Submit manuscript...
Journal of
eISSN: 2573-2897

Historical Archaeology & Anthropological Sciences

Review Article Volume 9 Issue 2

In the web of dialogism and social inclusion: Bakhtin and Yakubinsky

Fabiana Wanderley, Adriana Marques, Luciano Meira

Rural Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil

Correspondence: Fabiana Wanderley, PhD in Cognitive Psychology, Adjunct Professor IV at UFRPE, Founding Partner of Cognvox ; Researcher in the field of Inclusive Education and Writer, Rural Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil

Received: March 28, 2024 | Published: May 16, 2024

Citation: Wanderley F, Marques A, Meira L. In the web of dialogism and social inclusion: Bakhtin and Yakubinsky. J His Arch & Anthropol Sci. 2024;9(2):81-86. DOI: 10.15406/jhaas.2024.09.00302

Download PDF


This article aims to discuss, theoretically, Vygotsky, Bakhtin and Yakubinsky's ideas, highlighting their contributions in the field of Development and Cognitive Psychology, specifically for studies about the acquisition of language. Entering in a dialogical perspective, the three authors conceive that the subject, while a social-historical being, is formed in and through language, from the dialogue or from the dialogical tensions established with the Other. The way they face language allows encompassing verbal and non-verbal aspects of communication, as well as the flexibility of context. By understanding the human being, so integrated with the social, help to undo some impasses, generated by the traditional models of language, which allowed the gap between language/thinking, individual/social, monologism/dialogism, etc.

Keywords: dialogism, Vygotsky, Bakhtin, Yakubinsky


This article aims to theoretically discuss the ideas of Vygotsky, Bakhtin and Yakubinsky in relation to the issue of language acquisition of reference scenarios of Cognitive and Developmental Psychology. Entering a dialogic perspective, the three authors conceive the subject as a historical-social being, constituted in and through language, dialogue or dialogic tensions to the other. In this sense, language is appearing in its verbal and non-verbal aspects and views on ongoing flexibility with context. By understanding the human being in an integrated way and social issues, it allows us to overcome the barriers caused by traditional models of language (language/thought, individual being, social being, and monologue and dialogue).

“Language is no longer linked to the knowledge of thing, but the men’s freedom”

(Michel Foucault)

The objective of this article is to expose the contribution of the thoughts of Vygotsky, Bakhtin and Yakubinsky on the theme of dialogism and its implications for researchers in the areas of developmental psychology and cognition.

We are aware that analyzing the contributions of these theoretical contributions is an arduous task, but, at the same time, exciting and challenging. Difficult, because it is a complex line of thought that is still insufficiently known among us, since we are only recently having access to the main works of the respective authors.1–3 However, exciting and challenging, because this current of thought represents a way of overcoming some classic epistemological impasses faced by Psychology, regarding the relationship between thought and language; to being individual versus collective; monologism versus dialogism, among others.

Scenario: the classic dilemmas of psychology

Historically, we can postulate that Psychology has suffered, since its origins (which, traditionally, are located in the works of W. Wundt and F. Bretano), from a kind of “lack of epistemological identity”, due to a great difficulty in identify and define the contours of your own object of knowledge. However, this did not prevent it from making relevant progress both in theoretical and practical fields and, above all, in its appearance in various sectors of social activity.4 In this context, it advances rapidly in its trajectory as a science, without having sufficient clarity about its object of study. Therefore, Psychology, even today, presents itself as a mosaic of “heterogeneous theories, methods and practices, offering the spectacle of a fragmented universe...”.5 In fact, historically, the main element that seems to divide the psychological field is the double mechanistic/humanistic vision. This cleavage seems to translate into theoretical-practical fields the old problem known by the English as the mind-body-problem. Thus, this consists of an old discussion, insofar as the human being is neither restricted merely to the biological nor to the psychological plane (in the sense of Aristotelian psykè), characterized by a synthesis, a great articulation between the socio-cultural dimensions. Psychological, being, essentially, a symbolic being, constructed socio-historically. From this perspective, we can argue that, just as the human being is inserted in the symbolic order, the human environment is in the order of culture, language, arts, life in its multiple manifestations. Thinking about human beings based on these premises requires understanding them, according to Castoriardis,6 as a result of two inseparable histories: a history of the psyke (psychogenesis), throughout which it changes and opens up to the social-historical world, and a social history, in which society imposes a 'way of being' on it (sociogenesis ) that she could never make emerge from herself and that creates the 'social individual' that emerges as the coexistence of a private world and a common or public world.

