Phatic TÜ

Lehiste, Kätlin 2013. Representation of gender in the dialogues of the textbooks English Step by Step 5 and I Love English 5. Masters thesis supervised by Raili Marling. Department of English language and literature, University of Tartu.

The qualitative analysis focuses on the social roles and settings the characters are presented in, the language used to present them and the language the characters use to address each other or talk about other people, which language functions - informative, phatic, directive or expressive - do the characters use, and which examples of polite language use can be found in their speech. (Lehiste 2013: 2)
These are in effect referential, phatic, conative, and emotive.
The number of utterances/components spoken by female, male and gender-neutral characters (such as, greetings, expressions of thanking and their acknowledgements, standardised expressions required for maintaining social relations (for example, 'Welcome'); language that accompanies and describes an act without carrying any information (for example, 'Let me show you to your room'); expressions complying to or rejecting directives (for example, 'Yes, sir')). (Lehiste 2013: 29)
This seems to go against phaticism 2.2 in Malinowski, e.g. "not in this case to connect people in action", but does reinforce 1.4, that "The meaning of any utterance cannot be connected with the speaker's or hearer's behaviour, with the purpose of what they are doing." The illustration of "Let me show you to your room" parallels the phatics of Anomalisa perfectly (I think the phrase is actually used in the movie).
The distinction between utterance and component is given above for the reason as described by Poulou (1997: 69) that one utterance could consist of many components, each of which may have a different function. For instance, the utterance: "Hello, can I help you?" (Kurm and Jõul 2008: 80) is made up of two components: 'Hello' and 'can I help you'. The first can be counted as phatic and the second as informational. (Lehiste 2013: 30)
So that's what "component" means. Basically a part of speech. This may help to reconciliate Reiss's (1981) contention that there aren't any "phatic" parts of speech. Several authors seem to think, on the other hand, that greetings and other such stuff constitute phatic language.
As can be seen from Table 7, informational utterances/components make up 171 (59%) of those counted in ESBS and they involve the lengthiest part of whole text (1615 words, 79%). They are followed by phatics with 48 (16%), expressives with 41 (14%) and directives with 32 (11%). (Lehiste 2013: 47)
Proof that Estonians are inclined to the backformation "phatics" because in Estonian, faatika sounds good.
Additionally, the teacher's use of phatic language (7) and a slightly more frequent use of directives (9) relate to her social role, which can also be a reason for why her use of expressive language is quite small (4). (Lehiste 2013: 49)
She, too, holds that there is such a thing as phatic language (or at least a subcode of language that predominantly fulfils a phatic function).
Considering social roles and settings, female and gender-neutral non-experts make a relatively large number of requests as customers in a pub, cafe or shop, and in such situations theyare also more likely to use phatic language in order to keep to certain social standards of public communication. (Lehiste 2013: 52)
Social upkeep. It's easy to see why some would generalize that "female speech is phatic".

Magnus, Riin 2015. The Semiotic Grounds of Animal Assistance: Sign Use of Guide Dogs and Their Visually Impaired Handlers. Tartu: University of Tartu Press.

