I’ve been kindly shown some materials from a University of Brighton module on Communicating Mathematics. This handout discusses models of communication from Shannon onward, touching on Jakobson’s model of communicaon.
adresser message adressee
(emove) (poec) (conave)
Figure 2: Jakobson’s model of communicaon
Jakobson gives each element a funcon that relates to that element taken in isolaon within the model. So, he describes the addresser’s funcon as “emove”. This is also described as “expressive”. It focusses on the speaker’s atude towards the communicaon and may be explicitly emove if, for example, it is angry outburst. However, all communicaon, no maer how formal, has an expressive intenon. Even with an impersonal communicaon about a mathema cal topic, the author must have some emoonal investment in the wring – otherwise, why bother?!
The final element of the model is the code. This is the set of linguisc convenons that govern the communicaon in its parcular context. Jakobson describes the funcon of the code in the model as “metalingual”, which means the language we use to talk about language. Take, for example, the following possible opening sentence of a mathemacal paper:
“Consider a finite group G with a normal subgroup N.”
The first word “consider” is used in an unusual way. It is not an invitaon to ponder but rather a request to imagine an example of the object about to be described. This way of using “consider” is quite special to mathemacal wring. Then there are some technical terms which are only likely to have meaning for the reader who shares the technical knowledge that is assumed by the writer. The use of single-leer names for abstract objects that can have a complex interior structure is also special to and typical of mathemacal wring.