Secondary genre

Bakhtin distinguishes between primary and secondary speech genres. Secondary, or complex, speech genres develop in highly organized cultural communication and are usually mediated (written) and removed from the context of "actual reality." Secondary genres, as "historical formations," tend to "absorb and digest" primary speech genres, "reaccentuating" the simpler genres (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.


Bakhtin (1986) gives as examples "novels, dramas, all kinds of scientific research, major genres of commentary, and so forth" (p. 62). Literary genres are one kind of secondary genre, but not the only kind.

Contributed by: 

Nick Temple, Carolyn Miller

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