The Functions of Language

Part of the Kommunikation und Kybernetik in Einzeldarstellungen book series (COMMUNICATION, volume 2)


The schematic representation of the communicative process set up in Chap. II implied a considerable simplification on one important point, which we shall have to discuss further in this chapter. It concerns the relations between sender and receiver on the one hand, and the so-called extra-linguistic phenomena to be communicated on the other. It is a popular and simplified idea of a linguistic situation that this implies just a transfer of information about something (a thing, an event, a “fact”) from a sender to a receiver. A says this about that (C) to B, or B is informed about C by A. This conception of linguistic communication is not only a simplification. It may be misleading, since it is far from certain that this simplified process, on all levels of human language — synchronic and diachronic —, expresses the primary, dominating, or most general function of human language at the different stages of its development, and since, under such conditions, the scientific approach to the analysis of linguistic communication may in some respects be incorrectly biased.


Symbolic Function Human Language Lexical Meaning Linguistic Communication Linguistic Content 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Bibliographical Notes

  1. This chapter is based entirely on Karl Bühler’s so-called Organon-Modell. See in the first place “Sprachtheorie”, 1934. We also refer to the works quoted above by Gardiner, Kainz, and Ungeheuer. My own personal ideas and conclusions have been presented in “Système et méthode”, 1945 (particularly the chapter “Authour du problème langue—parole”). Felix Trojan’s principal work is “Der Ausdruck der Sprechstimme; eine phonetische Lautstilistik”, 2nd ed., 1952. Laziczius’ “emphaticum” is treated in “Proceedings of the 2nd Intern. Congress of Phonetic Sciences”, p. 57, and in “Ungarische Jahrbücher” XV, 1935. The definition of style as the use made of the resources of a linguistic system is due to J. Marouzeau. A linguistic definition of style was given and applied by Pierre Naert, “Stilen i Vilhelm Ekelunds essäer och aforis-mer”, 1949. Jakobson—Fant—Halle’s idea referred here is to be found in “Fundamentals of Language”, p. 18. The problem of the linguistic analysis of sentence intonation was studied and demonstrated by Kerstin Hadding-Koch in her thesis “Acoustico-Phonetic Studies in the Intonation of Southern Swedish” /Travaux de l’Institut de phonétique de Lund, publiés par Bertil Malmberg, III, 1961/. — For classification as based on phonemic distinctions, see Meyer-Eppler, “Grundlagen”, quoted above. For tones in African poetry, see e.g. “Yoruba Poetry”, collected and translated by Bakare Gbadamosi and Ulli Beier, 1959 (Introduction). For Siever’s “Schallanalyse”,Google Scholar
  2. see e.g. O. Gjerdman’s critical survey “Die Schallanalyse” /Yearbook of the New Society of Letters at Lund, 1924, pp.173–185/.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of ArtsUniversity of LundSweden

Personalised recommendations