Origins of the socio-historical current

The origins of the socio-historical current center on the theoretical-conceptual framework of authors such as Vygotsky; Luria and Leontiev, who integrate vast works and interests in areas such as Linguistics, Psychology, Pedagogy and Neurology. At the time, his ideas were in opposition to: (1) The first works of Scientific Psychology, marked by Wundt's experimentalism and introspectionism, whose belief rested on the description of the constituent elements of consciousness; (2) the elementaryism of the S-R model, advocated by Watson and his followers. The situation of Russian Psychology did not differ much from this scenario, presenting, however, peculiar cultural characteristics due to its history and the fermentation of ideas, concerning the end of the Tsarist era.

According to Valsiner,7 evolutionary postulations were widespread in pre-revolutionary Russia, highlighting that two traditions had great influence on Soviet Psychology: one linked to the field of evolutionary Biology, with names such as Vagner, and other; in the field of Neurophysiology, where I.M. Sechenov, initiator of the reflexological current, stands out.

Post-Soviet Russia also allowed the emergence of the propositions of Luria, Leontiev and Vygotsky, which had their theoretical roots in this double tradition (the line of natural development and that of sociocultural development). They emerge from this new collection of authors and themes such as: (a) elementary and higher functions; (b) the concept of internalization of psychic functions; (c) the importance of the activity in transforming external and internal reality; and (d) the function attributed to language. The influence of this tradition and of other Russian authors, such as Yakubinsky3 and Bakhtin8–12 are of particular interest to us. Both Yakubinsky's and Bakhtin's thoughts received the marks of this ambience of socio-historical Soviet Psychology, as well as the assumptions of Marx and Engels. In fact, as Valsiner7 discusses, “the history of Psychology in Soviet Russia in the 1920s is an interesting case of the science-society relationship. On the one hand, because official ideology progressively assumes the role of controlling activity scientific, therefore Psychology. On the other hand, because a large part of the young generation of psychologists, linguists and other thinkers are enthusiastically dedicated to building new theoretical systems in Psychology and linguistics, based on dialectical Materialism”. Such ideas are meaningful because they emerge as an alternative for overcoming the impasses and paradoxes (cf. mentioned at the beginning of this article) with which Psychology was struggling.

In this direction, the 20s and 30s were marked by intense work to demolish the subjectivist-empiricist tradition, which dominated Russia before the Revolution, in an attempt to build a Psychology in line with the principles of Marxism. This will also be a major dilemma for linguists, like Bakhtin. In other words, how to overcome the extremism of the subjectivist relationship, on the one hand; and, empiricist, on the other? This is a concern that is sustained from an epistemological point of view for Soviet Psychologists and Linguists, such as Vygotsky, Bakhtin and Yakubinsky. The objectifying tendency of some has led to ignoring the problem of consciousness; while the Marxist ideas of others placed it as a true problem of Psychology, scientifically analyzable, but in still reductionist terms. After outlining the socio-historical environment that enabled the proliferation of the ideas of psychologists and linguists, post-Revolution, we will make a cut and analyze the contributions of the propositions of Bakhtin and Yakubinsky,3 which emerge in this scientific context.

The conceptual framework of Yakubinsky and Bakhtin

To this day, Bakhtinian studies have been taken as a reference in several areas of knowledge, such as: literature, applied linguistics and Psychology. Therefore, discussing the studies developed by Bakhtin and his Circle is relevant for two aspects. On the one hand, as we have already mentioned, due to the crossing of several areas of knowledge, which makes both its review and its theoretical-methodological re-reading necessary. On the other hand, socio-historical dynamism is permeated by incessant transformations, which influence man and the context in which he is circumscribed. Therefore, (re)visiting Bakhtinian theory is also looking at it in a particular way, because the reader is human and influenced by the changes that have occurred in the social environment in which he or she lives. In this way, we will revisit part of the complex studies of the Bakhtin Circle, in order to look at a specific issue: dialogism.

In a historical retrospective on Bakhtin's conceptual framework, we can observe that it goes against the grain of the studies developed up to that point: it does not perceive language as an object, nor will it seek to discriminate it into minimal units until the establishment of the meaning contained in the sentence. For him, as highlighted by Faraco,13 the object of the human sciences is centered on the text, perceived as a coherent but heterogeneous set of signs that range from musicology to the history of the visual arts; from society to ideology. Ultimately, Bakhtin's concern lies with the man who produces texts in a given culture. In other words, man represents this particular culture, through the texts he produces and, at the same time, in which he is represented by it.

Language is no longer the object of analysis of Human Sciences, but the interrelationships of this man and the context that surrounds him. Even with the language he appropriates, Bakhtin develops two major critical orientations to the philosophical-linguistic thought in force at the time. On the one hand, the so-called thesis of individualist subjectivism, and, on the other, the so-called orientation of Abstract Objectivism, in which the followers of Saussurean linguistics. Let's focus on analyzing, in more detail, some aspects of this second guideline.

