Roman Jakobson’s work as a dialogue: The dialogue as the basis of language, the dialogue as the basis of scientific work

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While dialogue is an important facet of contemporary work in a number of fields, inspired especially by the work of Mikhail Bakhtin (for an overview of Bakhtin’s work and of dialogism, see Holquist 1990), few are aware of this facet of Roman Jakobson’s work. Jakobson’s interest in the communicative aspect of language is perhaps better known since it is linked to the aims of the Prague School and its “means-ends model of language” (Jakobson 1963). For Jakobson (Jakobson 1970:463; Holenstein 1976; cf. Jakobson 1961), linguistics is the study of the communication of any verbal messages (and thus encompasses poetics, the study of communication of poetic verbal messages, and is itself encompassed in semiotics, the study of communication by any messages). In a famous formulation (1960b), Jakobson contended that linguistic communication rests on the speech event, which itself is composed of six facets: speaker, addressee, message, code, contact, context. To these correspond six functions of language, based on a dominance of focus in the message on a given facet of the speech event: emotive (focus on the speaker), conative (addressee), poetic (message), metalinguistic (code), phatic (contact), referential (context).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-120
Number of pages20
JournalActa Linguistica Hafniensia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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