Language and Linguistics

Referential function examples characteristics and functions

Referential function

The referential function of language is used to reveal objective and precise details of the subject and the context in the communication process. These are the external elements that are associated and linked to the message and that are part of the information that two interlocutors communicate. An example of this type of function: Valencia is the city of sweet oranges. Referential function examples characteristics

The referential function is also known as informative and denotative and does not admit or accept subjective opinions of the issuer. This is because the message is closely linked to the concrete and tangible reality of what is being talked about. On the other hand, this language function does not wait for a response or reaction from the receiver.

Now, the referential function of language is characterized by the use of a series of resources that facilitate the transmission and understanding of the message. A specific case is the use of verbs and nouns.

Karl Bühler describes it as the symbolic function of language and relates it directly to the objective way in which a context can be described.

Characteristics of the referential function

The referential function of the language has the following characteristics:


The information that is transmitted is objective and concrete, this means that it lacks subjectivity and opinions.


Denotation is present because of the informative nature of this type of language. This means that the message is accurate and is related to the meaning of the words, that is, it is literal.

Use of verbs and nouns

The use of nouns and verbs is essential to specify the transmission of information.


The referential function lacks exclamatory and interrogative sentences, therefore the intonation used is neutral, serene and balanced. Referential function examples characteristics

Indicative mode

Statements within the referential function are used in the indicative mode, precisely because it reveals certain information.

Use of deictics

The deictics or words that are used to indicate the subjects, time or space are essential within the referential function of language because they give the statement greater objectivity.


This indicates that there is only one meaning in the information that is conveyed. That is to say, in no way can any information be included in the message that makes the receiver think that the news has two possible connotations.


Contextualize the receiver

The subject who makes use of this language function must take into account in detail the elements that make up the context to which it refers. The speaker can refer to the components of the space in an enumerative way (one after the other). Referential function examples characteristics

This is why the use of the referential function is very common in the chronicle, because it allows giving force to what is described through contextualization.


One of the objectives of the referential function of language is to make a subject or a group know about an event. For this reason, it is very normal for it to be used in informative texts.

This particular function demands that objectivity is always present. Only then will the news that you want to transmit will reach the recipients in the clearest way.

Give truth to what is communicated

Whoever makes use of the referential function of language adds truth to what he describes. This is because what is being communicated is being directly endorsed by everything that happens around the central events. Each element that is added is a factor that strengthens the credibility of the message that is transmitted.

Language referential function examples

  1. – The players arrived at the stadium in the morning.
  2. – Manuel’s girl is five years old.
  3. – The shoes will be ready next Tuesday.
  4. – The thieves entered without anyone noticing.
  5. – The baby’s birth was not for today.
  6. – The cookies are still in the oven.
  7. – The newspapers headlined with the election results.
  8. – The refrigerator has no repair.
  9. – Three weeks later he realized he had been scammed.
  10. – The supermarket on the corner sells cheaper.
  11. – Maria’s mother was ill last week.
  12. – The boy fell asleep three hours ago.
  13. – The juice is ready.
  14. – The dogs wouldn’t stop barking.
  15. – This is the tree that bears the most fruit.
  16. – The center box contains four tools.
  17. – The fish tank belonged to Daniel.
  18. – Adriana asked him why he did not show up for the appointment.
  19. – Students can choose between five answers.
  20. – His family did not know what had happened to him.
  21. – The island has an area of ​​three hundred kilometers.
  22. – The three of them are my sisters.
  23. – The plane is about to land.
  24. – The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam.
  25. – The fruits were not enough for everyone.


  1. -The media described the event as massive
  2. -Three days later he realized his mistake
  3. -The young woman is 16 years old
  4. -The document necessary for the project will be ready on Friday
  5. -In the hospital operations are carefully planned
  6. -The baker was baking the bread first thing in the morning
  7. -We had to call a plumber to fix the fault
  8. -In this supermarket the prices are higher than in the competition
  9. -The neighbor’s dog was barking for hours
  10. -The trees in the park are getting taller
  11. -The box on the shelf is empty Referential function examples characteristics
  12. -The fish in the pond disappeared

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