chapter  12
26 Pages

1Chapter 2 Formulaic Expressions in Mind and Brain: Empirical Studies and a Dual-Process Model of Language Competence

After a long period of neglect and misunderstanding, formulaic language has nally come into its own (Coulmas, 1994; Cowie, 1992; Kuiper, 2004; Pawley, 2001, 2007; Wray, 2002, 2008a). Neglect arose from the myopic perspective that the speech formulas, idioms, and other conventional expressions known to a language community take the form of a mundane look-up list of little interest to studies of grammar. As for misunderstanding, attempts to pin formulaic language down using generative linguistic approaches resembled, in the opinion of many today, trying to force a square peg into a round hole. These approaches not only failed to yield valid or useful descriptions; they also distorted the picture of a very large, very vibrant sector of language competence, which is worthy of examination on its own terms. Observations of formulaic language in diverse discourse contexts have greatly increased our perspective in the past decade, and theories have begun to mature. Much of this growth is attributable to the burgeoning interest in pragmatics-language use in everyday settings, and to the embracing of spoken text staunchly undertaken by sociolinguists (e.g., Schegloff, 1988; Tannen, 1989).