W.Heinemann and D.Viehweger's conception of text functions

W.Heinemann and D.Viehweger’s conception of text functions

Some authors prefer to consider text functions with reference to the problem of typology of texts. Of special interest here is the conception of W.Heinemann and D.Viehweger in which text functions appear to be the first unit in a multilevel system of communicant’s knowledge about characteristic features of certain types of texts:

I – functional types;
II – types of situations;
III – types of communicative strategy;
IV – types of structuring of texts;
V – stereotypical formulations.

While defining a list of text functions the German authors pay particular attention to question: “Of what consequence may the usage of a certain text in the act of communication be?” These consequences may enable the author of the text to:

– to mentally unload him/herself (the function of self expression);
– to establish or maintain contact with the partners (contact function);
– to receive from partners or pass to them certain information (function Of informing);
– to urge (motivate) the partners to undertake some action (the function of management, regulation).

These four primary functions that ensure successful communication are in close interrelation with each other: regulating texts may simultaneously convey information, informing texts presuppose the existence of some contact between the partners, and to establish and maintain the contact communication partners should at least possess the quality of self-expression.

Texts also help to influence the partners aesthetically. W.Heinemann and D.Viehweger call this function aesthetic. They consider that the author of a text possessing aesthetic function create with its help some “fictitious (imaginary) reality”. Thus, while the four functions exist in real world, the fifth one deals with fictitious world.