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Messy creativity

Jones, R. ORCID: (2018) Messy creativity. Language Sciences, 65. pp. 82-86. ISSN 0388-0001

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.langsci.2017.06.003


The main problem we encounter when we try to analyse linguistic creativity is the fact that both language and creativity are ultimately ‘messy’, and most of the tools we linguists have at our disposal are designed to detect orderly patterns rather than to confront messiness. As a result of this, many previous studies of linguistic creativity have focused more on the surface intricacies of creative language rather than the messy underbelly of contradictions, con- tingency, and indeterminacy that these papers attempt to confront. When I speak of the ‘messiness’ of linguistic creativity, it is not my intention to rehearse romantic notions of the creative artist as someone who is able to ‘create order out of chaos’ (which is, after all, more about ‘neatness’ than it is about ‘messiness’), nor to explore more everyday observations about ‘creative people’ leading ‘messy lives’ (Roiphe, 2012) or having ‘messy desks’ (Vohs, 2013). Rather, I would like to highlight the ‘noisy’, ‘dislocated’, even ‘unintelligible’ quality of some linguistic creativity, and the way it sometimes brings chaos out of order rather than the other way around.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:81522


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