Roman Jakobson's Model for the Bahktinian Sign

Roman Jakobson, one of Mikhail Bahktin's most reputable followers, gives a complicated, yet more practical diagram of signification, inspired by his mentor. What is special about this model is that it illustrates how activating the utterance in dialogic communication can yield far richer and more complexly formed meaning than that which is assumed in simple denotative signification. For this reason, Bahktin uses the word utterance to designate the basic signification event. In posing this term he implies that meaning can never be apprehended in full unless it is fashioned within the interaction between two or more "voices"; Bahktin also implies that meaning cannot be reduced to an isolated signifying unit (as it is with Saussure's sign), because it is produced both temporally and socially--in an instant of communication. Note the numerous dialogizing variables (Phatic, Emotive, Conative, etc.) that influence the particular "accent" of the utterance in this diagram.

--Diagram courtesy of Professor Don Keefer, Rhode Island School of Design

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