K.Buller’s “model of organum”

K.Buller’s “model of organum”

While discussing K.Buller’s concept one should bear in mind that in this case we deal with the semiotic model of language functioning rather than with textual model. According to it, the description of functioning of language signs is carried out with consideration of specific communicative relations.

K. Buller’s model of language functioning is based on Plato’s thoughts: “language is an organum, with the help of which one person can communicate to the other something about a thing”. The triangle ‘one person – to the other person -about a thing’ represents the three necessary components of a communicative act. K.Buller visualizes his thoughts in the following scheme:



                                      ONE PERSON (SENDER)                                      THE OTHER PERSON (RECIPIENT)

K.Buller’s “model of organum

As we see, “one person” produces sound, which affects “the other person”‘ as an irritant. Thus, we have both the subject and the object of influence. The perception of the sound phenomenon by the ear stimulates the listener to pay attention to this object. Here is K.Buller’s example: “There are two people in the room. One hears some noise, loots-out of the window, and says: “It is raining”.

The other person then looks in the same direction encouraged by the words he hears and following the glance of the speaker.” It may be true but the psychophysical systems of the speaker and hearer act differently. In the simplest case, receiving irritation is equal to receiving information, while sending irritation is equal to action.

With respect to the above mentioned views, K.Buller singles out three functions of language signs:

1) representative – i.e. function of representing the objects, state of things and events;
2) expressive – i.e. function of expressing the inner state, emotions, and sender’s position;
3) appellative – i.e. function with the help of which the sender addresses the recipient and wants to motivate, him to definite reactions.