J.L., whom I know and respect, took me somewhat to task for my casual reference to Bakhtin (and Burke) in my monologue about dialogism and its use in writing instruction. Now I know I'm not a Bakhtinian scholar, although many years ago, I did read The Dialogic Imagination and "Speech Genres" quite carefully and imagined that I understood some of what he was writing/saying. On the other hand, I admit that mine was a casual reference, kind of a throw-away phrase that would impress readers with my knowledge, an offshoot of how we as academics have learned to more or less express ourselves by embedding our knowledge within previous utterances of people more respected than we are.
I think Marcia had a point: when you merely reproduce in painting the painting you are painting, you have a kind of flat discourse. But when you talk back in your painting of the painting, you have moved from ventriloquizing (Bakhtin--sorry) into speaking.
Maybe in a later post, I will pick up on this conversation, but at the moment, I want to simply refer to Moffett's notion (Teaching the Universe of Discourse) of how we learn to use language by engaging in dialogue, incorporating others' words into our internalized conversations with ourselves and others (the way we imagine discussions), and replaying the internalized dialogue out as a monologue when we speak within a different conversation--what Moffett refers to as soloing out.
I understand writing (as Moffett did) as something of the same. I actually think that's what Bakhtin was after, although he was talking about literature within this frame of incorporating others' discourses into our own.
Here's my point--and I realize that as an academic, I need one: I think that we should pay more attention in writing instruction to writing as dialogue, I mean serious dialogue, students writing to each other, than as monologue, forcing students to solo out, as I am doing here--rather than dialoguing with my friends on WPA-L.
Already long enough. But here is a video of learning to speak--if you haven't already seen this:
I can't help but post a monologue from one of my students. She's a triplet. I always ask my students to introduce themselves to their classmates with a brief autobiography. Here's what she wrote: