Primary genre

Bakhtin distinguishes between primary and secondary speech genres. Primary genres are simple genres that take form in “unmediated speech communion” (Bakhtin, 1986, p. 62).


Bakhtin, M. M. (1986). The problem of speech genres (V. W. McGee, Trans.). In C. Emerson & M. Holquist (Eds.), Speech genres and other late essays. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 60-102.


Primary genres, for Bakhtin (1986), are those of everyday conversation, from the "single-word rejoinder" (p. 81) to "greetings, farewells, congratulations" (p. 79) and "genres of salon conversations" to "genres of table conversation, intimate conversations among friends, . . . within the family, and so on" (p. 80). He also notes that "no list of oral speech genres yet exists, or even a principle on which such a list might be based" (p. 80).

Contributed by: 

Nick Temple, Carolyn Miller

Subscribe to RSS - Primary genre