What is a Linguistic Function?
Linguistic Functions or functions of the language generally refer to the social uses of a language. There are many interpretations on linguistics functions. Today we will discuss some of the main theories and interpretations pertaining to linguistic functions.
Linguistics functions according to Geoffery Leech
First, we will discuss Geoffery Leech (1974) who mentioned that any language has mainly five functions. They are:
1. Informational Function: This function of language focusses on the message and speakers use it to give/transfer new information. It depends on truth and value e.g., it is my car.
2. Expressive Function: In this function, user expresses his feelings, attitudes, or mood. Poetic form of literature is its best example.
3. Directive Function: In this function, speaker aims to influence other by making a command, order, question, or a request. In directive function, the main emphasis is on receivers’ end e.g. could you please lend me a pen?
4. Aesthetic Function: The aesthetic use of language is made by speaker to please listener/reader or to add beauty in a language by variety of different ways. This use of language is artificial in general.
5. Phatic Function: Phatic function is a communicative function of a language that engages multiple users in a talk. An unusual conversation between two friends during dinner is the example of phatic function of a language.
Functions of language according to Roman Jakobson
Roman Jakobson defined six
1. The Referential Function: It describes a situation, object or mental state. It includes logical, truthful and genuine information.
2. The Poetic Function: It lacks truthful information as used in poetry, slogans or dreams.
3. The Emotive Function: It is very similar to expressive function by Leech.
4. The Conative Function: It is very similar to directive function by Leech.
5. The Function: Phatic function is a communicative function of a language that engages multiple users in a talk. An unusual conversation between two friends during dinner, or casual discussions of the weather between two speakers are the examples of phatic function of a language.
6. The Metalingual or Reflexive Function: This function is the use of language to discuss linguistic codes or structure of language itself.
Linguistics functions according to H. Douglas Brown
H. Douglas Brown categorized linguistic functions into two categories. His views are very similar to Leech or Jakobson. That are:
- The transactional view of Linguistic Function: This view stands with the use of language to convey factual information.
- The Interactional view of Linguistic Function: This view stands with the use of language in a social context to build relations among individuals.