What are Bakhtin's main concerns regarding language?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Bakhtin was concerned with two main aspects of language: linguistics and literary theory. As my answer to your other question suggests, the two were intimately related in his mind. Basically, Bakhtin was interested in the "dialogical" aspect of language. This means that he thought language involved reaching mutually agreed-upon meanings, not necessarily referencing meanings that already existed. Meanings are always changing according to a number of different factors. But communication depends on being able to reach mutually agreed upon meanings, so language, while always relational, was never completely relativistic. People have an interest in being understood, and in understanding, so they reach agreements as to meaning.


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