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Glossary of Literary Theory
One-half of I. A. Richards's dichotomous view of linguistic functions.
Richards makes a qualitative distinction between scientific or referential
discourse, which corresponds to external reality, and poetic or emotive
discourse, which is internally coherent and organizes the unruly realm
of impulses and attitudes for therapeutic purposes. Richards further develops
the distinction by using the term "pseudo-statement" to define
an utterance in which the emotive function is dominant and the term "statement"
to define an utterance in which the referential function is dominant. According
to him, "A pseudo-statement is justified entirely by its effect in
releasing or organizing our impulses and attitudes . . . . A statement,
on the other hand, is justified by its truth, that is its correspondence,
in a highly technical sense, with the fact to which it points."
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