Russian literary scholar

Everyday creativity is always dialogical in Bakhtin’s sense. ’ Drawing on ideas and examples gained from your study of the first part of the course, to what extent do you agree or disagree with this perspective? In this assignment the aim is to discuss to what extent Bakhtin’s ideas about language creativity are justifiable with specific reference to this course. It will start with an introduction to Mikhail Bakhtin and particularly his ideas of dialogism along with reference to some other researchers.

The essay will then continue by discussing how Bakhtin’s ideas have been applied to other parts of the course and then the conclusion incorporates the extent to which Bakhtin’s perspective is adequate. Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975) was a Russian literary scholar from the beginning to the middle of the twentieth century. He developed what became known as a ‘socio-cultural’ theory of language which occurred in opposition to two dominant inherency models of language and in resistance to the ideological approach of Russian Marxism.

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He criticised the strong distinction between literary and practical language that was drawn by formalists such as Roman Jakobson (1896-1982). He also argued that language use in literature was not special or different and that literature was just one set of genres out of a wide range of different speech genres within social life. He continued by reproaching the conceptualisation of linguistics in terms of an abstract theoretical model, where meaning and significance of language comes from the numerous connotation of words and their associations with particular speaker intentions.

The conception is overall a much more social and ideological on how language works rather than the traditional model. He went on to say that the heart of language is not an abstract symbolic system rather it is a constant struggle between the centripetal forces of standard language (and literary) canon and the centrifugal forces of different dialects and the diverse speaking styles. (Language crossing, intertextuality and hybrid genres) He sees all language patterns as speech genres. Amongst his different thoughts and theories is one that is referred to as dialogism.

This involves the way in which all uses of language face both backwards and forwards[1]. This is understood by the way in which utterances both respond in some sense to previous utterances and anticipate their own responses. It primarily focuses on the concept of how all written works are always in some sense a response and addressed towards an audience. Intrinsic responsive impulse affects the forms and meanings of all levels of language use and can stimulate creativity. The term ‘dialogic’, however, does not just apply to literature.

For Bakhtin, all language and all thought appear as dialogic. This means, for instance, that everything anybody ever says always exists in response to things that have been said before and in expectancy of things that will be said in response. (hence the backwards and forwards) We never, in other words, speak in a vacuum. The result is that all language (and the ideas which language contains and communicates) is dynamic, relational and engaged in a process of continual re-descriptions of the world.