Jakobson's classical functions of language encompass the following functions: expressive (directed to the sender), conative (directed to the receiver), referential (directed to the context), phatic (directed to contact), metalinguistic (directed to the code of the message) and poetic (directed to the form of the message) (Jakobson 1960: 353-357). (Magnus 2015: 22)
Here Jakobson's ambiguous "set for" or "Einstellung" is re-translated from the Estonian suunatud (directed towards <something>). It's pretty much the simplest, clearest equivalent. In the details it's actually a pretty murky business. For example, some Estonian semioticians like ta translate "set" as "setting" (sättumus, which doesn't have a good equivalent in English but amounts to something like a disposition towards something). The main problem being that "set" is actually the most ambiguous word in the English language - there are reportedly over 500 meanings for it. The precise combination used by Jakobson, "set for" is actually symptomatic, because it may play on the idiomatic be set for sth (millekski sobima), which would mean that the phatic function "suits for" contact. Or, he may just mean that the illustrations Jakobson brings (e.g. "Hello, do you hear me?") constitute a set of messages for contact (though it would be grammatically correct to say "a set of messages set for contact", which would make it redundant). I'm not even going to go into the whole Einstellung ordeal - I once saw someone write a whole paper philosophising about this concept in Jakobson's work.
If referential communication is, per definition, important for the guide dog team's movement - one needs to inform the other about the objects on the path and about their meaning - then the significance of phatic communication is less obvious and a question may be raised: why does the team need to pay special attention to this function? In terms of the reasons of the use of phatic communication, this is related to the specifics of guide dog work (the need for concentration, special tasks), but in terms of the origins of the function, this stems from the ability of dogs to make use of human like social skills. In principle, this is an instance of the partial adoption of an intraspecific communication system for the purpose of interspecific communication. In the past decades, several ethological studies have focused on the ability of dogs to attend to the communicative behaviour of humans (e.g. Hare, Tomasello 2005; Cooper et al. 2003). (Magnus 2015: 23)
By "in terms of the origins of the function" I presume she means Malinowski's phatic communion. Not only because Magnus uses the combination, phatic communication, but also because it could actually have elaborated the emotional connection between the dog and its owner, I think she could have adduced some value from Weston La Barre's treatment of phatic communication.
Phatic communication appears to be important to make the other responsive to referential communication in the first place. (Magnus 2015: 24)
Yup, it creates the groundwork for communication, opens the channel and enables a transmission of messages by invoking "willingness to communicate". This aspect could probably be elaborated by considering the two sides of the issue that Ruesch and Bateson bring out: mutual awareness and influence.
The presence of multi-layered umwelten brings along the need for the receiver to pay attention to the signs that indicate the context of the sender's sign use. As at one and the same time different contexts can be actualised, the authority of the source of the sign can be decisive while opting for one or another meaning (hence the importance of phatic communication). (Magnus 2015: 33)
In other words, maintaining the channel of communication is actually relevant for framing the communication, for the sign-situation to be mutually intelligible.

Pärl, Ülle 2012. Understanding the Role of Communication in the Management Accounting and Control Process. Academic dissertation. School of Management, University of Tampere.

Contact, the phatic function, is necessary to keep the channels of communication open. This function operating in human communication such that there is a physical (interpersonal) and psychological (intrapersonal) connection. It is also required to maintain the relationship between the addresser (sender) and addressee (receiver) and to confirm that comunication is indeed taking place. (Pärl 2012: 67)
I've never met this interpretation before. Jakobson's own phrasing goes "physical channel and psychological connection". If you look at the classical Shannon-Weaver model, then you'll notice that the channel connects the Transmitter (Encoder) to the Receiver (Decoder) "physically" because these are physical objects, but the Information Source and the Destination are people, who require a psychological connection (primarily intention) in order for the exchange to constitute communication. If the psychological connection were "intrapersonal" only, then interpersonal communication couldn't work. I like the terms intra- and interpersonal, but I don't think they work well here. As much as psychology is intrapersonal, if the psychological connection is intrapersonal then the channel connects you to yourself and it becomes autocommunication.

Tenjes, Silvi 2001. Keele žestilise päritolu hüpotees. In: Nonverbal means as regulators in communication: Sociocultural perspectives. Tartu: Tartu University Press, Publication 1.

