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Everyday Creativity in Language: Textuality, Contextuality, and Critique

  • Date Submitted: 10/03/2015 06:09 AM
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does not see the communicative strategies adopted by individuals asunconstrained, but there is an emphasis, nevertheless, on language users’creativity that is consistent with the more specific focus in Carter, Cook,Crystal, and Tannen on the routine use of literary, or literary-like practices.While Carter, Cook, Crystal, and Tannen have a significant textual focus intheir work, identifying formal characteristics associated with creativelanguage, they also see creativity as rooted in, and deriving meaning from,particular contexts. Of particular interest here are the rather different ways‘context’ has been conceived or, more accurately, the different aspects ofcontext made available by particular approaches to language study. Carter’sand Tannen’s focus is on the empirical study of language use—in this casemainly audio recordings of spoken interaction. Tannen’s longest recording(at 2½ hours) is of a Thanksgiving dinner conversation between friends,at which she was a participant; other recordings were made by Tannen’sstudents—again mainly informal interactions between family or friends.Tannen also includes stories she elicited, mainly from women in the USAand Greece. She therefore knows something of the setting in whichinteractions took place, characteristics of different speakers, or groups ofspeakers, and relations between speakers, although she will have a greaterdepth of understanding of some interactions than others. Across these mainlyinformal, friendly interactions, Tannen argues that strategies such asrepetition and constructed dialogue function as ‘involvement strategies’, inthat they both reflect and serve to create interactional and emotionalinvolvement amongst participants.Like Tannen, Carter (2004) identifies creative language use in his data ashaving to do with building solidarity and friendly relations, ‘an affectiveconvergence or commonality of viewpoint’ (2004: 8), although he also notesthat, in other contexts, it may be associated with disagreement or...


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