When creativity meets systemic functional linguistics

The birth of an innovative 3D model


  • Locky Law The University of Hong Kong




Semiotic Systems, Creativity, registerial cartography, register


As of today, the proportion of research in creativity which focuses on the description of language and language use has been minuscule, with Carter's (2004) creativity matrix for spoken English being arguably the most systematic attempt in over a decade. In spite of his success in identifying certain key features associated with creativity production, he too has acknowledged the presence of a rather significant gap in between those interpersonal features and context (of situation) and has thus called for a comprehensive model to fill this niche. The aim of this article is to address this issue by proposing a new descriptive model for the representation of the probabilistic nature of linguistic creativity using a systemic functional linguistic approach. This article is divided into four sections. The first section begins by describing the background and definitions of creativity. The second section discusses the main concepts and theories involved in the model construction. The third section provides a detailed, step-by-step walk-through of the model. Finally, the last section concludes with a short discussion of the advantages and limitations of this model.

Author Biography

Locky Law, The University of Hong Kong

Locky Law is a Senior Research Assistant at The Centre for Applied English Studies, the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. He holds a PhD in linguistics at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His PhD research involves linguistic creativity in television drama, corpus linguistics, systemic functional linguistics and multimodality.


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How to Cite

Law, L. (2019). When creativity meets systemic functional linguistics: The birth of an innovative 3D model. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 12(1), 25–46. https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.29480