A message sent from the addresser to the addressee refers to something in the world, the context, and is transported using a code between the participants in the communication. The channel consists of a physical and a psychological connection. The most important function is the referential function, the reference to something in the world. Two other functions are the emotive function that expresses the attitude of the addresser ant the conative function that is the orientation towards the addressee. These two functions related to the participants are more or less the same as the functions related to symptom and signal in the Organon model.
The fourth function is language used in focus on the message itself. It is called the poetic function. Language is also used for checking the channel or making contact. This is called phatic communion, the fifth function. And the sixth function is code that is called the metalinguistic or glossing function. Three approaches can be distinguished in the classification of the variety of discourse:
1. A discourse typology is based on the relation between the discourse situation and general discourse characteristics.
2. Abstract forms are the basis for distinguishing general discourse types to which different kinds of discourse can be assigned.
3. Specific lexical and syntactic characteristics are related to communicative functions.
In the classification of oral discourse by Hugo Steger et al, six discourse situations are distinguished: 1. presentation; 2. message; 3. report; 4. public debate; 5. conversation; 6. interview. These are not everyday designations but abstract discourse types.
For oral discourse the main division is into monologue as opposed to dialogue. In this case the criterion is the existence or absence of interaction. Dialogue is divided according to the division symmetrical-asymmetrical. In this system this characteristic is called rank. Unequal means that the conversational participants do not have the same rights, for instance, in the case of an interrogation or a class discussion where the judge and the teacher, respectively, determine who gets to say what. An example of an equal discourse is a conversation between two friends.
In discourse first we should determine the main type, and then determine the factors in the discourse situation on the basis of which this kind of discourse distinguishes itself from related kinds of discourse. For example, a doctor-patient talk can be categorized as an interview. But an interrogation is also a form of interview. By this model, it is possible to investigate which factor in the discourse situation can be used to describe the difference.