Jakobson'sCommunication Model

Prepared by Professor JohnLye as a synopsis of part of Roman Jakobson's "Linguistics and Poetics"(1958)











Functions (italicized phrases)

The context or referential function is what is being spoken of, what is being referred to. In the expression "PLEASE put the f---ing CAT OUT NOW!" the referential burden of the message is "I am requesting that the domesticated cat (that is in our care) be put outside the house (in which we now are) at this time (and not later)".

The poetic function is the focus on the message (the use of the medium) for its own sake. The associations (equivalence, similarity and dissimilarity, synonymity and antonymity); the repetitions of sound values, stresses, accents; the word and phrase boundaries and relationships (e.g. elided vs end-stopped words): as these are combined in sequence. "Just don't make a pass at every lass in the class," said Jumpin' Jack Flash.

The emotive or expressive function of language refers to the attitude of the addresser towards that of which (or to whom) he speaks: through emphasis, intonation, loudness, pace, etc. This is a really, really IMPORTANT point.

The phatic function is the use of language to keep people in contact with each other, the maintenance of social relationships -- includes 'idle chat'. Kinda interesting, eh? What do you think about being phatic together? Fun? I like your hat, did you buy it downtown?

The metalinguistic function is that use of language by which people check out with each other whether they are 'on the same page', using the same codes in the same contexts. Are you with me on this one?

The connative function refers to those aspects of language which aim to create a certain response in the addressee. Learn this now!