Language and creativity
This module looks at creativity in the English language around the world: from everyday contexts to ‘high culture’ literary language and the impact of new media. You will investigate the relationships between language and other modes such as image, movement, music and dance, and also explore developments resulting from the rise of social media, which is having a profound effect on the uses of language in society. The module will give a detailed understanding of what linguistic creativity is, how it is used, and the issues it raises, while also helping you to consider your own daily experiences of the English language.
What you will study
The module is relevant to anyone with a general interest in the English language and how it is used by speakers, writers and producers of multimodal texts in creative ways; or in specific areas of language study such as language and literature; language and media; or children’s language. It is also relevant to teachers and others with a professional interest in English. Unless you have previous experience of studying the English language, or linguistics, language and literature or some other branch of language studies, you are advised to take this module after studying the OU level 2 module English in the world (L201) or its predecessor, Worlds of English (U214).
The module is divided into three main sections:
Creativity in Language: from Everyday Style to Verbal Art explores the fundamental role played by creativity in the way we express ourselves in both everyday and literary contexts. It examines how linguistic creativity is achieved, what effects it has, and how we can go about studying it. The approaches explored in this section range from those used in stylistics and sociolinguistics to literary studies, with examples taken from everyday contexts (such as conversations in the home or at work), through popular culture such as the sitcom, to ‘high culture’ literary language. It also looks at the effects that the recent rise of social media is having on the use of language in society, and the potential this opens up for new forms of linguistic and communicative play.
Narrative, language and creativity brings together current ideas and research in narrative approaches and analysis from across a range of disciplines to address the following key questions: Why does narrative continue to play such a central role in our lives? What kinds of narrative practices are currently found in different areas of social and artistic life? How are narrative practices changing in the face of new multimedia possibilities and challenges? What analytical and theoretical frameworks are available to explore the current functions and significance of narrative in its many varied manifestations?
The politics of language and creativity in a globalised world explores the explosion in text ‘production’ activity across modes, media and technologies in contemporary society and examines how this historic shift is raising questions about what gets counted and valued as ‘creative’ linguistic and semiotic practice and why. Using examples including advertisements, political speeches, social media, poetry, pop songs and digital fiction, the section explores a number of key questions: In what ways is linguistic and semiotic ‘creativity’ a political phenomenon? How are creative acts shaped and constrained by political, social, economic and technological forces? How is linguistic and semiotic creativity currently being used as a resource for political activity, and why? How is the global status and use of English reconfiguring the nature of linguistic and semiotic practices and what gets evaluated as ‘creative’?
In exploring creativity across a range of genres and social contexts, this module provides a lively introduction to stylistic, sociolinguistic and multimodal analysis. It draws on work in literature, creative writing and performance studies as well as English language studies.
This is an OU level 3 module. OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from studies at OU levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject, preferably with the OU. You are expected to have some knowledge of language study, and the module is particularly appropriate if you have previously taken our module Worlds of English (U214), or its replacement English in the world (L201).
Some of the language used in this module may only be regarded as only suitable for adults. If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.
Module books, online study guide including embedded audio and video clips, module guide, other printed material, module website.
You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS (11 'Big Sur' or higher).
Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.
To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).
Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.
Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.
It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.