Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

What Do We (Think We) Know About Formulaic Language? An Evaluation of the Current State of Play

Abstract

This article briefly summarizes key developments in formulaic language research over the past 5 years, before exploring certain assumptions typically made, regarding the coherence of formulaicity as a phenomenon, the significance of frequency as a property, and the location of subtypes of formulaic language along various continua. It is argued that we do not yet have the full measure of how different features associated with formulaicity fit together. The challenge lies in reconciling the range of evidence types within an explanation that is rooted not only in usage itself, but in the underlying motivations that determine usage.

Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S. Granger , & F. Meunier (Eds.). (2008). Phraseology: An interdisciplinary perspective. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

C. Bannard , & E. Lieven (2009). Repetition and reuse in child language learning. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.), Formulaic language: Vol. 2. Acquisition, loss, psychological reality, and functional explanations (pp. 297321). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

D. Biber (2009). A corpus-driven approach to formulaic language in English. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 14, 275311.

D. Biber , & F. Barbieri (2007). Lexical bundles in university and spoken and written registers. English for Specific Purposes, 26, 263286.

F. Boers , J. Eyckmans , J. Kappel , H. Stengers , & M. Demecheleer (2006). Formulaic sequences and perceived oral proficiency: Putting a lexical approach to the test. Language Teaching Research, 10, 245261.

J. Bybee (2003). Mechanisms of change in grammaticization: The role of frequency. In B. Joseph & R. Janda (Eds.), Handbook of historical linguistics (pp. 602623). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.

J. Bybee , & R. T. Cacoullos (2009). The role of prefabs in grammaticization: How the particular and the general interact in language change. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.), Formulaic language: Vol. 1. Distribution and historical change (pp. 187217). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

B. Cappelle , Y. Shtyrov , & F. Pulvermüller (2010). Heating up or cooling up the brain? MEG evidence that phrasal verbs are lexical units. Brain and Language 115, 189201.

W. Cheng , C. Greaves , J. M. Sinclair , & M. Warren (2009). Uncovering the extent of the phraseological tendency: Towards a systematic analysis of concgrams. Applied Linguistics, 30, 236252.

R. Corrigan , E. A. Moravcsik , H. Ouali , & K. M. Wheatley (2009a). Introduction: Approaches to the study of formulae. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.), Formulaic language: Vols. 1 & 2 (pp. xixxiv). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

R. Corrigan , E. A. Moravcsik , H. Ouali , & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.). (2009b). Formulaic language: Vol. 1. Distribution and historical change. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

B. H. Davis , & M. Maclagan (2010). Pauses, fillers, placeholders, and formulaicity in Alzheimer's discourse: Gluing relationships as impairment increases. In N. Amiridze, B. H. Davis, & M. Maclagan (Eds.), Fillers, pauses, and placeholders (pp. 189216). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Y. Ding (2007). Text memorization and imitation: The practices of successful Chinese learners of English. System, 35, 271280.

P. F. Dominey , & C. Dodane (2004). Indeterminacy in language acquisition: The role of child directed speech and joint attention. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 17, 121145.

N. C. Ellis , E. Frey , & I. Jalkanen (2009). The psycholinguistic reality of collocation and semantic prosody (1): Lexical access. In U. Römer & R. Schulze (Eds.), Exploring the lexis-grammar interface (pp. 89114). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

B. Erman (2009). Formulaic language from the learner perspective: What the learner needs to know. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.), Formulaic language: Vol. 2. Acquisition, loss, psychological reality, and functional explanations (pp. 323346). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

D. Gardner , & M. Davies (2007). Pointing out frequent phrasal verbs: A corpus-based analysis. TESOL Quarterly, 41, 339359.

L. Grant , & L. Bauer (2004). Criteria for re-defining idioms: Are we barking up the wrong tree? Applied Linguistics, 25, 3861.

A. M. Graybiel (2008). Habits, rituals, and the evaluative brain. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 31, 359387.

