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FUNCTIONS OF LANGUAGE BY ROMAN JAKOBSON

According to Jakobson, we can divide the functions of language into six factors which are
required for communication: (1) context, (2) addresseer () addressee, (!) contact, (")
common code, (#) message$
A message is sent b% the addreesser (a sender, or enunciator) to the addressee ( a receiver, or
enunciatee)$ &he message can not be understood outside of a context$ 'A (ode) should be
common full% or at least *artiall% to the addresser and addressee$ A contact which is *h%sical
channel and *hs%chological connection between addresser and addressee is necessar% for both
of them to enter and sta% in communication$
JA+,-.,/0. (,112/3(A&3,/ 1,456

5ach of these six factors has a different function of language$ &he diversit% in these functions
is a result of a different hierarchical order of functions$ .hortl% , these six functions of verbal
communication can be anal%7ed as follows:
1) 859585/&3A6 92/(&3,/:
3t is denotative,cognitive function which is oriented toward the :context0$ &o show things or
facts, the refential function is the most obvious function of language: for exam*le: '&he earth
is round$), ';ater boils at 1<< degrees$)
2) 51,&3=5 92/(&3,/:
3t is also known as 'ex*ressive function)$ &his function focuses on the :addresser0$ &his
function comes out when we want to ex*ress our emotions although we don0t s*eak to give an
information$ 3n this function, we communicate for ourselves more than other *eo*le who hear
us or not$ 9or exam*le: the inter>ections, which are words or *hrases used to ex*ress sudden
sur*rise, *leasure or anno%ance such as : '-ah?) , ',h?) , '@uck?) ',uch) ,)Aie)$ &he% are
not com*onents but equivalent of sentences$ 1oreover, as 8oman Jakobson0s exam*le in
'6inguistics and Aoetics) , onl% from the changes in the sound sha*e of the same two words
( like 'this evening) ), we can make a list of fort% or more emotional situations b%
diversif%ing its ex*ressive tint$
) (,/A&3=5 92/(&3,/:
&he conative function is an orientation toward :addressee0$ &his function finds it *urest
grammatical ex*ression in vocative and im*erative sentences, and it hel*s us to make *eo*le
do something and it includes orders and *ra%ers$ 9or exam*le: '4rink?) or 'Bo Awa%)$
!) ACA&3( 92/(&3,/:
&he *hatic function which sets for :contact0 establishes, *rolongs or discontinues the
communication$ ;e use this function to know whether channel works or whether the contact
is still there$ ,ur *ur*ose in this function firstl% to maintain the contact with the *erson we are
talking to$ 9or exam*le: 'Cello?) 'Are %ou listeningD) '4o %ou hear meD)$
3t is also the first verbal function which is acquired b% infants before the% are able to send or
receive informative communication$
") 15&A63/B2A6 92/(&3,/:
:(ode0 *erforms the ' metalingual function) which is used whenever the addresser and the
addressee need to check whether the% use same code and when the language is used to s*eak
about language$ 9or exam*le: ';hat do %ou mean b% 'krill)D) , ' ;hat is *luckedD)$ 3n the
*rocess of language learning, the acqusition of mother tongue includes wide use of
metalingual actionsE for exam*le a*hasia ma% be described as a loss of ca*abilit% for
metalingual actions$
#) A,5&3( 92/(&3,/:
&he *oetic function which is orientation toward 'message) and 'the focus on the message for
its own sake)$ &his function includes more than *oetr%, linguistics cannot limit itself >ust to
the field of *oetr%$ ;hen we sa% 'John and 1arger%) instead of '1arger% and John) or when
we sa% 'horrible Carr%) instead of ' terrible Carr% , dreadful Carr%) which have same
meaning, we use the *oetic function of language$
;hen we anal%7e the functions of language for a given unit such as a word, a text, or an
image, we s*ecif% which functions are *resent or absent, to which class or t%*e this unit
belongs and which characteristics these functions have regarding hierarchical and other
relations that can o*erate between them$ ;e can com*lement Jakbson0s communication
model of factors b% a corres*onding scheme of the functions:
9actors of communication and functions of language
&arget
factor and
function no$
&A8B5&
9A(&,8
.,28(5
9A(&,8
92/(&3,/
1 (ontext 1essage 8eferential
2 Addresser 1essage 5motive
Addressee 1essage (onative
! (ontact 1essage Ahatic
" (ode 1essage 1etalingual
# 1essage 1essage Aoetic
AAA63(A&3,/. ,9 &C5.5 92/(&3,/.
