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LINGUIST List 22.1458

Tue Mar 29 2011

Diss: Socioling: Pitzl: 'Creativity in English as a Lingua Franca: ...'

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        1.     Marie-Luise Pitzl , Creativity in English as a Lingua Franca: Idiom and metaphor

Message 1: Creativity in English as a Lingua Franca: Idiom and metaphor
Date: 25-Mar-2011
From: Marie-Luise Pitzl <marie-luise.pitzlunivie.ac.at>
Subject: Creativity in English as a Lingua Franca: Idiom and metaphor
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Institution: Universit├Ąt Wien
Program: English Studies
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Marie-Luise Pitzl

Dissertation Title: Creativity in English as a Lingua Franca: Idiom and metaphor

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)


Dissertation Director(s):
Henry Widdowson
Barbara Seidlhofer

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis investigates creativity in English as a lingua franca (ELF), i.e.
English as it is used in situations where people with different, predominantly
non-English, first language backgrounds interact. Building on the findings of
current ELF research, the study takes as a starting point the assumption that
ELF is generally successful, i.e. effective in communication, in spite of the
considerable variability in linguistic forms it exhibits. Reconciling a
descriptive lexicogrammatical as well as an interactional pragmatics
perspective, the study proposes that creativity might serve as a fundamental
concept in accounting for the variation that seems to be central to ELF.
Reviewing a number of theoretical linguistic and non-linguistic approaches, the
study defines creativity in relation to the notion of norms. It operates with a
form-focused definition of linguistic creativity which refers to the creation
of non-codified linguistic forms and expressions or the non-conventional use of
existing ones.

Using this conceptualization of creativity as a basis, the thesis investigates
formal characteristics and discourse functions of linguistic creativity at the
level of idioms in spoken ELF as represented in the Vienna-Oxford International
Corpus of English (VOICE). Central to the study is the question why creative
idioms are intelligible and hence successful and effective in ELF conversations.
It is proposed that it is the strong link between idiom and metaphor that is
paramount to the intelligibility and functionality of creative idioms in ELF.
The methodological approach adopted in order to investigate these phenomena
combines a range of theoretical frameworks (sociolinguistics, discourse
analysis, pragmatics, corpus linguistics, variation, cognitive and
psycholinguistics) which are applied to a new linguistic field, namely the
description of ELF.

A major assumption discussed from a theoretical as well as an empirical point of
view is that it is the metaphoricity of idioms which makes them amenable to
variation in ELF and which renders the resulting creative expressions
intelligible to the interlocutors and hence communicatively successful. It is
argued that formal variation through linguistic creativity triggers a process of
re-metaphorization that heightens and (re-)emphasizes the metaphoricity of
idioms which might be lost in L1 English use. The analysis demonstrates how
formal variation transforms idioms from conventional and often (seemingly)
non-compositional fixed phrases to creative figurative expressions which are
compositional, semantically transparent and can be interpreted as metaphors. An
extensive qualitative analysis shows that creative idioms and metaphorical
expressions serve a wide range of communicative functions in ELF interactions
and therefore are conducive to successful communication at a transactional and
interpersonal level.


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The LINGUIST List is under the umbrella of Eastern Michigan University and as 
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501(c) Non Profit organization. Our Federal Tax number is 38-6005986. These 
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(U.S. tax payers only). For more information visit the IRS Web-Site, or contact 
your financial advisor.

Many companies also offer a gift matching program, such that they will match 
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contacting your human resources department and sending us a form that the 
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