Linguistic and Psycholinguistic Aspects of Silence: A Structural Model of Communication

Introduction. This work examines the role of silence along the lines of the theoretical considerations suggested by L. Wittgenstein and M. Heidegger. It also focuses on the role of communicative silence in each of the six functions of language in the structural model of communication put forward by Roman Jacobson. Other important types of functions are considered. Methodology and sources. Firstly, various philosophical and linguistic approaches towards the definition of silence are studied. Non-communicative silence, being outside the language domain, is differentiated from silence as part of communication, which is treated as a zero speech act in its own right. Finally, the paper analyzes the roles of communicative silence in the communicative model developed by Jacobson. Aesthetic function of silence is given special attention to. The poststructuralist view of silence is discussed. Results and discussion. Silence, acting as a linguistic sign, could convey information in the referential function; it could express emotions and personal experiences while performing the emotive function. As far as the conative function is concerned, silence serves to exert direct pressure on the addressee. Regarding the phatic function, silence acts as a means of establishing or discontinuing communication. Poetic silence focuses on the message for its own sake and manifests itself in repeating elements, such as syntactic pauses of various lengths and in differing contexts. Aesthetic function of silence is studied in a broader sense and involves the implementation of the motif of silence or “quietness” in a work of art. Silence becomes an important tool to study the acoustic, rhythmical potential of prosaic and poetic texts. With regard to silence in the metalinguistic function, it focuses primarily on the code of communication, i. e. on the language and its structure. The view of silence in psychoanalytical practice is also taken into account. Conclusion. The study of the phenomenon of silence allows to see a different number of functions it performs in situations when the speaker is either in a particular opposition to the speaker; or the situation is associated with a sense of respect, grief, humility. Silence could also accompany a number of emotive states, and perform a major role in prosaic and poetic texts when it stands out against the sounds that the main character hears around him allowing texts to bring out its acoustic properties. Psycho-analytical perspective allows to reveal more functions of silence.

Authors: Shcherbak N. F., Potienko V. I.

Direction: Philosophy

Keywords: silence, pragma-linguistics, speech act, pragmatic functions of silence, communication studies, language and speech

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