Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Elka Todeva, Ph.D.


Language is an essential instrument of human expression and communication. In the field of TESOL, much attention is given to the what (vocabulary as building blocks) and the how (grammar as a blueprint for construction) but we seldom explicitly address why language matters in terms of the greater purpose it serves. Roman Jakobson’s model of the communicative functions of language is a compelling framework through which the overarching aims of language can be examined for richer ESL/EFL instruction and more effective, comprehensive use on the part of English language learners. This paper is an exposition and exploration of the model in parts and in tandem, as well as a guide to applying its referential, conative, emotive, phatic, poetic and metalinguistic functions in TESOL contexts.