Essay about Heteroglossia - Langue and Linguistic Variation

1865 Words Aug 24th, 2013 8 Pages
Heteroglossia - Langue and linguistic variation
Bakhtin developed the notion in contrast with the structuralist account of language, which was centered in the notion of langue, that is, the systematic set of rules determining the well-formedness of an expression or utterance. This concept, introduced by Saussure, emphasised the notion that the code conformed by the linguistic norms must be common to all speakers for communication to be possible. This was seen as a dangerous simplification by Bakhtin, who asserted that languages are internally divided, not simply into regional dialects, but also into many different strata, corresponding to all possible axes of social division; he thus posited a minutely nuanced variety of class-, ethnia-,
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Not only are there social dialects, jargons, turns of phrase characteristic of the various professions, industries, commerce, of passing fashions, etc., but also socio-ideological contradictions carried forward from various periods and levels in the past. Language is not a neutral medium that can be simply appropriated by a speaker, but something that comes to us populated with the intentions of others. Every word tastes of the contexts in which it has lived its socially-charged life.
The term heteroglossia describes the coexistence of distinct varieties within a single "linguistic code". In Greek hetero = different + glōssa = tongue, language. In this way the term translates the Russian разноречие [raznorechie] (literally "different-speech-ness"), which was introduced by the Russian linguist Mikhail Bakhtin in his

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