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Formulaic Language in Academic Study Norbert Schmitt.

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1 Formulaic Language in Academic Study Norbert Schmitt

2 Single Words vs. Multi-word Units Most discussion of vocabulary (including academic vocabulary) has been conceptualized in terms of single words or word families

3 How Much Vocabulary is Needed in English? Nation (CMLR, 2006) 6, ,000 word families for spoken discourse 8, ,000 word families for written discourse

4 Frequency and Coverage Levels Approximate Approximate written spoken coverage (%) 1st 1,000 78–81 81–84 2nd 1,000 8–9 5–6 3rd 1,000 3–5 2–3 4th–5th 1, –3 6th–9th 1, –1 10th–14th 1,000 <1 0.5 Proper nouns 2–4 1–1.5 Not in the lists 1–3 1 Nation (2006)

5 capacitydiverseevidenceitem assistance cooperatemaintainpurchase abstract funding invoke revise briefenormousintegrityspherical focus investigation reverse successive hierarchy circumstance manual release hypothesis offset sum incentiverationalscope minimumpublicationentity AWL (Coxhead, TQ 2000)

6 capacitydiverseevidenceitem assistance cooperatemaintainpurchase abstract funding invoke revise briefenormousintegrityspherical focus investigation reverse successive hierarchy circumstance manual release hypothesis offset sum incentiverationalscope minimumpublicationentity AWL (Coxhead, TQ 2000)

7 Academic Vocabulary Successive comes with its own typical phraseology What words collocate with successive?

8 COCA Results each successive successive generations successive governments successive administrations successive waves successive layers successive stages

9 Typical Collocations Each successive president chose entanglements and evasion over transparency, legality, and independence. Turning schools around could help save successive generations of kids who quit and often end up jobless.

10 Phraseology in Language There is a great deal of recurrent phraseology in language (including academic language) This formulaic language is crucial for accurate, appropriate, and fluent language use

11 What is Formulaic Language? Recurrent multi-word lexical items that have a single meaning or function (Schmitt, 2010) It is a umbrella cover term for a number of formulaic categories –Idioms –Collocations –Phrasal verbs –Lexical bundles –Lexical phrases –Phrasal expressions –etc

12 What is Formulaic Language? multi-word units, multiword chunks, fixed expressions, frozen phrases, phrasal vocabulary, routine formulas, chunks, prefabricated routines … Individual phrasal items will be referred to as a formulaic sequences

13 Why is Formulaic Language Important? Formulaic language is one of the most important components of language overall The reasons for this are numerous:

14 Why is Formulaic Language Important? Formulaic language is ubiquitous in language use

15 Why is Formulaic Language Important? Formulaic language is ubiquitous in language use Meanings and functions are often realized by formulaic language

16 Why is Formulaic Language Important? Formulaic language is ubiquitous in language use Meanings and functions are often realized by formulaic language Formulaic language is necessary for appropriate functional language use

17 Why is Formulaic Language Important? Formulaic language is ubiquitous in language use Meanings and functions are often realized by formulaic language Formulaic language is necessary for appropriate functional language use Formulaic language has processing advantages

18 Why is Formulaic Language Important? Formulaic language is an important component of language acquisition

19 Why is Formulaic Language Important? Formulaic language is an important component of language acquisition Formulaic language is a feature of many languages

20 Why is Formulaic Language Important? Formulaic language is an important component of language acquisition Formulaic language is a feature of many languages The use of formulaic language helps speakers be fluent

21 Why is Formulaic Language Important? Formulaic language is an important component of language acquisition Formulaic language is a feature of many languages The use of formulaic language helps speakers be fluent Phraseology is a main feature that distinguishes different synonyms

22 Ubiquitous in Language Use 52-58% Erman and Warren (2000) 32% Foster (2001) 48-80% (M=66%)Oppenheim (2000) once every five wordsSorhus (1977) 21% 30% Biber, et al. (1999) 31% - 40%Howarth (1998) 15%Rayson (2008)

23 Ubiquitous in Language Use 52-58% Erman and Warren (2000): 32% Foster (2001) 48-80% (M=66%)Oppenheim (2000) once every five wordsSorhus (1977) 21% 30% Biber, et al. (1999) 31% - 40%Howarth (1998) 15%Rayson (2008) Figures depend on the method of measurement, and whether spoken vs. written discourse

24 Meanings and Functions The more recurrent a language need is (e.g. need to apologize, make a request, explain a particular idea), the more likely there will be a conventionalized expression (i.e. formulaic language) to express it

