Video Fix: Can language be creative?

September 23, 2015 9:54 am

video evaAs noted by Chomsky, the average language user has encountered and noticed only a certain number of utterances of his language, but can, despite this limited experience, produce an unlimited set of brand new utterances “which are immediately acceptable to other members of his speech community”. This characteristic constitutes the so-called “creative aspect of language”.

We can encounter linguistic creativity in theatrical plays and poetry in the form of figurative language use, imagery, structure, rhyme and rhythm. We can also come across creativity in everyday communication and a wide range of ideas and practices, such as advertising, slogans and humour.

But what is the role of linguistic creativity? In order to figure this out, we have to focus on different elements of the phenomenon and employ different lenses every time, depending on the situation where creativity is applied. These lenses can be textual (when it comes to analysing a poem for example), contextual (when we want to see how meaning is linked to the social, cultural and historical context in which communication takes place) or critical (when we want to examine the values and assumptions that are embedded in the context).

No matter what the situation is, though, linguistic creativity can make what we say or write stand out.



Chomsky on Creativity, Fred D’Agostino

Written by Evangelia Antoniou,
Communication Trainee at TermCoord
Student at the University of Luxembourg

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