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What, If Anything, Is Linguistic Creativity?

Summary

This paper investigates the nature of creativity in language and linguistics. Following Sampson (2016), it distinguishes between F-creativity (which roughly equals linguistic productivity) and E-creativity (which leads to new and unexpected innovations). These two notions of creativity are discussed on the basis of examples from three different domains: snow cloning, mismatch/coercion, and aberration. It is shown that pure E-creativity may only be found in the case of aberration. Both snow cloning and mismatch/coercion are examples for F-creativity, but to varying degrees. As a consequence, it is suggested that in practice, F- and E-creativity actually form a cline, rather than a dichotomy.

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