25 Meanings and Functions Expressing a concept: (get out of Dodge [City] = get out of town quickly, usually in uncomfortable circumstances) Stating a commonly believed truth or advice: (Too many cooks spoil the soup = it is difficult to get a number of people to work well together) Providing phatic expressions which facilitate social interaction: (Nice weather today is a non- intrusive way to open a conversation) Signposting discourse organization: (on the other hand signals an alternative viewpoint)

26 Meanings and Functions Providing technical phraseology which can transact information in a precise and efficient manner: (2-mile final is a specific location in an aircraft landing pattern) Maintaining conversations: (How are you?, See you later) Realizing the topics necessary in daily conversations: (When is X? (time), How far is X? (location)) Expressing functions: I'm (very) sorry to hear about ___ to express sympathy

27 Appropriate Language Use Formulaic language is expected by the speech community, and so word combinations which do not comply to the norm sound unnatural

28 Appropriate Language Use gap Native speaker or learner? –Betty very skillfully stopped the gap of the mailbox so that birds could not get in. –… but to bridge the gap between existing …

29 Appropriate Language Use Betty very skillfully stopped the gap of the mailbox so that birds could not get in. –Meaningful but awkward … but to bridge the gap between existing –Appropriate word (collocation) choice

30 Appropriate Language Use Schmitt (ELIA, ) Define border How is it used?

31 Appropriate Language Use BNC frequency X + on Figurative sense border8, (1%) borders2, (3%) bordering (48%)71% bordered (28%)75%

32 Appropriate Language Use His passion for self-improvement bordered on the pathological. But his approach is unconscionable, bordering on criminal. Some other words which occur to the right of bordered/ing on: a slumparrogancechaos a sulkausterityconspiracy alcoholic poisoningbad tastecontempt antagonismblackmailcruelty apathycarelessnesscynicism

33 Appropriate Language Use SOMETHING (is/are) bordered/bordering on SOMETHING UNPLEASANT

34 Processing Advantages Pawley and Syder (1983) Formulaic sequences offer processing efficiency because single memorized units, even if made up of a sequence of words, are processed more quickly and easily than the same sequences of words which are generated creatively. The mind uses an abundant resource (long term memory) to store a number of prefabricated chunks of language that can be used ready made in language production. This compensates for a limited resource (working memory), which can potentially be overloaded when generating language on-line from individual lexical items and syntactic/discourse rules.

35 Processing Advantages Figurative Personally, I think you can have the highest degree from the best university in the world, but at the end of the day its your contribution to the society that matters, and not the name of the university you went to at all. Literal However, I still had to carry most of my stuff in small boxes from my old room to the new one. I had to make at least 50 trips so at the end of the day I was absolutely exhausted. Novel I know that at the end of the war he went on to teach students at the Military Academy.

36 Processing Advantages Siyanova, Conklin, and Schmitt (SLR, 2011) First Pass Reading Time = (early) Total Reading Time = (late) Fixation Count = (late)

37 Processing Advantages Siyanova, Conklin, and Schmitt Figurative Literal Novel First Pass Reading Time (ms) Total Reading Time (ms) Fixation Count

38 Processing Advantages Siyanova, Conklin, and Schmitt Figurative Literal Novel First Pass Reading Time (ms)447 =454 =497 Total Reading Time (ms)514 =507 <628 Fixation Count2.8 =2.7 <3.2

39 Language Acquisition Peters (1983) suggests that formulaic sequences may be decomposed and the individual components extracted through a process of segmentation, to give insights into vocabulary and grammar: An hour ago, a year ago, a month ago A(n) _____ ago + hour, year, month

40 Occurs in a Range of Languages Formulaic language has been found in a range of languages: English, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Swedish, Polish, Arabic, Hebrew, Turkish, Greek, and Chinese Is it a universal trait of all languages?

41 Helps Speakers be Fluent The largest unit of novel discourse that native speakers are able to process is a single clause of 8-10 words When speaking, proficient speakers will speed up and become fluent during these clauses But they will then slow down or even pause at the end of these clauses NS seldom pause in the middle of a clause, or at least not for long

42 Helps Speakers be Fluent But proficient speakers can fluently say multi-clause utterances: - You can lead a horse to water, but you cant make him drink. Kuiper (2004) shows that speakers who operate under severe time constraints (play-by-play sports announcers, auctioneers) use a great deal of formulaic language in their speech So, formulaic language helps speakers be more fluent

43 Distinguishes Synonyms (Stubbs, 1994) How are the following (near) synonyms used? WORK JOB CAREER LABOR EMPLOYMENT

44 Distinguishes Synonyms (Stubbs, 1994) WORK: workaholic, workforce, workload, workplace aid worker, factory worker, office worker, social worker

45 Distinguishes Synonyms (Stubbs, 1994) WORK: workaholic, workforce, workload, workplace aid worker, factory worker, office worker, social worker neutral? (frequent word = many contexts)

46 Distinguishes Synonyms (Stubbs, 1994) JOB: botched, crummy, bad, hatchet, menial

47 Distinguishes Synonyms (Stubbs, 1994) JOB: botched, crummy, bard, hatchet, menial negative?

48 Distinguishes Synonyms (Stubbs, 1994) CAREER: brilliant, distinguished, glittering, acting, director, film, international, literary

49 Distinguishes Synonyms (Stubbs, 1994) CAREER: brilliant, distinguished, glittering, acting, director, film, international, literary positive?

