The Russian thinker Mikhail M. Bakhtin (1895-1975) had an impact on a range of scholarly areas, i.e. literary studies, philosophy, semiotics, cultural studies, feminist and post-colonial studies, Marxism and ethics. Perhaps precisely because he had a talent in bringing diverse methods of thinking closer to each other to gain a comprehensive view of the concepts he was interested in. His notion of utterances, speech genres and heteroglossia are based on dialogical thinking which by nature aims at interconnecting different fields. The dialogue and the responsive understanding however do not remain mere linguistic or text-based concepts but assume communicative and ethical value for human beings within ‘real life’. Inclusiveness characterizes many of Bakhtin’s notions: His analysis of language and discourse as polyglot concepts includes ‘the language of the marketplace’, the ‘parody and the laughter of the clown’.
This talk discusses some linguistic and literary concepts by placing particular emphasis on Bakhtin’s ability to cross borders.