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LINGUIST List 18.3344

Mon Nov 12 2007

Diss: Applied Ling/Psycholing/Text/Corpus Ling: Lin: 'The Role of F...'

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        1.    Phoebe Lin, The Role of Formulaic Language in the Spoken Performances of Native and Nonnative Speakers of English


Message 1: The Role of Formulaic Language in the Spoken Performances of Native and Nonnative Speakers of English
Date: 11-Nov-2007
From: Phoebe Lin <aexmslnottingham.ac.uk>
Subject: The Role of Formulaic Language in the Spoken Performances of Native and Nonnative Speakers of English
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Institution: Chinese University of Hong Kong
Program: Department of English/Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Phoebe MS Lin

Dissertation Title: The Role of Formulaic Language in the Spoken Performances
of Native and Nonnative Speakers of English

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Psycholinguistics
Text/Corpus Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)


Dissertation Director(s):
Jette G. Hansen
Peter Skehan

Dissertation Abstract:

Pawley and Syder (1983) observed that native speakers have preferred
choices of phrases or word combinations when expressing themselves. This
phenomenon explains why native speakers can achieve a high level of fluency
in speech and why native speakers can be distinguished from nonnative
speakers. Over more than 30 years of research, researchers gradually found
that this phenomenon, called formulaic language, also plays extremely
important roles in the study of first and second language acquisition,
psycholinguistics, corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics and lexicography.

The empirical study reported in this thesis investigates the role of
formulaic language in the speech of native and nonnative speakers of
English in two tasks, namely, a narrative task and a problem-solving task.
The research questions include:
1. How do native speakers and non-native speakers' production of formulaic
sequences vary with task type?
2. What roles do formulaic sequences play in fluency in speech?
3. What roles do formulaic sequences play in the organization of spoken
discourse?
4. Can changes in the rate of articulation be a potential indicator of
formulaic sequences in speech?

It is found that native speakers do not always outperform nonnative
speakers in the use of formulaic sequences as researchers assumed. In fact,
native speakers and nonnative speakers do not statistically differ in their
use of formulaic sequences in the problem-solving task. This shows task
type is a factor that influence the speakers' use of formulaic sequences.
Besides, the findings point to the fact that the distinction between native
and nonnative speakers in their use of formulaic sequences is not a matter
of competence as some researchers assumed, rather, it is a matter of
performance or strategy use. The second finding is that formulaic sequences
promote efficiency in tasks in general as the time needed to finish the
tasks decreases when more sequences are used. The discourse function of
formulaic sequences, however, differs in the sense that they help speakers
construct longer discourse in the picture task but shorter discourse in the
problem-solving task.

Finally, it is found changes in the rate of articulation can be an
indicator of formulaic sequences and there is the possibility that it be
developed further into a method of identification for formulaic sequences.


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