In general terms, the orientation of the so-called Abstract Objectivism, of a Saussurean aspect, perceives language as a system of fixed and immutable rules; as an “object”, centered solely on its individual form, completely external to the individual consciousness of the speakers. Bakhtin,11 on the contrary, sees language (system) in permanent evolution, undergoing profound modifications, originating from the collective, ceasing to be perceived as a solely individual and immanent manifestation, to transform into an event of a social nature: “the speech is inextricably linked to the conditions of communication, which, in turn, are always linked to social structures”.14 From this, he proposes a linguistics of speech, where language, as it is shared by a collective of individuals, becomes a social common good, whose transformations are inherent to it, reflecting the social variations that, fundamentally, are governed by laws external to the system itself.

As linguistic forms present themselves to speakers, in the context of precise enunciations, this context, for Bakhtin, will always be ideological. According to him, what we pronounce or hear are not words, but truths or lies, good or bad things, important or trivial, pleasant or unpleasant, etc. The word is always loaded with content or an ideological or experiential meaning. This is how we understand words and only react to those that awaken ideological resonances in us concerning life.11 Unlike the position adopted by abstract objectivists, language is inseparable from its ideological or life-related content. Above all, Bakhtin reaffirms that language is related to the motivations of the speaker's consciousness, and cannot receive a particular status, in which the empty linguistic form of ideology (sign) is separated from its ideological and experiential factors (signs of language).

Treating language as a “system” means perceiving it solely through an abstract perspective, far removed from the consciousness of the individuals who actually use it. The practice of social communication is dynamic and alive, and it is impossible to decompose its elements by artificially isolating them from the real units of the verbal chain; of the infinite spiral of his enunciations. In these terms, in linguistic visions and revisions, under the Bakhtinian perspective, the study of enunciation itself expands: it is no longer focused on an isolated monological enunciation, but begins to have “one” “another” “meaning”, which is realized in another place, other than restricted to the immanent study, within the enunciation. Its “limits” become diffuse, slide, become complex, dialogue... By contrasting the univocity of the word, as highlighted by abstract objectivism, with the plurality of its meanings, it states that the meaning of the word is totally determined by its context. There are as many possible meanings as there are possible contexts. However, this does not mean that the word ceases to be one. It is not disaggregated into as many words as there are contexts in which it can be inserted.11

This contextuality, for Bakhtin, is not on one and the same plane, but rather on an alternation of contextual planes. The same word, when taken in relation to the meaning and significance that is sought to be established, can appear in two mutually conflicting and exclusive dialogical contexts. In this way, “the contexts are not simply juxtaposed, as if they were indifferent to each other; they find themselves in a situation of tense and uninterrupted interaction and conflict”.

Dialogical relations in Bakhtin: (re)meanings

The term dialogism appears, in the context of the Bakhtin Circle, around 1928 and 1929, to express the permanent interaction and collision between significant structures, inserted in a certain historical and social field. This inexhaustible dialogue between signs and, mainly, between “system of signs”, whether literary, oral, gestural or unconscious, is seen as originating from the drives and tensions caused by the social. From this perspective, Dialogy was the term most used to describe the life of the world of production and symbolic exchanges, composed not of a universe divided between good and bad, new and old, living and dead, right and wrong, truthful and liars., etc., but as a universe composed of signs.

Linked to this assumption, as every sign is ideological, every ideological creation is always a reflection of social and historical structures, and can never be the product of an isolated individual consciousness. Any change in ideology leads to a change in language. In these terms, the notion of dialogism ends up referring to the continually changing and renewable character of the sign itself, whose full meaning emerges from the complex game of social exchanges (dialogues). Concerned with avoiding misunderstandings, Faraco,13 Clark and Holquist15 seek to clarify the meaning that the word ideology acquires in the texts produced by the Bakhtin Circle. The word ideology is used, in general, to designate the universe of products of the human “spirit”, what is sometimes called by other authors as intangible culture or spiritual production (perhaps as a legacy of idealistic thought); and, equally, of forms of social consciousness (in a more materialist vocabulary). Ideology is the name that the Circle usually gives to the universe that encompasses art, science, philosophy, law, religion, politics, that is, all superstructural manifestations (to use a certain Marxist terminology).13

In this way, as can be seen, the term ideology should not be taken in its restricted, linear, negative sense or simply closed within the Marxist theoretical environment, but rather as an area of expansion of human intellectual/cultural creativity. The products and artifacts created by such areas of human knowledge, and, mainly, due to the unpredictability that artistic creation entails, cannot be studied by disconnecting them from the concrete reality that houses them. This is the meaning that the Bakhtinian conception gives to the term. Therefore, signs are intrinsically ideological, that is, created and interpreted within complex and varied processes that characterize social exchange. Each and every sign and each and every statement, in this conception, are located in the deep essence of a certain ideological dimension (art, politics, Law, etc.), and always entail a certain evaluative position: “there is no neutral statement; the rhetoric of neutrality itself is also an axiological position.”