&, &C5 A4=58&3.515/&.
&he *oster advertisement '9ake hurts real) is a *art of advertising of A434A. shoes
com*an%$ ;hen we talk about the message that advertisement conve%s , we also should
mention about the stages it has to accom*lish$
3n *ro*er anal%sis of advertisements, we start b% determining whether each of the functions of
language is *resent or absent$ 3f %ou find more than one function as *resent then we can
create sim*le hierarch% between them b% identif%ing dominant function$
3n this advertisement, we see *hatic function which aims to draw attention of receiver$ &he
com*an% tries to take attention to the imitations and their harm to health b% giving wounded
naked foot with sticking *laster on it ,which is similar to Adidas original logo$ .econdl%, the
advertisement convinces *eo*le with the aim not to bu% imitations, which fulfills the
'conative function) of language$ 3t also a**eals to a reason (referential function) which
results in in>uries on human foot$ &wo o**osite words are given together 'fake and real) to
intensif% the attraction$ 3n the advertisement 'fake hurts real) gives some associations
(referential function) to the addressee :
1) if %ou bu% imitations, %our health that is s%mboli7ed b% the :real0 is in danger , 2) if %ou
bu% Adidas which is in ortho*aedic shoes categor% for the ad , %our foot will be *rotected$
C2B, -,.. AA89215

'93/4 ,2& ;C@ CA81,/@ 3. ,=588A&54)
&he *oster advertisement above is *art of advertising of Cugo Aarfume (om*an%$ 3n this ad,
the message (*oetic function) is given b% connotations of *arfume with different qualities$
(loseleness of 'man ' and 'woman) to each other can be associated with :lo%alt%0, :sexual
*romiscuit%0, :sexual *otencit%0, and :attraction0$ &he motto '9ind out wh% harmon% is
overrated) fulfills *hatic function in which the *roduct *la%s a role in sexual relationshi*$
&he names of *arfume 'F@) and 'FF) refers to the 'unknown) $ 3n other words, there is an
unknown in the bottles which is waiting to be discovered$ &he intention of the message
convinces ( the conative function) the addressee that this discover% can be acquired >ust b% the
combination of 'F@) with 'FF)$ &he (,/&5F& (referential function) contains a verbal
*airing which is *resented b% ' for him) and 'for her)$ 3n other words, the addressees are not
'the%) but 'he) and 'she)$ &his difference is also shown with the different colour of two
*arfume bottles (blue and %ellow)$ &wo different colours in the background behind :man0 and
:woman0 also refer to the hidden meaning given b% the addresser (emotive function)$
1oreover, the ringside in the background has the connotations such as :boundaries0 , :limits0
and :restrictions0 in human nature, the colour of the ringside 'red) associates with the
:*assion0 and the *arfume gives the 15..AB5 (*oetic function) that 'with *assion) the
*arfume gives to the addressee , the receiver can break the :borders0 and :limits0 which results
in *oetic function (the effect)$

:1,85 .(35/&3.&. A/4 542(A&,8. .1,+5 +5/& with the 13(8,/3&5 936&580
&he *oster advertisement is one of the advertising of +ent cigarette com*an%$ &he ad gives a
*aradoxical 15..AB5$ An unhealth% *roduct is advertised with the high images of scientists
and educators in minds$ 3n this advertisement, the oddness attracts attention (the *hatic
function) because, ironicall% scientists and educators are shown as if the% smoke this
cigarette$ As a result, connotations of this *roduct can be associated with :*ower0,
:intelligenc%0, :knowledge0, :science0, :high statue0$ &his advertisement convinces ( the
conative function) the A4485..55 that if this cigarette is smoken , it will give a chance to
the receiver to get these qualities (the *oetic function, the effect)$ :9or good smoking taste0, it
seems reasonable to smoke '+5/&) which is su**orted with an a**earance of a man who is
smart, good looking and attractive$ &he harms of the unhealth% *roduct are covered b% higher
qualities of educated *eo*le$ 1oreover, the huge building behind the man, which is higher
than the other buildings around, s%mboli7es the ca*italism in America which is under the
control of *owerful grou*$ &he context has a reason (the referential function) that smoking
