Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk

By Ronald Carter | Go to book overview

2

Lines and clines

Linguistic approaches

Introduction
Neither psychological nor sociocultural approaches to creativity have paid detailed, systematic attention to language and language use. For this perspective we turn in this chapter to the field of linguistics, and in particular to frameworks for discussion which are applied linguistic in orientation. As in chapter 1, the initial focus is on the semantic history of core words such as literate and literary and the particular values they carry concerning the central social and cultural significance of written language and creativity in writing. The reason for this is to explain the relative lack of attention to speech in both linguistic theory and descriptions of language. Developments in the linguistic description of creativity and literariness have also privileged writing, and a central section of the chapter explores the ways in which written literary language has been defined and described. At the same time, however, the word literary is itself questioned and problematised. Working, as indicated, with broad rather than narrow research questions, the aim is to create space for a focused study of creativity in spoken language in the remaining chapters. Running through the chapter are basic questions.
• Why is creativity in language associated with written language and with literary texts?
• Is there such a thing as literary language or is all language literary?
• Is creativity in language extraordinary or ordinary?
• What is language play and how does it relate to creativity in language?
• Are figures of speech special or normal?
• Is language primarily literal or non-literal?
Connected with these questions are others which set up frameworks for subsequent examination of creativity in spoken language.
• Do definitions of creative language depend primarily on identification of forms or of functions?
• What is the significance of playing with words and is it specially a written phenomenon?

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Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Backgrounds and Theories 15
  • 1 - Approaches to Creativity 17
  • 2 - Lines and Clines 53
  • Part II - Forms and Functions 87
  • 3 - Creativity and Patterns of Talk 89
  • 4 - Figures of Speech 115
  • Part III - Contexts and Variations 145
  • 5 - Creativity, Language and Social Context 147
  • 6 - Creativity, Discourse and Social Practice 170
  • Appendix 1 219
  • Appendix 2 222
  • Appendix 3 227
  • References 231
  • Index 249
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