oa Alternation - Different ways of speaking: a preliminary investigation of creativity in a South African variety of English

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



Creativity' is the ability of speakers to innovate for a wide range of reasons and purposes and is recognized as part of the outcomes of using a language. According to Aitchison (2001:259) language change is a 'natural and inevitable' phenomenon that is irreversible. This view contrasts with that of self-proclaimed 'linguistic activists', such as the New York Time's columnist William Safire (cited in Aitchison 2001 :259), or the well-known editor in the British publishing industry, James Cochrane, who recently published a book in which he denounces the 'sloppy use' of English (Cochrane 2004). They are among several people who are reluctant to accept new usages. While purists attempt to protect a language by restoring respect for basic rules, among other things, most linguists argue that a prescriptive attitude stifles creativity.

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