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Rote or Rule? Exploring the Role of Formulaic Language in Classroom ForeignLanguage Learning

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This article investigates the role in learning of rote-learned formulas orchunks. We examined data from a longitudinal study of 16 child beginner classroom learners ofFrench for occurrences of three chunks, against which we first tried out definitional criteria. Wethen tracked these forms for 2 years to chart their breakdown and explore their contribution tothe development of a creative language capacity. Our data showed that most of the learners notonly gradually “unpacked” their early chunks, but also used parts of themproductively in the generation of new utterances. These findings demonstrated that rote-learningof formulas and the construction of rules are not independent processes, but interact and activelyfeed into one another.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Southampton

Publication date: September 1, 1998

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