this cigarette can *rovide the addreesser an o**ortunit% to be a member of this grou*$ &his
advertisement contains a number of o**ositions such as highGlow, educatedGuneducated,
richG*oor and higher statusGlower status which attracts attention and makes the *hatic function
occur$
&his advertisement directl% shows the combination between *hatic function and the other
functions es*eciall% in :cause0 and :effect0 (*oetic function) relationshi*$ &he 15..AB5
'8eserved for drunk *eo*le) is orientated directl% to the A4485..55, and shows that if a
drunk driver drives a car (cause), it ma% result in 'accident) (effect), in other words, the
result (*oetic function) is :alread%0 known which is receiver0s death or *unishment$ &he
*arking *lace in the advertisement includes a tree in the middle which s%mboli7es that
driving will be end with a 'crash)$ &he tree in the middle attracts attention (the *hatic
function) because it differentiates the *lace from being a normal *arking area$
&he A4485..58 is highl% concerned about what could ha**en to drunk drivers (the
ex*ressive function), also the utterance ex*lains an ob>ective truth (referential function)$ &he
advertising message clearl% aims to give a moral value$ 1orever, it shows this with the
*ossible consequenceHthe adreessee0s accident in ver% striking wa%, which contains the
conative and *oetic function$ ;e can also find the :conative function0 behind the hidden
im*erative meaning which indirectl% orders drivers not to drive a car when the% are not sober$
:J2.& 4, 3&0
&his is one of the series advertisement of /3+5 shoes com*an%$ &he 15..AB5 (*oetic
function) directl% includes a :conative function0 which is oriented toward A4485..55 b% an
im*erative sentence 'J2.& 4, 3&)$ &he image of a child *eeing against a wall can be
associated with 'freedom), ' inde*endence) , ' out of borders of civili7ed world)$ 3t
convinces (the conative function) that ' %ou are free in %our life, so do whatever %ou want ?)$
1oreover, it is im*ortant to em*ha7ise that the child in the advertisement is black$ &he
(,/&5F& ' J2.& 4, 3&) also shows it is not >ust for white *eo*le, it is also for black ones
to get their inde*endence, again it has a connotation of 'freedom) or :out of others0 control0$
Cowever, ironicall% the dog near the child refers to the com*arison betweeen them$ 4og uses
nature to *ee es*eciall% walls or trees, which indirectl% has a 15..AB5 that %ou dont need
to live in a conce*t of civili7ed world$
&he advertisement draws attention (*hatic function) b% *roviding man% o**ositions: the skin
colour of the child is 'black) whereas dog is 'white), and this is an advertisement of wellH
known shoe brand /3+5, but the little child has no shoes to wear$ &he ad draws the
A485..55 into acting as sGhe wants ( the conative and referential functions)$ &his
combination of two functions is clearl% the most im*ortant, and the others are subordinate$
:2.5 ,/6@ ;CA& @,2 /5540
&he 15..AB5 (*oetic function) in this advertisement is used for a 'warning)$ &he message
has a :conative function0 which orders that water should be used as much as it is needed , the
rest shouldn0t be wasted$ &his function consists main structure of the advertisement in the
hierarchical order$ &he association is given b% an image of a bench which has onl% small seat
to sit on$ 3t s%mboli7es that %ou should use %our *art and %ou shouldn0t *ass the other side
which 'the others) need$ 3t also gives relationshi* between cause (*hatic) and effect (*oetic)$
3f %ou (also can be thought as :self0 ) use water more than %ou should (cause), the inevitable
effect is that the 'others) cannot find an%thing left for themselves, which is associated with
the em*t% side of the bench$ 5m*hasi7e on *ossible consequence fulfills the emotive and
*oetic funtion$ &he image of an incom*lete bench draws attention ( the *hatic function) of the
A4485..55 b% the sender$
9inall%, as we see above, the main re*resentations of linguistic functions are based on the sign
model which functions through its relations with the sender (addresser), the receiver
(addressee), and the referent (context)$ As Jakobson *oints out that the context is somewhat
ambiguous, in other words, it can be inter*reted in more than one wa% as we infer from all
these advertisements$