The functions of formulaic speech in the L2 class

Marie Girard


This study deals with Formulaic Speech (FS) usage in the context of the partial L2 immersion class. It tries to define and classify FS according to its functions. The fact that learners resort to FS shows that second language production is not only based on the construction of sentences from scratch but also on the integration of formulaic sequences in discourse. But what is the use of FS? What are the possible functions it performs? We attempt to show that FS makes up for a lack of structural knowledge and might therefore be used as a learning strategy in the acquisition of structure. Then we consider the psycholinguistic function of FS and try to demonstrate that it might be a pre-planning strategy and a way for the learner to economize effort on processing and thus focus on his or her learning of the language. Finally, the paper analyzes the communicative function of FS and its role in the relation between speaker and hearer, and suggests that it might play a part in the development of pragmatic competence.

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