Roman Jakobson provided one of the first modern theoretical models of what communication involves. Jakobson---a linguist---analyzed communication synchronically in an attempt to ascertain its essential structure. The model (Figure 1) that Jakobson constructed divided communication into the following components:

Jakobsonshot.jpg Fig. 1

see also "6 communicative functions" - to work with figure 1

“The ADDRESSER sends a MESSAGE to the ADDRESSEE. To be operative the message requires a CONTEXT referred to (…), seizable by the addressee, and either verbal or capable of being verbalized. A CODE full, or at least partially, common to the addresser and addressee ( or in other words to the decoder and encoder of the message) and, finally, a CONTACT, a physical channel and psychological connection between the addresser and the addressee, enabling both of them to enter and stay in communication.


Roman Jakobson, "Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics" (1960)published in Cook, Jon (ed.). Poetry in Theory. An Anthology 1900-2000. Oxford: Blackwell, 350-358.