circle
  1. José Luis Martínez-Dueñas Espejo says:

    A most remarkable survey of 20th c. foundations of linguistics. The kind of issue present day graduates and undergraduates must study and learn.

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