Chapter 1. Strategy and creativity in dialogue

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Bakhtin’s idea that any utterance has built into its meaning its connectedness to other utterances gives rise to his idea of the “anticipatoriness” of utterances – that utterances are made with the “expectation of a response” (Bakhtin 1986: 69). If so, then each utterance delimits the utterances that can meaningfully come next, that would be responsive. The upshot is that Bakhtin’s ideas about the meaningfulness and interrelatedness of utterances implicate that utterances have an inescapably consequence-oriented, strategic aspect. Yet the idea of speaking strategically seems monologic rather than dialogic, antithetical to the premise of co-construction. To reconcile what seem to be incompatible concerns, a dialogical account is developed of two key underpinnings of strategic speaking − that responses to utterances are somewhat predictable and not open-ended, and that speakers form and act on intentions about what their utterances will bring about.


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