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RJ schematized

I schematized Roman Jakobson's definition of the phatic function, and upon looking at it for a while thought that I either drew a fish or a side-view of Jakobson's face, the left column being either a back-fin or Einsteinian scientist-hair, and the upper triangle in both cases serving as an eye. I'm slowly making progress with the paper on RJ's phatic function.

Comments

  1. Looks good! If I compare it with your earlier figure ("A schematization of phaticity", p. 8; copied to phatica4.pdf, p.5) -- this one is easier to follow because, well, it's less explosive! -- and also somewhat more linear in the drawing style.

    The main "thesis statement" in the earlier figure was "Jakobson failed to elaborate the context of the situation and its relation to contact and channel." I think it's actually a strength of the current diagram that it leaves that remark out, and instead develops in entirely "positive" way (building constructive relationships between terms).

    The earlier thesis is still really interesting and I'd love to see it develop in a subsequent larger comparative/discursive treatment -- in which case it occurs to me that you'd be bringing in the theoretical context alongside the critical remarks *about* context, which seems somehow appropriate.

    I do think it could potentially be useful to add a few words about Jakobson's "subsidiary foundations" -- those were the lifeblood of the other diagram. That may or may not fit in the diagram, but it could go well in the accompanying text. Readers will likely understand "set for CONTACT" better if they also know a little bit about "message" and "code". Again, an extended discussion of this could go elsewhere.

    Lastly, I'm familiar with the talking birds part of the diagram, following your earlier pointers, but not the Gardinier part. I'd be interested to read up on that.

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  2. I noticed myself that it looks kinda like "A schematization of phaticity" in its shape. But in truth I didn't think about it at all when drawing it. I'm slowly schematizing everything I want to put forth in this paper, in hope that it'll be more logical and easy to follow if I have a complete picture before writing (this would supposedly reduce the chance of running against a wall, as is frequent with my writings).

    The main point I wish to convey is basically my own re-consideration of my previous generalized statements. In hindsight I find that he did elaborate on contact and channel but did so without using "phatic" overtly. In short, Jakobson did elaborate the phatic function but in a fragmentary manner that will become apparent only with reference to the speech of talking birds and infants, and various minute factors (contours, intonation, termination of contact, radius of communication, etc.).

    You've probably noticed that I haven't used "subsidiary foundations" and other stuff in "From Six to Nine" myself very much. That's because I consider it an early and misguided attempt to make sense of the functions in a positive way. But now I think I might be returning and revising it since it now appears that while the phatic function is the last to appear in Jakobson's intellectual development it is in fact the first one in the actual operation of communication, serving to delimit the message and the interpersonal relationship between the interlocutors. After that comes evocation, and whether the message makes an appeal to question, command, or declaration. I've yet to make complete sense of how Jakobson saw it, but it sure looks like he revised his own positions a lot in his last book, *The Sound Shape of Language*, with Linda Waugh (1979).

    I messed up Gardiner again. It's Alan, not Eric. I can't even count how many times I've had to re-search for the pages about phatic communion in Gardiner's book because I haven't posted excerpts to jeesusjalutasallveelaeval. Gardiner's book is such an awesome find that I hope to read it in full. From what I've skimmed I find it brilliant and quite deserving of its own review/elaboration. Basically, Gardiner is the reason why Jakobson sees greetings and salutations as "profuse" and perhaps also why he focuses on telephone communication, which is a form of "mechanization of speech", in Gardiner's words.

    The "context of the situation" in the Newlyweds instance is a reference to a way to elaborate it. I think Jakobson used Dorothy Parker's illustration because it's so repetitive but neglected to notice that the repetition of "Well" is not purely automatic but intensifies the meaning of the word. With some pruning, the whole point of it boils down to the lad saying "Well", getting to the lady saying "Well" as well, and finishing with the lad repeating the "Well" twice with an emphatic pause in between, signifying - perhaps - an establishment of communion. I'll have to work on this a bit more (I may go into Dorothy Parker's short story more, possibly for a future paper elaborating Jakobson's phatic function with reference to nonverbal communication - there's more to the Newlyweds than the "Well", and ties together a lot of unique material in phatic studies).

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  3. > "I'm slowly schematizing everything I want to put forth in this paper, in hope that it'll be more logical and easy to follow if I have a complete picture before writing (this would supposedly reduce the chance of running against a wall, as is frequent with my writings)."

    That sounds like the perfect remedy for the problem you've described. The map might not be the territory but it sure can be helpful for navigating the territory. (Especially in combination with things like a *compass* which mediates between map and territory -- I haven't seen anyone in the Korzybski tradition mention compasses, actually.) To keep with the metaphor of wayfinding: as a landmark, I'll find and share an old diagram that I made outlining the peeragogy handbook.

    > "it now appears that while the phatic function is the last to appear in Jakobson's intellectual development it is in fact the first one in the actual operation of communication, serving to delimit the message and the interpersonal relationship between the interlocutors"

    That is an excellent thesis statement, by the way.

    (Reading and critiquing my friend's paper about enactivism, recently, reminded me that it's good to have plenty of thesis statements, since not only should a paper begin with one, in my view each section should as well, and maybe even each paragraph. Here I'm inspired a bit by Schimel's "Writing Science". Hm, maybe an application of your Jakobson analysis would be to use his ideas to interpret modern day schematizers like Schimel and Dan Harmon.)

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