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Roman Jakobson . Basic Questions. What are the basic functions of language in communication?  What is the poetic function? Where do we see poetic functions in daily language?

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Basic questions
Basic Questions

  • What are the basic functions of language in communication?  What is the poetic function? Where do we see poetic functions in daily language?

  • Is there a common semantic operation in sentence-making and the making of poems, films, and the other cultural languages?

  • How do Jacobson’s views of poetic language compliment the structuralist narratology of Todorov?


Examples of poetic function
Examples of ‘poetic’ function

  • Jocobson “The poetic function projects the principle of equivalence from the asix of selection into the axis of combination.”

  • Store names: 沒事找茶;茶言觀色;茶號台

  • Commercial slogan: 我愛大自然

  • 鬧鐘 鬧人不鬧鬼

  • 醫生 醫活不醫死

  • 學校 學好不學壞

  •  equivalence --homonyms, puns, parallel structures, and rhymes.

  •  creating (metaphoric) connotations or ambiguities;


Language literature as an enclosed system with two axes
Language/Literature as an enclosed system with two Axes

Selection (the paradigmatic pole)

Combination(the syntagmatic pole)

(sentence; functions;

mytonymy )

Mythemes,actants, metaphors, etc.


Roman jakobson s studies of aphasia
Roman Jakobson’s studies of aphasia

  • Similarity disorder – inability to deal with “associative” relationships in language.

  • Contiguity disorder –inability to organize words into higher units (e.g. sentence).

  •  Arts? The example of Gleb Ivannovic


From aphasia to poetry
From Aphasia to poetry

  • metaphor – substitution of one with something similar –poetry –Romanticism/Symbolism

  • How about narrative poems? e.g. 木蘭辭、Ode on Nightingale, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

  • metonymy – replacement of one with something close by

    -- novel –Realism

    Is this distinction true to all the texts in these movements?


E g 1 to autumn
e.g. (1) “To Autumn”

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bendwith applesthe moss'd cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plumpthe hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set buddingmore,

And still more, later flowersfor the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.


Sailing to byzantium w b yeats green nature time brown art
Sailing to ByzantiumW.B. Yeats (green- nature/time, brown -art)

That is no country for old men. The young

In one another's arms, birds in the trees -

Those dying generations - at their song,

The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,

Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long

Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.

Caught in that sensual music all neglect

Monuments of unageing intellect.


Sailing to byzantium 2
Sailing to Byzantium (2)

An aged man is but a paltry thing,

A tattered coat upon a stick, unless

Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing

For every tatter in its mortal dress,

Nor is there singing school but studying

Monuments of its own magnificence;

And therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium.


Sailing to byzantium 3
Sailing to Byzantium (3)

O sages standing in God's holy fire

As in the gold mosaic of a wall,

Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,

And be the singing-masters of my soul.

Consume my heart away; sick with desire

And fastened to a dying animal

It knows not what it is; and gather me

Into the artifice of eternity.


Sailing to byzantium 4
Sailing to Byzantium (4)

Once out of nature I shall never take

My bodily form from any natural thing,

But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make

Of hammered gold and gold enamelling

To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;

Or set upon a golden bough to sing

To lords and ladies of Byzantium

Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


E g 2 picasso vs margritte
e.g. (2) Picasso vs. Margritte

Nature Morte

by Pablo Picasso


E g 2 picasso vs margritte1
e.g. (2) Picasso vs. Margritte

The Treachery of Images, by Rene Magritte, 1928/29


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