Voices in text, mind, and society: Sociohistoric accounts of discourse acquisition and use

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Voice is often represented either expressively as personal and individualistic or socially as a discourse system. Drawing on sociohistoric theory (particularly Voloshinov and Bakhtin), in this article, I argue for a third view in which voice is simultaneously personal and social because discourse is understood as fundamentally historical, situated, and indexical. Specifically, I explore three key ways that voice may be understood from this perspective: voice as a typification linked to social identities; voice as the reenvoicing of others' words in texts (oral and written) through processes of repetition and presupposition; and finally, voice as it is linked to the situated production of persons and social formations. All three are central to discourse acquisition and use in general and to literate activity in particular. Finally, I conclude by considering the implications of this theoretical perspective for second language writing pedagogies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-81
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Second Language Writing
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 2001


  • Discourse analysis
  • Language acquisition
  • Second language learning
  • Writing (composition)
  • Writing research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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