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Le langage préfabriqué en français parlé L2: Étude acquisitionnelle et comparative
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages.
2006 (French)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study investigates the use of formulaic language in spoken French produced by native and non-native speakers. It aims at describing the development of formulaic sequences in learners ranging from beginners to very advanced users. It draws on data from the InterFra corpus, which includes both formal and semi-formal learners. Four measures are used to characterize this development: extent of formulaic language used, category distribution, type / token ratio and frequency of types.

It has been shown that a user’s knowledge of formulaic sequences impacts heavily on language proficiency and idiomaticity. Because these sequences follow neither grammatical nor lexical rules, they constitute the last threshold for advanced L2 learners. In second language acquisition, the term formulaic sequence not only applies to strict idiomatic constructions, but it is also used to refer to sequences that appear to be acquired in a holistic manner during the first phases of acquisition. A categorization is therefore proposed that can account for native and non-native usage of formulaic sequences (prefabs). Five categories of prefabs are included: Lexical, Grammatical, Discourse, Situational and Idiosyncratic.

The extent of a learner’s use of formulaic language increases as the learner progresses, the largest amount found in the production of native speakers and very advanced learners. The learner’s distribution of categories moves towards native speaker distribution, albeit slowly. Situational and Idiosyncratic prefabs are found to characterize the early phases of acquisition, while Lexical prefabs are mastered later and are a major difficulty for L2 learners. Only very advanced learners who have spent considerable time in France produce the same proportion of Lexical prefabs as native speakers. Discourse prefabs constitute the most important category for all groups, including natives and non-natives. It can therefore be postulated that the main function of formulaic sequences in spoken French is that of discourse structuring and speech management. The development and use of formulaic language is explained within a framework of Frequency Effects. Coupled with other factors, frequency can account for why Lexical prefabs are hard to acquire and why formulaic sequences take a long time to master.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för franska, italienska och klassiska språk , 2006. , 197 p.
Forskningsrapporter / Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för franska och italienska: cahiers de la recherche, ISSN 1654-1294 ; 34
Keyword [en]
Formulaic Language, Formulaic Sequences, L2 acquisition, spoken French, Prefabs, InterFra corpus, Frequency Effects, Lexical prefabs, Discourse prefabs, idiomaticity, holistic learning, overuse / underuse, verb morphology
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-1347ISBN: 91-85059-26-9OAI: diva2:189924
Public defence
2006-12-14, hörsal 9, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 15:00

The thesis is published and can be purchased by Peter Lang

Available from: 2006-11-23 Created: 2006-11-23 Last updated: 2013-09-06Bibliographically approved

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