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Optimizing a Lexical Approach to Instructed Second Language Acquisition. Frank Boers. What parts of language is this about?. ‘Chunks’ (a.k.a. ‘phrases’, ‘formulaic sequences’, etc.).
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Fair trade coffee may be a familiar sight on supermarket shelves, but a new study has found the British do not practise what they preach when it comes to buying it. While most people claim to take social issues into consideration,their purchasing behaviour shows little evidence of this. Although the vast majority of consumers believe their choice could make a difference to companies' ethical policies, they are still failing to act on their beliefs.
Fair trade coffee may be a familiar sight on supermarket shelves, but a new study has found the British do not practise what they preach / when it comes to buying it. While most people claim to take social issues into consideration,their purchasing behaviour shows little evidence of this. Although the vast majority of consumers believe their choice could make a difference to companies' ethical policies, they are still failing to act on their beliefs.
Are the numbers of boys and girls in our families really down to the toss of a coin? In fact, it’s not quite so simple. You as an individual may actually load the dice towards a son or a daughter right at conception. Especially the condition of mothers could be playing a part according to some studies.Ruth Mace was in Ethiopia when that country was hit by a severe food shortage. As part of a study on nutrition she looked at the birth statistics of women caught up in the crisis: “Mothers that had a higher body-mass index were more likely to have boys than girls.” Why this happens is still open to debate. Valerie Grant says dominance in personality may also tip the balance towards male offspring: “I’ve come to notice that dominant women tend to have more boys.”
Are the numbers of boys and girls in our families really down to the toss of a coin? In fact, it’s not quite so simple. You as an individual may actually load the dice towards a son or a daughter right at conception. Especially the condition of mothers could be playing a partaccording to some studies.Ruth Mace was in Ethiopia when that country was hit by a severe food shortage. As part of a study on nutrition she looked at the birth statistics of women caught up in the crisis: “Mothers that had a higher body-mass index were more likely to have boys than girls.” Why this happens is still open to debate.Valerie Grant says dominance in personality may also tip the balance towards male offspring: “I’ve come to notice that dominant women tend to have more boys.”
collocations (e.g. commit a crime),
social-routine formulae (e.g. Have a nice day),
discourse markers (e.g. On the other hand),
compounds (e.g. peer pressure),
idioms (e.g. take a backseat),
standardised similes (e.g. clear as crystal),
proverbs (e.g. When the cat’s away …),
genre-typical clichés (e.g. Publish or perish),
exclamations (e.g. You must be kidding!)
open-slot frames (e.g. it takes [time][for x] to …)
Receptive and productive fluency
As a matter of ___
On the other __
Through thick and __
Last but not __
It was two in the morning and I was still wide __
The difference was not statistically __
Cf. genre analyses by K. Kuiper
Cf. eyetracking studies by N. Schmitt & colleagues
Cf. work by J. Bybee
Avoidance of L1 interference:
? Do an effort
? With other words
? Realise a survey
? Let’s drink a glass
? Whose feet are you playing with?
Not really ‘new’:
e.g. Firth (1957):
“You shall know a word by the company it keeps”
verb+ verb+ verb+ verb+
damage crime studytask
trouble offence researchfunction
“Why” questions should be answered by “That’s-just-the-way-it is” answers.
Post-test: both groups underline ‘chunks’ in a new text.
Results: Experimental students underlined significantly more bits of text
... But not more chunks ...
Catch 22: how can you recognise a chunk if you haven’t encountered it several times before?
Incidental uptake of vocabulary is very slow.
Any more hopeful when it comes to chunks?
Verb-noun collocations occurring more than once:
make a point (p. 10; 61; 90); make a move (p. 26; 32; 78); make sense (p. 47; 73; 107); make a decision (p. 39; 50); spend time (p. 71; 88); pay attention (p. 91; 119); tell the truth (p. 28; 119).
Verb-noun collocations occurring only once:
complete a mission (p. 3); fulfil a task (p. 3); bend the truth (p. 6); spend the night (p. 15); lose your mind (p. 18); see the point (p. 21); clear your throat (p. 22); speak your mind (p. 23); make conversation (p. 26); do your duty (p. 28); shake hands (p. 32); practise a religion (p. 41); commit suicide (p. 44); waste time (p. 48); climb stairs (p. 52); pay a price (p. 54); take notice (p. 59); having a laugh (p. 63); do the right thing (p. 63); read your mind (p. 75); make a start (p. 82); give pause (p. 85); make an impression (p. 90); do your best (p. 92); shed light (p. 94); serve a purpose (p. 94); make a statement (p. 100); make no difference (p. 101); pay tribute (p. 102); spend the evening (p. 103); watch TV (p. 105); have a drink (p. 107); crack a joke (p. 112); take a look (p. 119); take a picture (p. 119).
real words versus pseudowords
e.g. [...] push boundaries [...]
versus [...] push paniplines [...]