Within these assumptions, we can affirm that the notion of dialogism refers, then, to the dynamics of the semiotic process of interaction of social voices, which interpenetrate, collide, meet, mismatch, disperse and group around each other. Of the social whole, in which they subsist and from which they compose new dialogical multiplicities. Signs emerge and give meaning within social relationships, they are between socially organized beings; They cannot, therefore, be conceived as resulting from merely physiological and psychological processes of an isolated individual; or determined only by an abstract formal system. To study them, it is essential to place them in the global social processes that give them meaning.13 Like the notion of ideology, the metaphor of permanent dialogue itself, a word in itself complex and ambiguous, must also be reviewed, since there are multiple dialogues within the very notion of dialogue. According to Faraco, the members of the Bakhtin Circle were not interested in the study of the dialogue form, commonly associated with characters' conversations in written narratives, dramatic texts or face-to-face interaction.

In these terms, Bakhtinian dialogism should not be taken and measured as just another concept among many other concepts with which we are accustomed to working theoretically. This is not some instrument that Bakhtin himself uses to address certain aspects of reality. The notion of dialogism must be understood as a kind of philosophical system, sufficiently capable of encompassing, with a comprehensive/responsive look, the Being of Man and his unusual and unpredictable forms of cultural activity. There would be no other way for Bakhtin to explain this infinite and permanent interaction other than with the metaphor of the eternal dialogue that permeates the entire semiotic universe that assists us and of which we are a constitutive part.

Any ideological process (creative in Bakhtin) will always be involved with a certain axiological position, which will always be in correlation with other creative points of view of other interlocutors. The universe of ideological creation is the universe of meanings.16 Under these circumstances, the monological character of the enunciations becomes incomprehensible, since the entire universe conspires against it. For these reasons, the metaphor of permanent dialogue was generated, as if by itself, where all these social voices intertwine, in a multifaceted way, at the same time that new social voices are also being formed. Eternal movement encounters and disagreements of meanings to be remade.

In line with these postulates, we can highlight the notion of subject in Bakhtin, as it is involved with the constitutively dialogical nature of language itself, referring to the permanent interaction between the discursive self and other. In this argumentative direction, the Bakhtinian subject is displaced from his center and begins to live in a certain collective “periphery”, where he dialogues with the different social voices of his peers. It is, in fact, a concrete and real subject who, contextualized in his social-historical and ideological space-time, is located in the world.

As can be seen, the fundamental notion that emerges from Bakhtinian subjectivity is the interactional space between the I and the you; or between the self and the other, within the text, which will require an active responsive attitude between the verbal communication partners. In these terms, Bakhtinian discourse will be oriented towards a third person; to another that, inserted in a particular context, reinforces the influence of organized social forces on the very way in which discourse is understood. It is a circular active responsive comprehensive process that fundamentally refers to the dynamics of the interrelationship of individuals involved in some current of verbal communication. This Bakhtinian “I” is then constituted by the words of the other; is seen through the eyes of another; it takes place in the other; within that other. It is a permanent dialogue between an “I” which, in turn, is not solitary but in solidarity with all the “others” that interact with it; and with all the others that are yet to come...Thus, thinking about the formation of consciousness as a movement between people, the sign is understood in its social nature, and the human being as a meeting of voices. Signs, a human creation, only emerge from social interaction; and this, for Bakhtin and Voloshinov, is linked to social structures and immersed in the class struggle. And as there is no “I” devoid of class, the “I” becomes stronger in the “we”. We are made up of multiple voices with their ideological marks, whether in the sense of concealment, as Marx suggests, or in the sense of world vision, as proposed by Bakhtin, for whom ideology reflects and refracts reality - “Being, reflected in the sign, does not it is only reflected in it, but it is also refracted.”

The concept of refraction is extremely relevant in the so-called Bahktin Circle, as it defends the premise that meanings are not given in the sign itself, nor are they guaranteed by an abstract, unique and timeless semantic system, nor by reference to a uniformly and transparently given world, but are constructed in the dynamics of history and are marked by the diversity of experiences of human groups, with their countless contradictions and clashes of valuations and interests social. Thus, in other words, refraction is the way in which the diversity and contradictions of the historical experiences of human groups are inscribed in signs.

