Choose one of the following readings from the first module book

8 August 2016

The concept of creativity is very complex and could be defined in several ways with different approaches that could overlap and build on each other; they may also contrast and conflict. Creativity is an all pervasive feature of everyday language that is not simply a property of exceptional people, but an exceptional property of all people (Carter 2004, p. 13). It is basic to a wide variety of different language uses, from everyday advertising language and slogans to the most elaborated of literary texts.

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The variability of the word creativity then suggests that the plural term creativities may be preferable in defining it. (Carter, p. 54) argue that creativity is best understood by means of clines and with reference to social contexts by referring, thus building and developing Csikszentmihalyi’s theory that what is estimated to be literary or what is valued as creative either seen as ordinary or extraordinary is relative to the contexts in which it is used and to the values of those that shares in its use as both producers and consumers.

As well as using the notion of clines to measure the relative degrees of creativity in language in relation to different goals, different uses and different values. Because the existing studies of creativity as a linguistic phenomenon was based mainly on written artefacts, researchers in applied linguists have proved “that the same kind of language creativity and artistry found in art and literature can as well be found in the communication practices of everyday life” (p.1) which could be used to construct identity and manage relationships with others, Focusing on the social, cultural and critical dimensions of creativity the book gathered together theories and insight from of poetics, stylistics, sociolinguistics, New Literacy Studies and social history. Furthermore, a sociocultural approach to understand ”how language creativity works in a range of different contexts, from everyday conversation and internet chat to letter writing in prison etc,, was established. All these features and techniques that can be associated with poetry or any other forms of literature is what (Carter in Swann, 2006, p.29) refers to as ‘literary properties’ To recognize and appreciate better creativity Carter distinguishes three models of literariness namely: inherency, sociocultural and cognitive (ibis, p. 10) that could either be used separately or combined together. These models are not necessarily mutually exclusive or even completely distinct as one can contribute to another as something can have a cognitive effect because of the way it plays with inherent properties. (E. g. messing around with the form of language could be seen as creative either on the inherency or cognitive model).

Note: Linguistic form could be seen as textual and contextual approach to the study of creativity in language. INHERENCY approach see creativity as residing in certain formal properties of language where language is regarded as distinct from more practical uses of language in that language itself. Inherency is just looking at the text itself and nothing beyond it. It takes a textual approach and formally identifies creativity in the language e. g. – metaphor and rhyme, while the other models are much more contextual. (Carter, example 3-5, p.31, 32) illustrates how speakers can create new meanings by means of reformulation of what have been conventionally described in linguistics as immutably fixed chunks of language that could be referred to as “morphological inventiveness”. E. g. – There are lot of creative stuff around eating; Swallow your pride, eat humble pie etc… SOCIOCULTURAL approach sees literariness as socially and culturally determined and since what one thinks is often based on his or her sociocultural background, customs, beliefs, values, language is therefore all part of what shapes individuals identity and reality.

Sociocultural approach also reveals that society and culture shape cognition. An example that shows a sociocultural approach is (Besnier in Toolan, 2006, p. 144) during the Miss Galaxy peagant, majority of the contestants during interview although given the choice to answer in English or Tongan choose the latter. (Carter, DVD clip 1) argues that Creativity always emerges from a particular context, a particular social environment and that the more we know about that social environment the better we are able to study it.

A cultural knowledge is needed for wordplay and humour to be at its most effective and have impact on people, in the case of a following joke involving a public announcement at an Airport in which the British considered the Irish to be of inferior intellect and common sense “British Airway flight 218 is departing gate no. 10 at 13. 35 and Aer Lingus Flight 931departing when the little hand is on number four and the big hand is on two” (Carter 2004, p. 21) Noted that Aer Lingus is the national airline of Ireland.

COGNITIVE approach is somehow different as it relates to mental processes rather than to the properties of the texts or to how language is used. It influences our thinking, especially when we read a novel and how it touches us psychologically or how we identify with a piece of music. The cognitive approach lay emphasis on the effect a piece has on the reader as opposed to just looking at the piece itself, as inherency would focus more on. Cognitive is less about creativity being inherent in the language but more about their being a base of ‘everyday’ language metaphor on which creativity builds (Carter, 2004 p.71). E. g. – She’s been starved of affection for too long “hungry for love”. (Gibbs in Swann, 2006, p. 11) argues that human language and human understanding are often metaphorical and that literary metaphor builds on and extends everyday metaphorical concepts. E. g. -cognitive approach in schools enables students to gather information in a way that makes it meaningful to them and which they can relate to what they study, learning guiding principles enables students to remember particular details that lead them to be able to solve problems.

All Carter’s models of literariness fit within all stories either short or tall tales: The inherency approach works as stories are easily identifiable, and often take on a defined form. The sociocultural approach can be applied as the creativity of stories can be socially and culturally determined, so also the cognitive approach as some stories can have psychological effects. (Norrick in Toolan, 2006, p. 75, 76) discussed further how stories need not be new to have a range of interactional functions, such as affirming shared values or solidarity.

Due to recent interest in spoken discourse CANCODE, Carter reveals a number of characteristic features of spoken discourse like (punning and playing with sound, inventing new words morphological inventiveness, echoing and converging, pattern re-forming and pattern-reinforcing, playing with structure, and features/techniques such as repetition, metaphor, rhyme, rhythm) as creative. Firstly, he emphasized that they are not ‘everyday or common’, rather they are ‘poetic’ and are extraordinary with natural qualities of spoken discourse for everyone and not just for the creative genius’ like Shakespeare etc…

He went further that verbal play with language like (punning / extended metaphors / echoing / converging / morphological inventiveness) are most of time used for humorous purposes and to bring people closer together but sometimes could deliberately be used to challenge someone or to insult someone. He continued that this sort of linguistic creativity and inventiveness is contextually embedded as far as it depends to a measurable degree on – social context /social relationship.

Carter also reveals that creativity involves both OVERT pattern reforming forms as well as COVERT pattern reinforcing forms and lastly, confirmed that creativity is a frequent, but not exceptional feature of everyday language use and that creativity is also a common practice to share pleasure and convergence in and through language choice and interaction. Therefore some of the definitions of literary language may need to be revised. So whether a text is ‘creative’ can differ, depending on the analytical approach taken.

All these points are what Carter believes he has proven in his reading which in turn is the conclusion he has come to through examining the CANCODE. His work on everyday creativity based on the study of examples from CANCODE corpus of spoken English (Carter, DVD clip 1) talks about how CANCODE is used to gather evidence and how it help us better understand how spoken language works, especially vocabulary and grammar in spoken language.

By studying corpus we are exploring creativity which makes it possible to have lots of words possible, since it is designed in such way as to give us some broad socio-linguistic information about the speakers, E. g. – revealing the gender of the speaker, their age, the region of the country from which they come, that’s in the UK, the social background and the social class of the speaker. It also enables us to access information about the context, so we know what the setting is. E. g.-, girls talking, students talking in a flat shared by them on a Sunday afternoon, it gives us that type of information (Carter, 2006, example 10, p. 35). Although Carter gives no information about gender balance in his samples or about other social factors such as class and ethnicity, making it impossible to consider social, cultural and contextual factors that might affect the types of creativity, I still find his argument persuasive that artful language is pervasive in everyday talk from the use of evidence collected in the corpus that credit it (Swann, p.9). Meanwhile Swann questions repetitions as being creative, so also (Tannen in Swann, 2006, p. 9) that suggest that it comes from a basic human drive to imitate and repeat. Even (Carter in Swann, 2006, p. 34) admits that pattern-reinforcing choices, such as repetition, are less creative. (1593 words)

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