M. C. Gruber (2009). Accepting responsibility at defendants’ sentence hearings: No formulas for success. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.), Formulaic language: Vol. 2. Acquisition, loss, psychological reality, and functional explanations (pp. 545566). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

M. Z. Huang (2009). Solving the riddle of metaphor: A salience-based model for metaphorical interpretation in a discourse context. In V. Evans & S. Pourcel (Eds.), New directions in cognitive linguistics (pp. 107126). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

E. Kerz , & F. Haas (2009). The aim is to analyze NP: The function of prefabricated chunks in academic texts. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.), Formulaic language: Vol. 1. Distribution and historical change (pp. 97115). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

C. Kurumada (2009). The acquisition and development of the topic marker wa in L1 Japanese. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.), Formulaic language: Vol. 2. Acquisition, loss, psychological reality, and functional explanations (pp. 347374). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

G. Lancioni (2009). Formulaic models and formulaicity in classical and modern standard Arabic. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.), Formulaic language: Vol. 1. Distribution and historical change (pp. 219238). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

C. Lindholm , & A. Wray (2011). Proverbs and formulaic sequences in the language of elderly people with dementia. Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, 10, 603623

S. Lindstromberg , & F. Boers (2008). The mnemonic effect of noticing alliteration in lexical chunks. Applied Linguistics, 29, 200222.

D. Liu (2010). Going beyond patterns: Involving cognitive analysis in the learning of collocations. TESOL Quarterly, 44, 430.

P. S. Merritt , E. L. DeLosh , & M. A. McDaniel (2006). Effects of word frequency on individual-item and serial order retention: Tests of the order-encoding view. Memory and Cognition, 34, 16151628.

F. Meunier , & S. Granger (2008). Phraseology in foreign language learning and teaching. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

A. M. Peters (2009). Connecting the dots to unpackage the language. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.), Formulaic language: Vol. 2. Acquisition, loss, psychological reality, and functional explanations (pp. 387404). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Y. Qi , & Y. Ding (2011). Use of formulaic sequences in monologues of Chinese EFL learners. System, 39, 164174.

S. Rott (2009). The effect of awareness-raising on the use of formulaic constructions. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.), Formulaic language: Vol. 2. Acquisition, loss, psychological reality, and functional explanations (pp. 405422). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

R. Simpson-Vlach , & N. C. Ellis (2010). An academic formulas list: New methods in phraseology research. Applied Linguistics, 31, 487512.

J. M. Sinclair (1987). Collocation: A progress report. In R. Steele & T. Threadgold (Eds.), Language topics: Essays in honour of Michael Halliday (pp. 319332). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

H. Strik , M. Hulsbosch , & C. Cucchiarini (2010). Analyzing and identifying multiword expressions in spoken language. Language Resources and Evaluation, 44, 4158.

A. Tremblay , B. Derwing , G. Libben , & C. Westbury (2011). Processing advantages of lexical bundles: Evidence from self-paced reading and sentence recall tasks. Language Learning, 61, 569613.

G. Tucker (1996). So grammarians haven't the faintest idea: Reconciling lexis-oriented and grammar-oriented approaches to language. In R. Hasan, C. Cloran, & K. Butt (Eds.), Functional descriptions: Theory in practice (pp. 145178). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

D. Van Lancker Sidtis (2009). Formulaic and novel language in a “dual process” model of language competence: Evidence from surveys, speech samples, and schemata. In R. Corrigan, E. A. Moravcsik, H. Ouali, & K. M. Wheatley (Eds.), Formulaic language: Vol. 2. Acquisition, loss, psychological reality, and functional explanations (pp. 445470). Amsterdam, the Netherlands: John Benjamins.

A. Wray (2000). Formulaic sequences in second language teaching: Principle and practice. Applied Linguistics, 21, 463489.

A. Wray (2002). Formulaic language and the lexicon. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Annual Review of Applied Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0267-1905
  • EISSN: 1471-6356
  • URL: /core/journals/annual-review-of-applied-linguistics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×