1st Edition

Language and Creativity The Art of Common Talk

By Ronald Carter Copyright 2016
    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    288 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Language and Creativity has become established as a pivotal text for courses in English Language, Linguistics and Literacy.

    Creativity in language has conventionally been regarded as the preserve of institutionalised discourses such as literature and advertising, and individual gifted minds. In this ground-breaking book, bestselling author Ronald Carter explores the idea that creativity, far from being simply a property of exceptional people, is an exceptional property of all people.

    Drawing on a range of real examples of everyday conversations and speech, from flatmates in a student house and families on holiday to psychotherapy sessions and chat-lines, the book argues that creativity is an all-pervasive feature of everyday language. Using close analysis of naturally occurring language, taken from a unique 5 million word corpus, Language and Creativity reveals that speakers commonly make meanings in a variety of creative ways, in a wide range of social contexts and for a diverse set of reasons.

    This Routledge Linguistics Classic is here reissued with a new preface from the author, covering a range of key topics from e-language and internet discourse to English language teaching and world Englishes. Language and Creativity continues to build on the previous theories of creativity, offering a radical contribution to linguistic, literary and cultural theory. A must for anyone interested in the creativity of our everyday speech.


    Part I: Backgrounds and theories
    1 Approaches to creativity
    2 Lines and clines: linguistic approaches

    Part II: Forms and Functions
    3 Creativity and patterns of talk
    4 Figures of speech

    Part III: Contexts and variations
    5 Creativity, language and social context
    6 Creativity, discourse and social practice


    Ronald Carter is Research Professor of Modern English Language in the School of English at the University of Nottingham, UK. He is the series co-editor of the Routledge Applied Linguistics and Routledge Introductions to Applied Linguistics series. His recent books include: How to Analyse Texts (Routledge, 2016), Spoken Corpus Linguistics (Routledge, 2013) and Vocabulary (reissued as a Routledge Linguistics Classic, 2012).

    ‘Affords major insights not only into "common talk" but through and beyond this into the nature of language in general.’

    M. A. K. Halliday, University of Sydney, Australia

    ‘A major step forward in conversation analysis, and gives deserved recognition to the remarkable linguistic creativity that exists in all of us.’

    David Crystal, University of Wales, UK

    ‘A delight to read.’

    Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr., University of California, USA

    ‘Reading this volume gives the same pleasure as dipping into a reference book on where words come from. It is fascinating and full of background interest ... It is an intriguing study, delving into how human beings use language and how every one of us is creative with it.’

    ESB (English Speaking Board)

    ‘The strength of this book is that Carter uses "real" evidence, transcriptions of conversations from the Cancode corpus, a five-million-word computerised database that includes recordings from a variety of settings in the UK and Ireland. This broad-ranging approach makes the book a useful consciousness-raising exercise for beginner students.’

    Jean Aitchison, The Times Higher Education Supplement

    ‘The book is a valuable new intervention which should be considered by all applied linguists for both the detail of its analyses and the larger questions it opens up.’

    BaaL News

    ‘A deeply enriching work, and one that surprises and delights in its revelation of the sheer ingenuity of human interactions.’

    Philip Martin, De Montfort University, UK