Kõnel on neid funktsioone, mida tavaliselt ei peeta lingvistiliseks selle sõne otseses mõttes, kuid mis on sellegipoolest väga olulised ja mis järelduvad tema oraal-auditiivsest olemusest. A. Kendon nimetab neid faatilisteks (ingl phatic) funktsioonideks. Nende kaudu töötati kõnevõime rohkem läbi, enne kui ta võeti üle kui vahend sümboliliseks kommunikatsiooniks, mis on lingvistiline kommunikatsioon. [...] Mõiste pärineb Bronislaw Kasper Malinowskilt, kes tuletas selle inglisekeelsest sõnast emphatic - 'emfaatiline, (tunde)rõhuline'. Ta on öelnud näiteks, et "tervitused on faatilise suhtlemise osa, millega inimesed loovad liidusidemeid ja hoiduvad vaikusest, mis on alati koiatav ja kardetav" (lk 314). (Tenjes 2001: 18)
Pole veel näinud, et keegi Malinowski keskmist nime kasutaks (samamoodi olen vaid ühte näinud Bronislawi eesnimes poola Ł-i kasutamas). I doubt if Malinowski derived phatic from emphatic. The etymology of "pathos" makes more sense, and "empathy" is a relatively new concept (Tichener coined it in 1909). Though Malinowski does use the notion "fellow feeling", which is Mitchell's term for empathy. (I'll have to look into it more). As much as I can make out it is dealt with in Lecture VI and VII of Sir William Mitchell's 1907. Structure & the Growth of Mind. On the other hand, Kendon's understanding of phatics may be influenced by La Barre, since he attributes it to the phylogeny of language. (Sadly cannot find any of Kendon's papers cited here.)
A Kendon peab siin silmas kõnelise kommunikatsiooni faatilist funktsiooni (Kendon 1991: 8) - viis, kuidas häälduslikkust muudetakse, kui me arvestame üksteisega. Küllap on kõigil mõnikord ette tulnud vajadus teha pööre vestluse käigus - mitte seoses sellega, millest parajasti räägiti, vaid koosolu pärast, jagatuse pärast. A. Kendon väidab, et keele päritolu küsimuses tuleb sellele probleemile rohkem tähelepanu pöörata. Kõne kui selline võib olla läbi töetatud häälelisuse kasutamise arendamise käigus faatiliste funktsioonide jaoks. Kui sotsiaalne elu hominiididel oli keeruline ja muutuv, küllap siis pidi olema väga oluline ühenduse pidamine, pidev üksteise hoiatamine või muidu teada andmine selle kohta, mis kellelgi kavas oli või kuidas üksteisesse suhtutakse. (Tenjes 2001: 19)
Koosolu might be a suitable approximation for the problematic communion, for which there seems to be no exact Estonian equivalent. Otherwise Kendon's understanding of phaticity seems pretty much La Barrean.

Rääbis, Andriela 2009. Eesti telefonivestluste sissejuhatus: struktuur ja suhtlusfunktsioonid. Tartu: Tartu Ülikooli Kirjastus.

Faatilise ühtekuuluvuse (phatic communion) mõiste on pärit Briti funktsionalistlikust koolkonnast, mis oli kaasaegse sotsiolingvistika oluline eelkäija. Termini võttis kasutusele Bronislaw Malinowski: "keel, mida kasutatakse vabas, eesmärgitus sotsiaalses suhtluses" ("language used in free, aimless, social intercourse") (Malinowski 1972[1923]: 149). Faatilises suhtluses ei anna sõnad edasi tähendusi, vaid täidavad sotsiaalset funktsiooni. (Rääbis 2009: 15)
Ühtekuuluvus is also the word I settled on when writing my thesis plan in Estonian. It's not the best word, kinda clunky. And the Malinowski quote is of course 1.1. (First sentence of the first paragraph about phatic communion in Malinowski's supplement.)
Alates Malinowskist on faatilise suhtluse mõistet kasutatud sotsiolingvistikas, semantikas, stilistikas, suhtlusuuringutes; tüüpiliselt tähistab see mõiste konventsionaliseerunud ja desemantiseerunud diskursusetüüpi (vt J. Coupland, N. Coupland, Robinson 1992; Coupland 2000: 1). Selle termini paljudes käsitustes (nt Turner 1973: 212; Leech 1974: 62; Thomas, Bull, Roger 1982: 149; Hudson 1980: 109) domineerib negatiivne hinnang, faatilist suhtlust analüüsitakse kui referentsiaalselt puudulikku ja kommunikatiivselt ebaolulist. (Rääbis 2009: 16)
This "negative evaluation" is grouped under the theme of "pejorative" in my corpus, i.e. when someone uses the adjective "phatic" to describe something pointless. The references:
  • Turner, George W. 1973. Stilistics. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  • Leech, Geoffrey 1974. Semantics. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
  • Thomas, A. P.; Peter Bull and Derek Roger 1982. Conversational exchange analysis. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 1(2): 141-156.
  • Hudson, Richard Anthony 1980. Sociolinguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kuigi faatilise suhtluse mõistet on laialt kasutatud, pole seda kontseptsiooni kuigivõrd püütud süstemaatiliselt täpsustada. Erandiks on John Laver (1975; 1981), kes pööras tähelepanu faatilise suhtluse suhteloomisväärtusele, eriti vestluse algus- ja lõpufaasis. (Rääbis 2009: 16)
Although the concept of phatic communication has been used widely, there are very few attempts to specify this concept systematically. That's extremely true. Besides Laver I can only think of Burnard, Žegarac & Clack (maybe), and that's about it.


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