The emotive function is one of the six functions of language (that is, possibilities of use) identified by the Russian linguist and phonologist Roman Jakobson (1896-1982) in his 1958 information theory. These functions are related to the factors themselves of communication (that is to say: sender, receiver, message, code and channel), and they represent a more complex development of the works of the German linguist Karl Bühler (1879-1963). Emotional function of language with examples
Also called expressive function or symptomatic function, the emotional function of language is one that, centered on the sender of the message, allows the communication of their inner realities , that is, of their feelings, desires or states of mind. This is usually done in exclamatory sentences, in the first person, although it can also take the form of rhetorical questions or sarcastic statements.
However, the expressive use of language also has some kind of referentiality. In fact, expressions like “What a beautiful boy!” they have a grip on a real referent, or they deal with real and concrete events, but in them the expressive intention predominates, that is, the desire to reveal the interiority of the issuer, rather than to describe an external and objective reality.
Other language functions
In addition to the emotional function, Roman Jakobson identifies the following functions of language:
- Referential function , one that allows language to allude to objects of reality, describe situations and express objective, concrete, verifiable contents of the world. It focuses on the message and the communicative situation. Emotional function of language with examples
- Appellate function , one that allows the speaker to influence the receiver in a certain way, to request from him some type of action or behavior, or at least some type of response. Logically, it focuses on the receiver.
- Phatic function , one that allows those involved in the communicative act to verify that the communication channel is open, available and viable to initiate the exchange of information. It is the first thing we do when answering a phone, for example. Therefore, it focuses on the communication channel.
- Metalinguistic function , one that allows the language to explain itself, that is, find equivalents from one language to another, or clarify terms that the receiver does not know, or even convert elements from one language to another. It focuses on the code of communication.
- Poetic function , one that enables language to generate aesthetic effects, that is, to draw attention to its own form and to the way the message is said, rather than the message itself. In that sense, it focuses on both the code and the message, and the most common example of this is found in literary texts
Examples of emotive function
Among some examples of the expressive, emotional or symptomatic function we can cite the following phrases:
- I wish our relationship would work.
- I am not comfortable with this situation.
- Finally! It was time for you to arrive.
- My stomach hurts!
- Today I feel happy!
- Miss you.
- Too bad the team lost! I hope we get another chance.
- Oh! I bit my tongue.
- Congratulations on your new promotion!
- I like to walk on the beach.
- Miguel de Cervantes is my favorite writer.
- I wish I could win a million dollars.
- Since I met him I have been happy.
- What a beautiful sunset!
- These flowers are gorgeous.
- You always make me laugh.
- Bravo! Emotional function of language with examples
- I am very grateful to my family.
- Thanks god!
- If I could start over, I would do it differently.
- I’m afraid of heights.
- How exciting it is to climb the mountains!
- I have a craving for chocolate.
- My mouth is watering.
- I am offended by your conduct.