From a perspective of greater verticalization, we can postulate that this Bakhtinian other, understood and given meaning in a given concrete situation, and which, far from being individual, dialogues with a plurality of other subjects and factors/values, refers to a “we”, which it is the very constituent sphere of this social-collective-ideological, located in a certain community or group, in which this entire process takes place. This other, as Brait17 analyzes, also dialogues with “us” (the collective, since language is not spoken in a vacuum). For these reasons, Bakhtin insists on the role of the other in establishing the meaning of a given statement, for which there will always be the perspective of another voice that dialogues with ours, when dialoguing with the world. The Bakhtinian subject is relational, and appears precisely in/from the mediation between the dialogical self-other.

For Marková,18 the subject is constituted based on alter-ego tension, emphasizing that the term tension does not refer to conflict, but to complementary opposites (convergence X divergence, acceptance X refusal, etc.). He points out that, according to Bakhtin, “a person does not have internal territorial sovereignty and that he or she is always and completely on the border with others. When she looks at herself, she “looks into the eyes of the other or with the eyes of the other.” Bakhtin proposes that the subject then experiences a radical incompleteness, leading him, in order to overcome it, to need the Alter, which functions as a surplus of vision, in the sense that you can see what the Self cannot see. This notion of responsiveness or “answerability, developed by the Bakhtin Circle, is central to dialogism.18 This dialogical peculiarity of language is due to the fact that any speech act is always a response, being, in this way, influenced by what it responds to, that is, the speech is configured by what the speaker expects from his interlocutor and The person's contribution to the dialogue has specific characteristics, which only exist or make sense because of the dialogue.

Thus, dialogism, a constitutive condition of meaning in discourse, will always be a function of the active responsive attitude of this other. In these terms, the “I” (utterer) is realized in the Bakhtinian “we” (collective), understood as the space where communication is negotiated in a multiplicity of significant interactions, which give concrete and living plenitude to the language. The “we” only gains strength, truth, legitimacy through dialogue with this real, social, ideological, contextual, collective space that represents/represents different meanings as it is (re) enunciated. The dialogical nature of language, a central concept in Bakhtinian thought, as it is alive, is still open! Yakubinsky, Vygotsky, Bakhtin and dialogism.

Inserting himself into the dialogical model, Yakubinsky, as well as Bakhtin Voloshinov, opposes himself to the Russian formalist School and Saussure's structuralism. The focus of interest of the formalists, according to Eskin,19 was directed towards poetics and literary texts, leaving aside the social aspects related to these writings, thus contributing to Yakubinsky, whose interest was focused on the dimensions social aspects of language, ended up distancing himself from the assumptions of this School, of which he became part. From a comparison perspective, we can rescue the ideas of Saussure,20 who, in turn, proposes that linguistic signs are arbitrary, making a distinction between language (langue) and speech (parole). The first concerns a code that has its own existence, not depending on the speaker's will, and the second - speech (parole) - refers to the uses that the individual makes of the language, based on the selection of elements of a system of linguistic signs. In this way, linguistic meaning belongs to a structure of the social system, which imposes itself on the subject.

Analyzing Suassurian Structuralism, Cornejo21 observes a dichotomy (individual/social), considering that language, as a social structure, is formed independently of the subject. Chomsky's perspective, on the other hand, although it emerged as an alternative to structuralism, cannot overcome the dichotomy left by him, since it also assumes a structuralist view of the sign, when it suggests that there is a “mental lexicon” or a set of syntactic rules, semantically manipulated, blindly, pointing to a structure dissociated from the context. When the speaker uses language, in communicative situations, he is simply demonstrating a performance, arising from a competence, genetically programmed. There is, then, a gap between the subject and the social, since linguistic meaning is generated “inside the head” of the subject (Generative Grammar). Still within the scope of Cornejo's analysis, while in Structuralism, the emphasis to explain the origin of linguistic meaning falls on the social, for Chomskians, it focuses solely on the individual. Both perspectives fail to encompass the variability of meaning and the flexibility of context. In turn, pragmatics fills the gaps in these paradigms, emphasizing that it is only possible to understand the human phenomenon when language is conceived in action. It is only in use, in production situations, that language gains meaning. Sharing the ideas of pragmatics, Yakubinsky believes that there is no single linguistic system, but each form of language has its own structure, with as many langues as there are forms of language, which only acquire meaning through use.22 This way of conceiving language is shared by Bakhtin, in his set of works, and discussed by Vygotsky, especially in “Thought and Language” (1998). It is noteworthy that this vision of language involves some of the central characteristics of dialogism, highlighted by Broeckelman,23 namely: 1) Dialogue and not monologue is the most natural form of human discourse; 2) Meaning is co-constructed in the relationship between interlocutors; and finally, 3) The context or social situation determines meaning. Therefore, signs do not have their own meaning, but they change or acquire identity in concrete production situations.

