|The Prague Linguistic Circle was one of the most influential schools of linguistic thought in pre-war linguistics. Through its former members like Roman Jakobson or René Wellek, it influenced modern American linguistics as well as many other linguists in the world. In the spring of 1996, many renowned linguists came to Prague to pay homage to the heritage of the Prague Linguistic Circle and to Roman Jakobson during a conference to 70 Years of Existence of the Prague Linguistic Circle and 100th Anniversary of Roman Jakobson's Birthday.
Although the 'classical period' of the Circle can be dated between 1926, the year of the first meeting, and the beginning of WWII, its roots are in much of the earlier work of its members, and also it did not completely cease its work with the outbreak of the war.
Among the founding members were such personalities as Vilém Mathesius (President of PLC until his death in 1945), Roman Jakobson, Nikolay Trubetzkoy, Sergei Karcevskiy, Jan Mukarovský, and many others who began to meet in the mid-twenties to discuss issues of common interest.
The, at first, irregular meetings with lectures and discussions gradually developed into regular ones. The first results of the members' cooperative efforts were presented in joint theses prepared for the First International Congress of Slavicists held in Prague in 1929. These were published in the 1st volume of the then started series Travaux du Cercle Linguistique de Prague.
The Théses outlined the direction of the work of the Circle's members. Such important concepts as the approach to the study of language as a synchronic system which is, however, dynamic, functionality of elements of language, and the importance of the social function of language were explicitly laid down as the basis for further research.