Do we just use language? Or do we create it? Who says only a genius can be creative? What do our everyday conversations tell us about ourselves? Creativity in language has conventionally been regarded as the preserve of institutionalized discourses such as literature and advertising, and individual gifted minds. Language and Creativity 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 the unique 5-million-word corpus held at the University of Nottingham, 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.
In this ground-breaking book, Ronald Carter builds on previous theories of creativity, and offers a radical contribution to linguistic, literary and cultural theory. A must for anyone interested in the creativity of our everyday speech.
Ronald Carter is Professor of Modern English Language in the School of English Studies, University of Nottingham.