Everyday language creativity

Authored by: Janet Maybin

The Routledge Handbook of Language and Creativity

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  September  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415839730
eBook ISBN: 9781315694566
Adobe ISBN: 9781317439967

10.4324/9781315694566.ch1

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Abstract

In the context of a wider preoccupation with creativity in everyday social life, there has been increased interest among linguistic and discourse scholars in everyday language creativity, for example playful and humorous discourse, wit and irony, and artful performance, both online and off. There is, however, no clear-cut agreement about exactly what counts as creativity in this context. Some researchers focus primarily on formal poetic techniques; some take more multimodal or dynamic approaches; others are most interested in the interactional functions of language creativity and its potential for social critique (see Jones, Chapter 3; Sawyer, Chapter 4). In this chapter, I trace the emergence of a number of distinctive traditions of work that conceptualise and define everyday language creativity in different ways. I start with early twentieth-century Russian formalist ideas about poetics, which were incorporated in two subsequent streams of work in the second half of the twentieth century: first, in work on performance and critique, mainly within linguistic anthropology; and secondly, in more recent, interactionally focused studies in linguistics. Both of these streams of work have addressed sociocultural factors, with some researchers drawing on the Bakhtinian sociohistorical approaches that emerged around the 1930s in Russia and which were disseminated in the West from the 1960s. More recently, the post-structuralist turn in language studies has stimulated interest in more fleeting traces of creativity and their sociocultural consequences, and in creative links across languages, media, and cultural traditions, especially in multilingual and online contexts.

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