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Formulaic sequences in second language teaching: principle and practice

Wray, Alison ORCID: 2000. Formulaic sequences in second language teaching: principle and practice. Applied Linguistics 21 (4) , pp. 463-489. 10.1093/applin/21.4.463

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One important component of successful language learning is the mastery of idiomatic forms of expression, including idioms, collocations, and sentence frames (collectively referred to here as formulaic sequences). Three attempts to foreground formulaic sequences in teaching syllabuses are those of Willis (1990), Nattinger and DeCarrico (1992), and Lewis (1993). All three find themselves confronting the question of how the teaching of multi-word strings relates to the learner's accumulation of grammatical and lexical knowledge, and despite their different viewpoints and priorities, all conclude that larger units can, and should, be perceived by the learner and teacher in terms of their component parts. Yet research into the nature of formulaic sequences indicates that their form often precludes, and their function specifically circumvents, such internal inspection, for their value resides in the bypassing of the analytical processes which encode and decode strings. Thus, Willis, Nattinger and DeCarrico, and Lewis are all pursuing native-like linguistic usage by promoting entirely unnative-like processing behaviour. This non-alignment is only tractable if the classroom teaching of languages is fully acknowledged as artificial, even when the methods used appear 'naturalistic'.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0142-6001
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2022 09:16

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