In relation to the first characteristic of dialogism, Yakubinsky conceives that the subject is generated in dialogue, with the meaning shared or negotiated by speakers through it, thus not agreeing with the meaning of passive subject, present in structuralism, believing, instead Furthermore, it is capable of modifying or revolutionizing language . By highlighting the role of dialogue (responsiveness) in the formation of the person, Yakubinsky goes beyond the traditional view of Pragmatics, in fact articulating language, subject and subjectivity, which were disconnected in structuralism.

Yakubinsky, in fact, was one of the first theorists to postulate the idea that dialogue, and not monologue, is the most natural form of human discourse, even anticipating the writings of Bakhtin and his Circle.23, 19 According to Silvestri and Blank,24 the notion of dialogue proposed by Yakubinsky exerted influence on the theoretical elaborations of both Vygotsky and Bakhtin, bringing fruitful results for both. According to Yakubinsky, while the monologue is a more authoritarian, unilateral form, encompassing a more rational form of communication, dialogue is something natural, spontaneous, automatic. This is due to the fact that, according to Friedrich, people's daily lives facilitate the establishment of certain communication patterns “... firmly established sentences, ways of using sentences, sentence pattern ´fossilized´ words”, to the point that they respond to the other, automatically, or reflexively, in the biological sense of the term, bringing man and animal closer together. Unlike the monologue, the dialogue occurs so quickly that it does not allow reflection on the action, considering that it is seen as a succession of actions (action-reaction).

This meaning diverges from the traditional model of language, in which biological aspects are rejected, and rationality, an eminently human characteristic, distances man from the animal, rejecting non-rational aspects, such as emotions, feelings, etc.22 It also highlights that, for Yakubinsky, dialogue occurs via perception. Therefore, aspects such as tone, timbre, intonation, gestures, mimes play a crucial role in communication; As a result, it is possible to communicate only through gestures and mimes. It highlights, for example, that intonation can completely modify what was said; This implies that the word has no meaning of its own, thus reducing the role of the semantic factor in language. On the other hand, in Yakubinsky's conceptual framework, dialogue is open, constantly exposed to interruptions. Participation in dialogue is determined by the expectation of the other's response. Even monologue situations, such as academic presentations, for example, can turn into dialogue, each time the audience interferes in the lecture; and, even when people do not express their points of view verbally, they signal their desire to speak through their gaze, gestures, etc.

Bertau25 highlights that the emphasis given by Yakubinsky to the ability of language to disappear completely in communication or to transcend speech, consists of one of his main contributions to the study of language acquisition. The author also highlights that this characteristic of language presents a complex parallel with the metaphor of evaporation for the transformation of language into thought proposed by Vygotsky, in which he points out that, after this evaporation occurs, language does not disappear in its internal form, since thought is strictly linked to speech. Based on Darwin's evolutionism, Vygotsky1 agrees with Yakubinsky, when he proposes that man's development has primitive (biological) components, which resemble that of animals. However, under the influence of Marx and Engels, Vygotsky expanded this idea by suggesting that, in the course of development, through interaction with the culture (historical process) in which he lives, human development transcends that of animals in qualitative terms. . Ontogenetic development does not move in a straight line, demarcating a quantitative accumulation, but presents a series of qualitative and dialectical transformations.

There is probably a parallel between Yakubinsky and Vygotsky (perhaps even under the influence of the former), when the latter advocates that the subject's action implies an action between people, presenting a shared meaning. This idea of co-construction of meanings, in the use of language or in communication, consists of the second essential characteristic of dialogism, highlighted previously by Broecklman.23 From the moment the subject enters the world, they are faced with a semiotized environment, where the adult (mediator of knowledge - representative of socio-historical and cultural values) will interpret or attribute meaning to their actions (even when they are not yet linguistic, but expressive resources of certain basic needs – comfort, discomfort, hunger, thirst, etc.), thus introducing him to the elements of culture. According to Silvestri and Blank,24based on Marxist perspectives, Bakhtin and Vygotsky share the idea that semiotic mediation is the foundation of the human psyche, or a sine qua non condition for there to be consciousness. From this perspective, it is not man's consciousness that determines his being, as postulated by subjectivist idealism, but, on the contrary, it is his social being that determines his consciousness (which is a product of society). In this sense, the matter of the psyche is semiotic and, as a result, its reality is that of the sign. It is worth noting that the clear similarities between Bakhtin and Vygotsky are due to the fact that they both share the same historical and ideological context.24

