English at Work
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R.Jakobson’s language functions (the main points of the lecture)
R.Jakobson’s language functions
The scheme of communication
Addresser message addressee
The function of an utterance depends on its orientation to one or more of these six constitutive factors of the speech event. As a result a parallel scheme may be established: that of the six functions of language, each one denoting an orientation towards a particular factor of the speech event.
Emotive Poetic Conative
e.g. "Is your father feeling well?”
- depending on the situation may mean at least four things (and realize four functions) :
The speaker is really interested in nothing else but the addressee’s father’s health (referential).
The speaker is trying to set up the most favourable atmosphere for discourse and, asking about the addressee’s father’s health is just anxious to be polite and make himself likeable to the addressee (phatic).
The speaker tries to give a piece of advice to the addressee that instead of idling away his time he must work hard because his father can no longer support him because of illness (conative).
The speaker is being deliberately malicious: he knows that the addressee’s father is very ill. By using irony he tries to inflict pain (poetic).
Stylistics is preoccupied with the study of the poetic function. The empirical criterion of the poetic function of a message is the repetition of sounds, meanings, words, syntactical patterns, and so on.
Relations of equivalence which are in the no-poetic message, in absentia, become in praesentia in the poetic message.
Although there are five basic functions of language we could hardly find verbal messages that would fulfil only one function.
"The diversity lies not in a monopoly of some of these several functions but in a different hierarchircal order of functions. The verbal structure of a message depends primarily on the predominant function.”
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