Meaning of Referential function

What is Referential function:

The referential function is a type of language function used to mention the external factors of the communicative act itself and of the issuer, which allows to expose reality in a concrete and objective way.

The referential function of language is also known as denotative function, informational function or as symbolic function, according to Karl Bühler.

Likewise, it is part of other functions of language defined by the linguist Roman Jakobson, who distinguished the different ways in which human beings communicate and transmit various messages according to their purpose, whether they are desires, orders, feelings, opinions, among others.

The other functions of language are: poetic function, appellate or conative function, phatic function, emotional function and metalinguistic function.

For its part, the referential function allows verifying the veracity of the message, and its relationship with the referent and the context.

In this sense, it is one of the most important and used in the communicative act, since it allows us to transmit information and characteristics of everything that surrounds us, that is, objects, animals, people, actions, events, among others.

Hence, it is widely used in scientific and journalistic texts or in all those speeches intended to transmit some type of knowledge and information that refers to our reality.

For example, when a passerby is told the time, when a friend's position regarding a situation is described or when the result of an investigation is exposed, among others.

Main linguistic resources

The main linguistic resources used in the referential function of language are presented below:

  • Deictics: they are words and expressions that serve to indicate those people, spaces or situations to which the person who exposes it refers. For example, us, this, that, there, today, yesterday, among others.
  • Denotative: refers to the main meaning of words.
  • Nouns and verbs: they are one of the most used words in this function of language because they allow the information to be made known in a more objective way.
  • Intonation: enunciative intonation is used.
  • Indicative verb mode: which refers to real and objective action.

Examples of the referential function

Below are different examples of the use of the referential function of the language.

  • Dinner is ready and served.
  • They are my parents.
  • In summer I got to know the city of Paris.
  • My sister's cell phone broke.
  • Yesterday there were high temperatures.
  • The bus left half an hour later.
  • My brother has a daughter.
  • My aunt is pregnant.
  • Tomorrow is Friday.
Tags:  Religion-And-Spirituality General Expressions-In-English