Language and Creativity has become established as a pivotal text for courses in English Language, Linguistics and Literacy.

Creativity in language has conventionally been regarded as the preserve of institutionalised discourses such as literature and advertising, and individual gifted minds. In this ground-breaking book, bestselling author Ronald Carter explores the idea that creativity, far from being simply a property of exceptional people, is an exceptional property of all people.

Drawing on a range of real examples of everyday conversations and speech, from flatmates in a student house and families on holiday to psychotherapy sessions and chat-lines, the book argues that creativity is an all-pervasive feature of everyday language. Using close analysis of naturally occurring language, taken from a unique 5 million word corpus, Language and Creativity reveals that speakers commonly make meanings in a variety of creative ways, in a wide range of social contexts and for a diverse set of reasons.

This Routledge Linguistics Classic is here reissued with a new preface from the author, covering a range of key topics from e-language and internet discourse to English language teaching and world Englishes. Language and Creativity continues to build on the previous theories of creativity, offering a radical contribution to linguistic, literary and cultural theory. A must for anyone interested in the creativity of our everyday speech.

chapter |13 pages


part |72 pages

Backgrounds and theories

chapter 1|36 pages

Approaches to creativity

chapter 2|34 pages

Lines and clines

Linguistic approaches

part |57 pages

Forms and functions

chapter 3|26 pages

Creativity and patterns of talk

chapter 4|29 pages

Figures of speech

part |73 pages

Contexts and variations

chapter 5|23 pages

Creativity, language and social context

chapter 6|48 pages

Creativity, discourse and social practice

Linguistic approaches