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Semiotics Glossary P

Poetic or aesthetic function
[Chandler]    In Jakobson' s model of linguistic communication the dominance of any one of six factors within an utterance reflects a different linguistic function. 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'. Some later adaptations of Jakobson' s model refer to the poetic function as the formal function. The poetic function is generally more metaphorical than metonymic, more connotative than denotative.