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Formulaic sequences: a drop in the ocean of constructions or something more significant?

Buerki, Andreas 2016. Formulaic sequences: a drop in the ocean of constructions or something more significant? European Journal of English Studies 20 (1) , pp. 15-34. 10.1080/13825577.2015.1136158

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Abstract

This article investigates how formulaic sequences fit into a constructionist approach to grammar, which is a major post-Chomskyan family of approaches to linguistic structure. I consider whether, in this framework, formulaic sequences represent a phenomenon that is sufficiently different to warrant special status or whether they might best be studied in terms of the larger set of all constructions found in language. Based on data drawn from a large corpus of Wikipedia texts, it is argued that it is extremely difficult to form a distinct class of formulaic sequences without creating highly arbitrary boundaries. On the other hand, based on existing theoretical claims that formulaic sequences are the basis of first language acquisition, a marker of proficiency in a language, critical to the success of communicative acts and key to rapid language processing, it is argued that formulaic sequences as constructions are nevertheless significant enough to be the focus of research, and a theoretical category meriting particular attention. These findings have key repercussions both for research primarily interested in formulaic language and phraseology as well as for construction grammatical research.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1382-5577
Funders: Swiss National Science Foundation
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 12 November 2015
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:36
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/81153

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