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The Fossilization-Formula Interface

Hall, Timothy

The construct of fossilization has enjoyed considerable scrutiny over nearly four decades of second language acquisition (SLA) research. In contrast, the phenomena of formulaic expressions (FEs), which are multi-word language chunks processed as a whole, have historically attracted only marginal interest in the field of SLA especially given the long-standing influence of the generative-nativist paradigm and its focus on discrete morphosyntactic constituents. Recently, FEs have been reevaluated with regard to interlanguage use and potential for contributing to interlanguage development (N. Ellis, 2002; Van Lancker Sidtis, 2009; Wray, 2000). This resurgence in interest auspiciously coincides with Han’s (2009) publication of Interlanguage and fossilization: Towards an analytic model with potentially fruitful repercussions. It is suggested here that cultivating an SLA perspective on FEs in tandem with Han’s analytic model on fossilization may prove useful in two ways: (1) FEs may provide a useful testing ground for the scope and predictions about fossilizable structures made by the analytic model, and (2) the model might provide a clearer understanding of how various types of FEs are used by L2 learners and develop in the interlanguage.

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Working Papers in Applied Linguistics & TESOL

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