Bakhtin on Teaching Style

Bakhtin claims that students must learn to write lively prose, but they will not until teachers have a grammar of style that links syntax to stylistic qualities such as “lively” and “creative.” It is, however, unlikely that such a grammar could be written, because particular rhetorical effects too often depend on context, perceived intention, and so on. Moreover, such a grammar will not be written until language describing a writer or a writer’s style can be translated into language describing a reader’s response. Even so, some stylistic effects can be linked to some syntactic structures, and parataxis is one of them. Bakhtin’s method of teaching—showing how the same content expressed in different ways can have contrasting rhetorical effects—is sound. Although he focuses on pedagogy, his own language suggests a larger aim: the replacement of bureaucratic language with the language of the people, perhaps even the liberalization of Soviet society.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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