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Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory

Founded by Gries, Stefan Th. / Stefanowitsch, Anatol

Ed. by Wulff, Stefanie

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Formulaic language in native speakers: Triangulating psycholinguistics, corpus linguistics, and education

Nick C. Ellis / Rita Simpson-Vlach
Published Online: 2009-05-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CLLT.2009.003


Natural language makes considerable use of formulaic recurrent patterns of words. This paper triangulates the construct of ‘formula’ from corpus linguistic, psycholinguistic and educational perspectives. It describes the corpus linguistic extraction of formulaic sequences from academic speech and writing. It determines English language instructors' explicit evaluations of their pedagogical importance. It summarizes four experiments which show how corpus linguistics metrics of formulaicity affect the accuracy and fluency of processing of these formulas in native speakers. The language processing tasks were selected to sample an ecologically valid range of language processing skills: spoken and written, production and comprehension, form-focused and meaning-focused. Processing in all experiments was affected by various corpus-derived metrics: length, frequency, and mutual information (MI), but for native speakers it is predominantly the MI of the formula which determines processability. The implications of these findings for the psycholinguistic relevance of corpus-derived metrics of formulaic language are discussed.

Keywords:: Formulaic language; psycholinguistics; English language instruction; an academic formulas list; mutual information; frequency

About the article

Published Online: 2009-05-06

Published in Print: 2009-03-01

Citation Information: Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 61–78, ISSN (Online) 1613-7035, ISSN (Print) 1613-7027, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CLLT.2009.003.

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