By conceiving that meaning is co-constructed in dialogical exchanges, Yakubinsky emphasizes that language is an essentially communicative, dialogical activity, pointing to the construction of an apperceptive mass as a facilitator or fundamental condition of communication. The understanding of the other's speech is apperceptive, that is, it depends not only on the current moment, but on internal and external experiences as well as the total psychic content of the interlocutors. The apperceptive mass involves thoughts, emotions, desires (conscious or not) and once established, the dialogue becomes simpler, creative, abbreviated, considering that the interlocutors build a story together, thus sharing ideas, emotions, attitudes etc. For Yakubinsky and Vygotsky 26 cited by Lyra and Bertau, the abbreviation results from shared experiences, during the repetition of interactions, which are built in the history of communication between partners. Since the apperceptive mass favors abbreviation, it allows exploring and understanding the complexity of the human phenomenon, in terms of the self, the symbol and the subject. This emphasis on aspects not verbal aspects of communication (the interest focused on the notion of apperceptive mass) is what will basically distance Yakubinsky from Vygotstky and Bakhtin.

Approximations and distances between the ideas of Vygotsky, Bakhtin and Yakubinsky

In general terms, the three authors present more theoretical approximations than distances. The difference is only in the focus of interest given by each one, in their theoretical path. Vygotsky highlights the interaction and the role of semiotic mediation in the communicative process. Bakhtin develops the concept of dialogism and the role played by dialogue in communication, focusing mainly on its verbal or conscious aspects. Yakubinsky, in turn, although he elaborates the idea of dialogue, directs his focus of attention to the apperceptive mass, specifically, to exchanges or non-verbal factors of communication. Precisely by focusing on the non-verbal specificities of communication, or the establishment of the apperceptive mass, in face-to-face interaction, Yakubinsky becomes a relevant author for understanding language acquisition, especially at the beginning of communication, when it is, inherently, marked by dialogical exchanges of looks, gestures, mimes, etc. Like Yakubinsky, Bakhtin addresses the issue of monologue, calling it authoritarian speech and dialogue, approaching what he classifies as internally persuasive speech. Bakhtin,8 aiming to differentiate these two forms of discourse, refers to two pedagogical modes, commonly used by students, when preparing for school exams. The authoritative speech would correspond to the method of memorizing while the internally persuasive one would correspond to the method of answering questions in one's own words.

While the first discourse is closed, imposed by society, coming from the outside to the inside, without being completely integrated with the self, the second is dynamic, creative, arising from the person's dialogue with that discourse, therefore susceptible to changes. Although the notion of internally persuasive speech presents similarities with Yakubinsky's vision of dialogue, it seems to have a slightly different connotation from the latter, considering that, in the same way as authoritative speech, internally persuasive speech also encompasses a certain reflection or intention, not being carried out in such an automatic or reflexive way, as proposed by Yakubinsky. According to Broeckelman, Bakhtin, in the same way as Yakubinsky, also considers the non-verbal aspects of communication, when he suggests that dialogue, as a natural phenomenon, can be compared to a carnival event, in which participants throw themselves or participate, simply trying to respond to each other, violating all socially established moral and aesthetic rules or principles, instead of trying to shape their speech to social norms. However, considering that Yakubinsky's interest seems to be particularly directed towards non-linguistic aspects of communication, he emphasizes dialogue, in a restricted way, as being more linked to face-to-face interaction; thus differentiating itself from the Bakhtin Circle, in which it is conceived in a more comprehensive way, as explained previously.

Both Vygotsky and Bakhtin start from criticisms of current science models (functionalist or idealist and objectivist psychology), to develop their language model, which is conceived not as a mere reflection of reality, but as constitutive of the human psyche. Bakhtin and Voloshinov suggest that the psyche cannot be explained based on physiological or biological principles, or only at the individual level, in which the subject is seen, in a static way, as ahistorical and immutable. To account for the human mind, resorts to sociology (the notions of sign and ideology), considering consciousness as a socio-ideological fact, which is based or co-constructed in concrete situations of production. This notion of consciousness, highlighted by Bakhtin as a need to understand the human mind, as highlighted by Silvestri and Blank, is precisely what is developed by Vygotsky. They draw attention to the coincidence between the thoughts of the two authors. According to Freitas and Silvestri and Blank, although they did not know each other personally, the works of Vygotsky and Bakhtin demonstrate mutual knowledge. In the work“Bajtín y Vigotski: La organizacón semiótica de la consciousness”,28–33 Silvestri and Blank highlight that the similarity between them is certainly due to the fact that they share the same socio ideological context, being, therefore, influenced by Soviet socio-economic psychology. -historical and by Yakubinsky's idea of dialogue, Finally, it is clear that the way in which the three authors conceive language, as a constituent of the subject, which, as a socio-historical being, is formed in dialogue, in dialogical exchanges with the Other, comes to overcome the antagonisms present in traditional paradigms of language, which, by allowing the separation between thought and language; the individual versus the social; monologism versus dialogism, etc., cannot account for the variability of meaning and the flexibility of the context.



Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


  1. Vygotsky LS. Thought and language, São Paulo: Martins Fontes. 1998.
  2. Bakhtin M. Aesthetics of verbal creation, São Paulo: Martins Fontes. 2000.
  3. Yakubinsky LS. On dialogic speech by Eskin M. PMLA. 1923;112:243–256.
  4. Sirgado APA, Goes MCR. Thought and language: studies in perspective of soviet psychology. CEDES Notebooks. 2000;24:38–51.
  5. Moreau ML, Richelle M. L'acquisition du langage. 2001.
  6. Castoriadis C. L´institution imaginaire de la société. Paris. Éditions du Seuil. 1975.
  7. Valsiner J. The development of the concept of development: historical and epistemological perspectives.W Damon & R. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook Child Phychol. 1988;189-232.
  8. Bakhtin M, Mahwah NJ. The dialogic imagination. L Nucci-Conflict, contradiction, and contrarian elements in moral development and education . 1981:93–111.
  9. Bakhtin, M. A cultura popular na Idade Média e no Renascimento: o contexto de. 1987.
  10. Bakhtin M, Voloshinov VN. Freudism: a critical sketch, São Paulo: Perspective. 2001.
  11. Bakhtin M, Voloshinov VN. Marxism and philosophy of language- São Paulo:Hucitec. 1997.
  12. Bakhtin M, Voloshinov VN. Problems of the poetics em dostoiévski. Rioof January: University forensics. 1981.
  13. Faraco CA. Language & dialogue: linguistic ideas from the Bakhtin circle, Curitiba. PR: create editions. 2003.
  14. Yagello M. Bakhtin, the man and his double. Bakhtin M & VN Voloshinov Marxism and philosophy of language. São Paulo: Hucitec. 1997.
  15. Clark K, Holquist M. Mikhail Bakhtin, São Paulo: Perspective. 1998.
  16. Peirce CS. Semiotics,São Paulo: Perspective.2000.
  17. Brait B. Problems in general linguistics. Editora da UNICAMP. 1995.
  18. Marková I. Dialocity and social representations: the dynamics of the mind. 2006.
  19. Eskin M. Translator's introduction. PMLA. 1997;112 (2):243–248
  20. Saussure F. general linguistics: McGraw-Hill. 1966.
  21. Cornejo C. Who says what the words say? the problem of linguistic meaning in psychology. Theory Psychol. 2004;14(1):5–28.
  22. Friedrich J. The use and function of the notion of dialogue in the soviet-Russian discourse of the 1920s, especially with Yakubinsky and Vygostky . Think about language dialogically – Understand action dialogically. 2005.
  23. Broeckelman MA. Bakhtin speaking: a dialogic approach for teaching the basic public speaking course. Recuperado em 11 de setembro de. 2007.
  24. Silvestri A, Blank G. Bajtin and Vygotsky: the semiotic organization of the consciousness. Anthropos. 1993.
  25. Bertau MC. Think about language dialogically – understand action dialogically. Interdisciplinary conference in summer. 2005.
  26. Vygotsky LS. Thinking and speech. MCDP Lyra & MC Bertau: dialogical practices as basis for self. Studia Psychologica. 1987;8:173–193 .
  27. Peirce CS. Semiotics, São Paulo: Perspective.2000.
  28. Lyra MCDP, Bertau MC. Dialogical practices as basis for self. Studio Psychol. 2008;8:173–193.
  29. Castro G. Dialogues with Bakhtin: Curitiba. UFPR Publisher. 2001.
  30. Roncari L. Preface ​dialogism, polyphony, intertextuality São Paulo: EDUSP. 1994.
  31. Sobral A. Act/activity and event. In: B. Brait. (Org.). Bakhtin: key concepts. São Paulo: Context. 2008.
  32. Tezza C, De Castro G. Dialogues with Bakhtin, Curitiba. UFPR Publisher. 2001.
  33. Vygotsky LS. Thinking and speech. MCDP Lyra & MC Bertau: dialogical practices as basis for self. Studia Psychol. 1987;8:173–193.
Creative Commons Attribution License

©2024 Wanderley, et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and build upon your work non-commercially.