Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk

Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk

Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk

Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk


Language and Creativity explores the creativity inherent in everyday spoken language.Creativity in language has conventionally been regarded as the preserve of institutionalised discourses such as canonical literature and the discourse of advertising. In Language and Creativity Ronald Carter analyses naturally-occurring spoken language to reveal that ordinary people in everyday speech contexts demonstrate creative capacities for sensitivity to their contexts. Illustrated with examples, and integrating current theory in both language and literature studies, the book underlines the importance of the creative choice, automaticity and repetition which is involved in informal communication.



(sign displayed outside a camping shop in a small town in the English Midlands)

Cut 'n' Dried; Headlines; Making Waves; Kutz; Shampers; Klippers; Headstart; Hair Comes Linda; Way Ahead

(all names of UK hairdressing salons)

Common language expressing common thought is anything but simple, and its workings are not obvious. Special language expressing special thought is an exploitation of the common and to be analyzed only in respect to it.

(Turner, 1991:14)

Common words, commons values and common talk

This prologue opens up further questions of the kind raised in the Introduction, underlining that the main focus for the book is on ordinary, everyday talk and on the features of creative language use to be found within such contexts. It provides a range of concrete examples while at the same time asking about the values which surround both the examples and the words we use to talk about the examples. Yet more questions are asked about the examples, and the chapter as a whole thus provides a basis from which to introduce, in chapter 2, some key theoretical paradigms from different academic disciplines which are then employed further to return to the data.

Keywords: ordinary, common, art

Ordinary people, ordinary life, ordinary language. Ordinary is one of those common-sense words which appear to refer unproblematically to things. But like many of the words used in the argument in this book it has a cultural history. 'Ordinary' originally had a meaning derived from the Latin ordo=order (with the suffix -arius), and referred to the designation or formal appointment . . .

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