Formulaic Sequences Make Learning Easy

Recognized as the foundation of language fluency, formulaic sequences are a proven way to facilitate proficiency in ways other language structures do not. Made up of word groups or phrases that hold a meaning in a language or culture, formulaic sequences make communicating easy if they are used as stock phrases that everyone understands.

David Wood’s article states the following:

Research on fluency has concentrated mainly on measurable temporal variables in speech such as rate or speed of speech, pause times and frequencies, and the length of fluent runs of speech between pauses. This has provided reliable measures with which to determine fluency in first-language (L1) or second-language (L2) speech production. Research on formulaic sequences, linked with the growth of corpus analysis research and computer software, has tended to deal with the nature and functions of formulaic language. A consensus has developed that formulas are fixed strings or chunks of words that have a range of functions and uses in speech production and communication and seem to be cognitively stored and retrieved by speakers as if they were single words. In recent years, research on the role of formulaic sequences in actual communication has concentrated on L1 contexts and has been rather impressionistic.

Pauses are Shorter and Used Less Often

It is easier to recall groups of words or phrases because together they mean something. Native speakers use formulaic sequences up to 85% of the time. The speaker does not have to pause and recall word- after-word, hoping the order is accurate. This is what speakers do as beginners. Each word is followed with a pause because the speaker is trying to recall the accurate word. The result is unnatural speech pausing between words. In contrast the advanced speaker who uses formulaic sequences talks longer and pauses less. 




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