In Jakobson's model of linguistic communication, a key linguistic or communicative function which foregrounds textual features. Within his model, this function is oriented towards the message or focused on the message for its own sake (see alsomessage-oriented communication). In utterances where the poetic function is dominant (e.g. in literary texts), the language tends to be more ‘opaque’ than conventional prose in emphasizing the signifier and medium (and their materiality), or the form, style, or code at least as much as any signified, content, message, or referential meaning. Such texts foreground the act and form of expression and undermine any sense of a ‘natural’ or transparent connection between a signifier and a referent. In this sense, where the poetic function dominates, the text is self-referential: form is content and ‘the medium [of language] is the message’. The poetic function is generally more metaphorical than metonymic, more connotative than denotative (see alsoconnotation; denotation; metaphor; metonymy). Some later adaptations of Jakobson's model refer to the poetic function as the formal function or the aesthetic function (so as not to limit it to linguistic contexts). See alsolinguistic functions.
Subjects: Media Studies.