Mikhail Bakhtin

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What are Bakhtin's main concerns regarding language?

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Bakhtin believed that the basic units of language, such as words or utterances, do not have abstract meanings but are instead affected by the speaker's relationships with other people and the culture of the time. Therefore, Bakhtin concerns himself with the cultural and historical context of language as well as what Bakhtin calls "addressivity" (to whom language is addressed) and "answerability" (the response that language invites). Therefore, language never exists in a vacuum but is affected by its historical context and the dialogue in which it is involved. Bakhtin writes in Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics , "I live in a world of others' words." In other words, language is not neutral but is affected by other people's...

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