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Archived teaching schedules 2015–2016
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ENGS13-16 Formulaic Language 5 ECTS
Period I Period II Period III Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Advanced studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
DP in English Language, Literature and Translation
School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies

General description

Formulaic language covers a range of phenomena – e.g. proverbs, idioms, collocations, lexical bundles and speech act routines – that are thought to be retrieved from memory (by the speaker) and processed (by the hearer) as holistic units rather than being creatively assembled on the basis of the compositional rules of syntax each time they are needed. However, there is considerable disagreement among linguists regarding the exact nature and scope of formulaicity.

In this course, we will look at a range of relevant phenomena and describe their linguistic characteristics in order to arrive at a better understanding of formulaicity. For example, formulaic language is often semantically opaque (e.g. to beat about the bush), but there are good reasons to believe that semantically transparent sequences such as It was lovely to see you or even more flexible constructions involving slots for open-class items such NP be-TENSE sorry to keep-TENSE you waiting are formulaic in nature. We will be looking at different methodologies to measure formulaicity (e.g. corpus linguistics and psycholinguistics) and consider the acquisition of formulaic language in both first and second language learners.

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Sebastian Hoffmann, Teacher responsible


14-Sep-2015 – 14-Oct-2015
Mon 14-Sep-2015 at 15-18, Linna K107
Tue 15-Sep-2015 at 15-18, Linna K107
Wed 16-Sep-2015 at 15-18, Linna K107
Mon 12-Oct-2015 at 15-18, Päätalo A34
Tue 13-Oct-2015 at 15-18, Päätalo A34
Wed 14-Oct-2015 at 15-18, Päätalo A34