50 Distinguishes Synonyms (Stubbs, 1994) LABOR: casual, cheap, deskilling, manual, unproductive

51 Distinguishes Synonyms (Stubbs, 1994) LABOR: casual, cheap, deskilling, manual, unproductive negative?

52 Distinguishes Synonyms (Stubbs, 1994) EMPLOYMENT: conditions, contract, discrimination, rights

53 Distinguishes Synonyms (Stubbs, 1994) EMPLOYMENT: conditions, contract, discrimination, rights legal?

54 Learner Use of Formulaic Language Learners dont use many idioms Learners do use many high-frequency collocations (nice day) Learners dont use many lower-frequency but tightly-bound collocations (preconceived notions)

55 Learner Use of Formulaic Language But learners often do not use the collocations they know appropriately Inappropriate collocations is a leading problem in learner language Learners often use words with their correct meanings, but do not understand the correct context of use (collocation, register, frequency)

56 Learner Use of Formulaic Language Learners consistently overestimate their comprehension of reading texts that contain formulaic sequences that they either fail to identify or misunderstand, even at high levels of proficiency (Martinez and Murphy, TQ 2011)

57 Learner Acquisition of Formulaic Language Boers & Lindstromberg (ARAL 2012) reviewed acquisition research: –Learning from exposure requires repetition (frequency) –Intentional learning produced better results –Raising awareness of formulaic language is not a powerful accelerator of learning –Knowing the component words makes learning a formulaic sequence easier –Providing learning strategies (dictionaries, concordance lines) produced mixed results

58 Learner Acquisition of Formulaic Language Does learner use of formulaic language (e.g. collocations) improve just from studying in an academic environment? Incidental acquisition Li and Schmitt (JSLW, 2009)

59 Learner Acquisition of Formulaic Language We followed a Chinese MA student at Nottingham over one academic year and compiled a learner corpus from all of her essays and dissertation We then analyzed all of her assignments and dissertation for formulaic language

60 Learner Acquisition of Formulaic Language Would the student produce more formulaic language over the year? Would the student produce better formulaic language over the year? Would the student become more confident in producing formulaic language over the year?

61 Amount Produced

62 Appropriateness

63 Confidence

64 Learner Acquisition of Formulaic Language Does learner use of formulaic language (e.g. collocations) improve from explicit teaching? Focused instruction Jones and Haywood (2004, In Schmitt (Ed.) Formulaic Sequences)

65 Learner Acquisition of Formulaic Language Learners had better awareness of formulaic language after 10 weeks and could identify a greater number of sequences in a text Some learners made some progress in producing more formulaic sequences in a C-test: He suspected that too much of th__ ki__ o__ chemical might encourage the immune system…) Most learners made no noticeable improvement in the number of formulaic sequences produced in their essays over 2 weeks

66 Necessity of Formulaic Language Cowie (1992:10) goes so far to say: It is impossible to perform at a level acceptable to native users, in writing or in speech, without controlling an appropriate range of multiword units.

67 Pedagogical Implications Meunier review (ARAL, 2012) If formulaic sequences are so important: They need to be included in teaching syllabuses and materials We cant assume they will just be learned from exposure They need to incorporated into language tests to a greater extent

68 Pedagogical Implications But what formulaic sequences? Vincent (JEAP, 2013) proposes a 6-stage process for identifying academic phraseology Martinez (ELTJ, 2013) suggests a selection framework based on frequency and transparency In order to incorporate formulaic sequences into their teaching and testing, most practitioners need a list of formulaic sequences to address

69 An Academic Formulas List (1-24) Simpson-Vlach & Ellis (AL, 2010) in terms of at the same time from the point of view in order to as well as part of the the fact that in other words the point of view of there is a as a result of this is a on the basis of a number of there is no point of view the number of the extent to which as a result in the case of whether or not the same time with respect to point of view of

70 An Academic Formulas List (1-24) The table showed the first 24 formulas on the core list (written and spoken), ranked by a combination of frequency and MI scores All component words of these formulas come from the 1 st 1,000 frequency band

