Research interests: theory of language, belles lettres, semiotics, philosophy of language, cultural history and theory of art.
Milestones of academic career:
1953 – graduation from the Faculty of Philology (the Department of Spanish) of the Lomonosov Moscow State University
1953-1956 – postgraduate studies at the Department of General and Comparative Linguistics of the Faculty of Philology of MSU.
1957-1958 – internship at the Sorbonne University of Paris.
1958 г. – Ph.D. degree (PhD thesis: "Comparative subordination in Old French and Old Spanish languages in the IX-XIII centuries").
1961–1962 – Head of the Department of French зof the Faculty of Philology of MSU.
1962-1971– Head of the Department of General and Comparative Linguistics of MSU.
1966 – PhD, Dr.habil. degree (Dr.habil. thesis: "Structural and semantic description of the language: French language").
1968 – MSU Professor.
1971– 2012 – Researcher at the Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
1988-1994 – Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the journal "News of the Department of Literature and Language of the Russian Academy of Sciences".
1992-2001– Head of the Section of Theoretical Linguistics in the RAS.
1984 – corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Department of Literature and Language).
1990 – full member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
1995 – Russian Federation National Award in science and technology; title "Laureate of the Russian Federation National Award in science and technology" for taking part in the preparation of the "Linguistic Encyclopedic Dictionary".
2001 – V.I. Dahl gold medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
2003 – Professor Emeritus of the Vilnius University in Lithuania.
2001 – 2012 – Directorate Adviser of the Institute of Linguistic in the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Yuri Stepanov was a fundamental language theorist whose research covered areas of knowledge from Indo–European syntax to philosophical and aesthetic aspects of logical semantics; a polyglot fluent in 7 languages; a translator (translated E. Benveniste's book "General Linguistics" (1974) from French); the author of the textbook on general linguistics, which has become classic in the university education and has been re-released several times (the last, third, edition was published in 2010); the author of the book on semiotics "Semiotics" (1972) which was the first in Russia and is still considered the best one; the author of the first study of French stylistics in comparison with Russian "French stylistics in comparison with Russian" (2002); the compiler of the well-known anthology on semiotics " Semiotics/Anthology" (1983, 2nd edition – 2001); a philosopher of language – his book "In the three-dimensional space of language" (1985), much beloved by linguists, literary critics, philosophers, poets and artists, also went through several re-releases.
In recent years, Stepanov's research work was focused primarily on culture as an autonomous sphere of being which is developing according to its own immanent laws of a self-organizing information (semiotic) system, in relation to which society and individuals act as sources of external impulses, "energy sources" who trigger the mechanisms of culture. According to Stepanov, the key layer of culture is spiritual culture, represented as a system of concepts (Stepanov's notion) – "the main cell of culture in the mental world of a person". Concepts are different from notions in a way that they are not only "thought", but also "experienced" by people and are generated in an artistic form (poetry, paintings, music). The main characteristic of concepts, and of spiritual culture as a whole — are metamorphism and compatibility, similar to those inherent in the linguistic phenomena. Metamorphism manifests itself as the evolution of the concept and the corresponding correlative — the "object" in the original system, while maintaining a certain constant core, an invariant. The latter form the constants of culture. Compatibility, or "conceptual multiplication", implies that the same concept can be interpreted in different cultural systems. Stepanov presents the system of attitudes not as a "discovery" but as a "filiation and metamorphism of ideas", a stage in the conceptual evolution. He presented these ideas in the well-known dictionary "Constants: Dictionary of Russian Culture" (1997) which brought him the V.I. Dahl gold medal of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Our special gratitude goes to Vladimir Feshchenko for providing these photos.
Yuri Stepanov was the author of more than 250 scientific works, including 14 monographs.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Struktura francuzskogo jazyka [Structure of the French language]. – Мoscow, Prosveshcheniye, 1965.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Francuzskaja stilistika [French stylistics]. – Moscow, Vyshchaya Shkola, 1965.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Osnovy obščego jazykoznanija [Fundamentals of general linguistics]. — 1st ed. 1966. 3rd ed. – Moscow, LIBROKOM, 2010.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Semiotika [Semiotics]. – Moscow, Nauka, 1971.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Metody i principy sovremennoj lingvistiki [Methods and principles of modern linguistics]. — 1st ed. 1975. 7th ed. – Moscow, URSS, 2009.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Imena, predikaty, predloženija (semiologičeskaja grammatika) [Names, predicates, sentences (semiological grammar)]. — 1st ed. 1981. 3rd ed. – Moscow, URSS, 2004.
- Stepanov, Yuri. V trehmernom prostranstve jazyka: Semiotičeskie problemy lingvistiki, filosofii, iskusstva [In the three-dimensional space of language: Semiotic problems of linguistics, philosophy, and art]. — 1st ed.1985. 2nd ed. – Moscow, LIBROKOM, 2010.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Indoevropejskoe predloženie [Indo-European sentence]. – Moscow, Nauka, 1989.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Jazyk i metod. K sovremennoj filosofii jazyka [Language and method. Modern philosophy of language]. – Moscow, LRC Publishing House, 1998.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Francuzskaja stilistika v sravnenii s russkoj [French stylistics in comparison with Russian]. — Moscow, Nauka, 2002. 5th ed. Moscow, URSS, 2009.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Konstanty. Slovar' russkoj kul'tury [Constants. Dictionary of Russian culture]. – 1st ed.1997. 3rd ed. – Moscow, Akademicheskiy Proyekt, 2004.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Protej. Očerki xaotičeskoj èvoljucii [Proteus. Essays on chaotic evolution]. – Moscow, LSC Publishing House, 2004.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Koncepty. Tonkaja plenka civilizacii [Concepts. A thin membrane of civilization]. – Moscow, LSC Publishing House, 2007.
- Stepanov, Yuri. Mysljaščij trostnik. Kniga o "Voobražaemoj slovesnosti" [A thinking reed. A book about "Imaginary belles lettres"]. – Kaluga, Eydos, 2010.