Bakhtin believes that there exists a gap between two persons communicating. He says that "understanding cannot be understood as emotional empathy, or as the placing of oneself in another's place (the loss of one's own place). This is required only for the peripheral aspects of understanding. Understanding cannot be understood as translation from someone else's language into one's own language" (Dost. xxxiii). This gap is greatly exaggerated in the several examples given in this web, for Bakhtin sees this gap as existing in all communications, no matter how simple. To quote his editor, Caryl Emerson, "Two speakers must not, and never do, completely understand each other; they must remain only partially satisfied with each other's replies, because the continuation of the dialogue is in large part dependent on neither party knowing exactly what the other means" (Dost. xxxii). The gap can be narrowed, but not closed.
See the Opening Remarks
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