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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.

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An excellent collection of essays covering a broad range of topics, based on presentations at the Wisconsin-Milwaukee Symposium on Formulaic Language in 2007.

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

A rich assembly of articles exploring the more theoretical end of formulaic language, with a strong flavor of European phraseology.

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

A useful resource for those with a particular interest in the L2 learner aspects of formulaic language.

Wray A. (2008). Formulaic language: Pushing the boundaries. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Building on Wray (2002), this is an attempt to tease out issues arising from claims and assumptions about formulaic language, and to pursue the question of how everything fits together.

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Annual Review of Applied Linguistics
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