71 An Academic Formulas List Written even though the this does not was based on the nature of the in the course of degree to which be argued that in terms of a for this reason are based on in a number of two types of the total number is more likely which can be are able to be considered as be used to b and c depend on the is that it is is affected by should also be if they are

72 An Academic Formulas List Written even though the this does not was based on the nature of the in the course of degree to which be argued that in terms of a for this reason are based on in a number of two types of the total number is more likely which can be are able to be considered as be used to b and c depend on the is that it is is affected by (AWL) should also be if they are

73 An Academic Formulas List Top 200 from written texts 1 st 1, different words 2 nd 1,000 2 different words AWL 16 different words

74 An Academic Formulas List To learn formulas from the AFL, learners must either: –Know the high frequency component words already –This makes the learning easier Or –Learn the AFL formulas as wholes even if some component words are not known –Less efficient Knowing AWL words would not help much Knowing the 1 st 1,000 words is key

75 An Academic Formulas List Many of the AFL are structural components of meaningful sentences, but may not contain clear a meaning sense in their own right: is that it is is affected by should also be if they are

76 An Academic Formulas List The AFL is based around functions: Framing attributes –the idea that –the change in Quantity specification –a series of Identification and focus –different types of –such as a

77 An Academic Formulas List Identification and focus –exactly the same –(the) difference between (the) Locatives –in the real world Vagueness markers –and so forth Hedges –to some extent

78 An Academic Formulas List Obligation and directive –I want you to Expressions of ability and possibility –allows us to –are able to Evaluation –an important role in –is consistent with Discourse markers –even though the –in conjunction with

79 Formulaic Framework (Martinez, ELTJ, 2013) Infrequent Frequent take credit take issue take time take place ,556 Transparent Opaque take credit take time take issue take place

80 Formulaic Framework (Martinez, ELTJ, 2013) Frequent take time (2) take place (1) Transparent Opaque take credit (4) take issue (3) Infrequent

81 PHRASE List (Martinez & Schmitt, AL, 2012) PHRASE List (PHRASal Expressions) Some formulaic sequences are very frequent 500 phrasal expressions within 5,000 BNC frequency level Based on same frequency as individual BNC words Phrases which are opaque and not easily guessable

82 PHRASE List LEAD TO (CAUSE) 13,555 (1 st 1,000 frequency level) Excessive smoking can lead to heart disease. HAVE GOT TO (must) 12,270 (2 nd 1,000 frequency level) You have got to try this salad. BY THE TIME (when) 3,607 (3 rd 1,000 frequency level) By the time dinner started there were none left.

83 PHRASE List Integrated Phrase Frequency Spoken Written Written Example List (per 100 million) general general academic Rank 107 HAVE TO 83,092 *** ** * I exercise because I have to. 463 GOING TO 28,259 *** ** x Im going to (FUTURE) think about it. 894 WAS TO 14,366 x *** ** The message was to be transmitted worldwide.

84 PHRASE List Integrated Phrase Frequency Spoken Written Written Example List (per 100 million) general general academic Rank 5502 MAKE UP 788 *** ** x Youd better ONES MIND make up your mind AT WORK 787 x *** *** There were strange forces at work.

85 Experimental PHRASE Test Inclusion in the Vocabulary Levels Test 1 take place 2 have got to_____ do 3 seek to_____ try 4 find out_____ must 5 make sure 6 carry out

86 Experimental PHRASE Test Inclusion in the Vocabulary Levels Test 1 take place 2 have got to__6__ do 3 seek to__3__ try 4 find out__2__ must 5 make sure 6 carry out

87 Experimental PHRASE Test 1 take place 2 have got to__6__ do 3 seek to__3__ try 4 find out__2__ must 5 make sure 6 carry out X Didnt work well – learners needed context to make sense of many phrasal expressions

88 Experimental PHRASE Test turn out: It turned out different. a. started b. seemed c. became d. did not look

89 Experimental PHRASE Test turn out: It turned out different. a. started b. seemed c. became d. did not look

90 Experimental PHRASE Test at least: At least it is warm. a. other things may be bad, but b. many days have passed and now c. I cannot believe that d. the least important thing is

91 Experimental PHRASE Test at least: At least it is warm. a. other things may be bad, but b. many days have passed and now c. I cannot believe that d. the least important thing is

92 Experimental PHRASE Test Seems to work much better Still in piloting Ron Martinez (San Francisco State University)

93 Vocabulary Website Resource Most Norbert Schmitt (& co-author) publications and other vocabulary resources can be accessed at his personal website: This PowerPoint presentation is available The PHRASE List is available Link to COCA Corpus BYU web site


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