Focused Instruction of Formulaic Language: Use and Awareness in a Japanese University Class

Abstract

While there exists a growing body of research on the nature and functions of formulaic language, there remains a paucity of analysis of the ways language teachers may implement this knowledge in their classrooms, and the relative effectiveness of teaching techniques. Formulaic language, generally defined as multiword units of language with particular functions and meanings in discourse, and which may be processed as if single words, may be acquired through exposure to language input. However, a benefit may accrue from techniques involving repetition and memorization, focused on a performance task. The present study reports on a university EFL course in Japan in which students were taught about formulaic language and provided with formulaic sequences to repeat and memorize for a class presentation task. In the course, students participated in lectures and activities focusing on formulaic language, and were individually guided in preparing for a presentation on a relevant topic. The individual presentation preparation included provision of formulaic sequences which were useful for the expression of their ideas, and which they were required to shadow and repeat before the delivery of the presentation. The sequences were all selected with reference to the Corpus of Contemporary American English - at a frequency of at least 10/million words and with a Mutual Information score (MI) of at least 3.0 in the corpus. Results indicate that students used the sequences appropriately in their presentations, and that their awareness of the nature and functions of formulaic language was augmented by the course experience.



Author Information
David Wood, Carleton University, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: ACLL2013
Stream: Language Learning

This paper is part of the ACLL2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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