Creativity in speech

Authored by: Sarah Atkins , Ronald Carter

The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415551076
eBook ISBN: 9780203809068
Adobe ISBN: 9781136672927


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Creativity is a topic of contemporary interest across a range of fields. The focus of this chapter will be on linguistic creativity and how features of language that we might typically think of as occurring in literary, poetic or advertising discourses can also be identified in everyday spoken conversation. Much recent research suggests that linguistic creativity is a pervasive feature of everyday conversation; for example, these studies all look at the frequent creativity we find in spoken language (Cook, 2000; Carter, 2004 and Crystal, 1998). But what do we understand by ‘creativity’ when we make this claim about language use? The chapter will first outline, theoretically, what we might mean by ‘creativity’ and ‘creative language’. We will then look at how this could be identified and analysed through textually focussed discourse analytic methods, discussing some specific examples of creativity in a spoken conversation between a group of friends. The analysis considers the functions that their creative language use might have in this particular social context, as well as the implications that such a close textual investigation might have on our understanding of creativity more generally.

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