NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ818259
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 77
ISSN: ISSN-0039-8322
Formulaic Language in Native and Second Language Speakers: Psycholinguistics, Corpus Linguistics, and TESOL
Ellis, Nick C.; Simpson-Vlach, Rita; Maynard, Carson
TESOL Quarterly: A Journal for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and of Standard English as a Second Dialect, v42 n3 p375-396 Sep 2008
Natural language makes considerable use of recurrent formulaic patterns of words. This article triangulates the construct of "formula" from corpus linguistic, psycholinguistic, and educational perspectives. It describes the corpus linguistic extraction of pedagogically useful formulaic sequences for academic speech and writing. It determines English as a second language (ESL) and English for academic purposes (EAP) instructors' evaluations of their pedagogical importance. It summarizes three experiments which show that different aspects of formulaicity affect the accuracy and fluency of processing of these formulas in native speakers and in advanced L2 learners of English. The language processing tasks were selected to sample an ecologically valid range of language processing skills: spoken and written, production and comprehension. Processing in all experiments was affected by various corpus-derived metrics: length, frequency, and mutual information (MI), but to different degrees in the different populations. For native speakers, it is predominantly the MI of the formula which determines processability; for nonnative learners of the language, it is predominantly the frequency of the formula. The implications of these findings are discussed for (a) the psycholinguistic validity of corpus-derived formulas, (b) a model of their acquisition, (c) ESL and EAP instruction and the prioritization of which formulas to teach. (Contains 4 tables.)
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. 700 South Washington Street Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: 888-547-3369; Tel: 703-836-0774; Fax: 703-836-7864; Fax: 703-836-6447; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A