Many scholars and theorists have grappled with understanding how the way that we use language always depends on how other people use language. What we want to say is shaped by what others have said (just now or long ago), how we think others will interpret it, and a host of other socially situated concerns. Mikhail Bakhtin called this dialogism, but it’s a concept that gets interpreted by others as well. Today’s media on dialogism comes from Dinosaur Comics.
In this episode of Dinosaur Comics, T-Rex is upset to reconcile dialogism with his desire to quote The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. None of us can totally control how the meaning of our language use will get taken up by others.
Here, T-Rex plans to write a plagiarized essay about plagiarism, and he struggles to get a hold of the concept in light of the way that we all use each other’s word regularly.