In Language Creativity: A Semiotic Perspective, Simone Casini aims to frame the concept of creativity within a linguistic dimension by developing a theoretical reflection with constant references to contact languages and to the educational plan. Semiotic creativity abandons the condition of the linguistic property inter pares and rises to the rank of theoretical and first principle by which languages define themselves, function and interact in the negotiation of meaning in relation to the social uses. Casini considers creativity as a premise for the rule changing of boundaries of meaning and creation of language and meaning. The work progresses starting from the historical-critical concept of creativity, discussing the most philosophical and linguistic theories in the North American and European context.
Simone Casini is assistant professor of Italian Linguistics at the University of Toronto Mississauga.
A Note on the Cover
Foreword by Marcel Danesi
Afterword by Frank Nuessel
About the Author
"Il libro è coraggioso: non ha paura di affrontare alcune fra le più complesse questioni che riguardano i processi di costruzione del senso. È un libro che con coraggio si pone al punto di incontro di veri e propri continenti di questioni: il rapporto fra le prospettive semiotiche europee e quelle nordamericane; il piano dei processi individuali di creatività e la dimensione collettiva, sociale; l’analisi teoretica dei processi e la dimensione applicativa, soprattutto nel campo linguistico-educativo. Non un libro di sintesi, dunque, ma una proposta interpretativa basata su una solida base teorica e di storia delle idee.
The book is courageous: it is not afraid to address some of the most complex issues surrounding the processes of building meaning. It is a book that courageously places itself at the meeting point of real continents of issues: the relationship between the European and the North American semiotic perspectives; the plan of individual processes of creativity and the collective, social dimension; and the theoretical analysis of processes and application dimension, especially in the linguistic-educational field. Not a book of synthesis, therefore, but an interpretive proposal based on a solid theoretical basis and history of ideas."
"Dr. Casini has authored a brilliant historical, theoretical, and semiotic account of linguistic creativity. His clear and precise explanation of the process of verbal innovation demystifies and unravels the enigmatic nature of this type of ingenuity. Relevant exemplars of linguistic inventiveness (dialect variation, games, metaphor) illustrate the interdisciplinary nature of this grammatical phenomenon. This comprehensive and comprehensible volume offers an insightful and critical analysis of the creative dimension of language."
"The purpose of this book is to address the specific issue of semiological codes and offer a theoretical systemization of creativity. This is a major, valuable, and timely contribution to research on the multidisciplinary notion of creativity. One of the distinguishing features of the volume is the scope of fields represented, ranging from linguistics to semiotics to cognitive science. Its array touches on so many critically-engaged issues that it is an eye-opening read. The scholarship is very sound, up-to-date, and very extensive. The writing is intelligible and sophisticated: Casini writes in an admirably clear, jargon-free, accessible style. In sum, the book is both excellent and useful; it is unique, and it provides a take on creativity that is not available elsewhere. Once it comes out, I look forward to recommending the book to my students and colleagues."
"I have long had a scientific rapport with Simone Casini who trained at the Università per Stranieri di Siena and is now Assistant Professor of Italian Linguistics at the University of Toronto Mississauga. In the monograph Language Creativity, Simone Casini is confronted with a crucial and strategic property of human language: creativity, which allows speakers to build a virtually unlimited number of statements. Developing the analysis of the construct with richness and originality of documentation and theoretical apparatus (from the ancient world to Ferdinand de Saussure, from Wittgenstein to De Mauro and Chomsky), the author identifies creativity with space of freedom, which allows the speaker to achieve a balance of constraints of the system by tempering its rigidity."
"Casini's monograph offers an engaging well-balanced discussion of the notion of linguistic creativity, with a dialogue between rule-governed constraints and creative freedom, and with a focus on 20th century linguistic theory. In its second part it applies the notion to semiotic creativity in educational linguistics, and to Italian-Engllish language contact, thus drawing from the author's experiences in the Italian language classroom and in the Greater Toronto Italian communities. A thought provoking refreshing reader."
"La lingua ha una conformazione e un’evoluzione di tipo diverso rispetto agli organismi biologici, e non è stato finora escogitato una specie di succedaneo del DNA, che consenta di verificare con esattezza il confine o il punto di innesto tra gli elementi innati della comunicazione verbale e i valori socialmente determinati delle varie articolazioni dell’uso. Le divergenze in proposito sono quindi del tutto spiegabili, e la varietà dei modelli è in rapporto con la stessa complessità delle cose. L’ampia e stimolante indagine di Simone Casini mette in evidenza che nella lingua ci sono al tempo stesso vincoli e libertà, in altri termini c’è creatività. Ne consegue un pluralismo dialettico che rende ugualmente apprezzabili, per esempio, la chiarezza dell’insegnante e l’ambiguità del poeta."
"Language has a different conformation and evolution than biological organisms, and so far no kind of DNA substitute has been devised to verify the exact boundary or grafting point between the innate elements of verbal communication and the socially determined values of the various articulations of use. The differences in this respect can therefore be fully explained, and the variety of models is related to the same complexity of things. Simone Casini's wide-ranging andò stimulating investigation highlights that in language there are both constraints and freedom, in other words there is creativity. The result is a dialectical pluralism that, for example, makes the clarity of the teacher and the ambiguity of the poet equally appreciable."
"Simone Casini reconstructs with rigorous method and a range of sources the meaning of the word creativity giving an organic and deep sense within the sciences of language. He has given an innovative and original framework, deeply anchored in theoretical linguistics and philosophy of language, with which to give new interpretation to the linguistic phenomena of contact that characterize Italian and other languages in the global linguistic space. The book makes an important contribution to international linguistics by proposing a reading of creativity as a synthesis of perspectives for years considered dichotomic."
"As Professor of History of Italian language, I appreciate Simone Casini’s book that relates linguistic creativity (and its semiotic, cognitive and pragmatic-educational implications) to diachrony and cultural synchronicity, subjecting it to rigorous historical-critical discussion. This solid and innovative study recovers fruitful insights of linguistic structuralism proven today by neurolinguistics (universalism, innate grammar and creativity governed by rules and the dynamism of the norm), applying them ‘creatively’ to linguistic contact. Particularly original is the analysis of 'Italiese,' historicized in its generational evolutions and tested as a laboratory of communicative, educational, and semiotic creativity."
"If a book were to be measured for its thoughtfulness and timeliness, this one earns a spot at the top of the list. Simone Casini tackles the concept of creativity in language head-on. Through his lucid exposition and clear argumentation, Casini provides a substantive and important addition to our knowledge of how utterly creative language can be."