Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk

By Ronald Carter | Go to book overview

3

Creativity and patterns of talk

Owen slips slightly, he's up, he's back on his feet but Owen is through, he's on his own, he slips it past the goalkeeper. 3-0. Now Liverpool are back up there, they're on cloud nine.

(Radio 5 Live football commentary, December 2002)

It is a question of how many birds we can kill with this particular stone.

(CANCODE data)

See you later alligator.

In a while crocodile.


Introduction
This chapter looks at spoken discourse in the light of the theoretical issues and descriptive approaches examined in the preceding chapters. The main part explores the extent to which examples of everyday spoken discourse display creative properties. Among the questions posed in this chapter are:
• Are there differences between creativity in written and spoken texts?
• Can particular creative patterns of spoken language be identified?
• Can a corpus of spoken language reveal features of creativity which other sources of data cannot?
• Is it reasonable to talk of the 'art' of speech and, if so, what kinds of frameworks, both theoretical and descriptive, are best suited to its analysis?

Corpus and data

The data for discussion in this chapter are drawn almost exclusively from a unique corpus of spoken English. Interest in spoken discourse has been reawoken recently by the large multimillion-word collections of naturally occurring spoken data which have become increasingly available (for example, the BNC (British National Corpus) and the spoken sections of the Bank of English, held at the University of Birmingham, UK). The data on which this chapter is based are all taken from the CANCODE corpus assembled in the School of English Studies at the University of Nottingham, UK. CANCODE stands for Cambridge and Nottingham Corpus of Discourse in English and is a

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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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