Definition of heteroglossia in US English:



  • The presence of two or more voices or expressed viewpoints in a text or other artistic work.

    • ‘Oreo displays Ross's appreciation for the diverse influences that contribute to America's cultural heterogeneity and its linguistic heteroglossia.’
    • ‘In the seminal essay ‘Discourse in the Novel,’ Mikhail Bakhtin introduces the concept of heteroglossia as a way of ordering the linguistic play and confusion of the English comic novel.’
    • ‘Movies are a mode whose elastic form, by turns comic, ironic, and parodic, can tolerate heteroglossia that would wreck more narrowly defined forms.’
    • ‘A satirical effect of the novel is to contrast the heteroglossia of America's diverse vernaculars with the conventional stereotyping of ethnicity in popular culture.’
    • ‘Old neoclassical debates over aesthetic unity found themselves recycled as conflicts between New Critical coherence and later emphases on faultlines and heteroglossia.’


1980s: from hetero- + Greek glōssa ‘tongue, language’ + -ia.