But: NO evidence of any attention to immediately preceding or succeeding words (i.e. potential collocates)
- experimental groups: a school year of text chunking
- control groups: same texts, no chunking
NO differential uptake from the course materials! (in fact, very limited uptake altogether)
“to show someone the ropes”
a novice sailor needs to be taught by a experienced sailor which ropes he should handle
“to cut no ice with someone”
Ice skating: if the blades of your skates are too blunt, they will not cut into the ice, and so …
“to jump the gun”
Jurisdiction / punishment
Games / sports
War / aggression
Athletics: a contender who jumps the gun sets off before the starting pistol has been fired.
experience do you
think the following
idiom comes from?
“to run the gauntlet”
food / cooking
games / sports
jurisdiction / punishment
Running the gauntlet used to be a form of punishment in the military in which the wrongdoer was forced to run between two lines of men armed with sticks, who beat him as he passed.
“to show someone the ropes”
To disclose the truth to someone
To give someone a severe penalty
To teach someone how to do a taskNext stage
“to cut no ice with someone”
To have a misunderstanding
To get on well with someone
To make no impression on someoneNext stage
“to run the gauntlet”
Run away from your hometown
Be in a position of power
Go through an unpleasant treatmentNext stage
I had to find out all by myself how to do my new work properly. You could say that nobody showed me the _____________consolidation
The scientific evidence does not seem to make any impression on them.consolidation
my husband jumped the ___________ and told his parents straightaway.consolidation
she had to put up with a lot of verbal abuse. Her fellow-students really made her run the _______________.consolidation
Purpose: dual coding(association with images)
Yes, but below-average scores in case of:
p < .01
Gap-fill scores after two-year lapse mean 85%
followed by origin MC
gap-fill scores ~ origins scores: rs .8
Troublesome standard deviations
‘Imager’ cognitive style~ Gap-fill scores ?
high imagers: mean 78%low imagers: mean 72%
p < .05
So what? Let’s fix this …
“a carrot-and-stick method”
Donkeys can be urged on by dangling a carrot before them and at the same time by hitting them with a stick.
“to be at the end of one’s tether”
A tether is a rope that is used to restrict the movement of grazing cattle. One end is fastened around the animal's neck and the other to a stake.
high imagers: mean 70%
low imagers: mean 73%
Hooray for pictures ?
Meaning MC:without pictures: mean 77%with pictures: mean 81% looking good …
Gap-fills:without pictures: mean 75%with pictures: mean 71.5% hmm…
Contemplating a picture
Contemplating precise lexical composition (“form”)
“to go for the jugular”
Does the picture distract?
in the middle instead of halfway, etc.)
brain drain; fair and square; a fat cat;
horses for courses; an eager beaver;
drunk as a skunk; when the cat’s away …
Only about 2% of the English idiom repertoire …
For example: why …
Time will tell rather than “Time will show” ?
It takes two to tango rather than “It takes two to waltz” ?
About 17% of the English idiom repertoire
19% of English idioms overall
23% of ‘frequent’ English idioms
28% of binomials (chop and change; part and parcel)
41% of similes (cool as a cucumber; fit as a fiddle)
Compounds: baby boom; baby buggy; baby blues; ballot box; bargain basement
Collocations: tell a tale; wage war; commit a crime; make a mess vs. do damage
Proverbs: curiosity killed the … ; where there’s a will …; he who pays the …; that’s the way the cookie …
Discourse markers: first and foremost; It is safe to say that
Exclamations: Good God! Trick or treat!
Miscellaneous: by common consent; a sight for sore eyes; publish or perish
Inviting strong collocates:
Look for +/s/-nouns ? Only 1 (solution).
Satisfy + /f/-nouns ? None.
Fundamentally flawed: 1,130,000 hits
Fatally flawed: 851,000 hits
Badly flawed: 143,000 hits
Basically flawed: 23,100 hits
Mortally flawed: 550 hits
Beach bums, beer bellies and the big bang
+ B_ + other
B_ 15% 85%
D_ 9% 91% p < .001
+ D + other
B_ 4% 86%
D_ 10% 90% p < .001
Peer pressure on penny-pinching party poopers
+ P_ + other
P_ 14% 86%
T_ 8% 92% p < .001
+ T_ + other
P_ 5% 95%
T_ 10% 90% p < .001
force-feeding French fries and fish fingers to fully-fledged flip-flops: far-fetched fact-finding?
+ F_ + other
F_ 11% 91%
M_ 2% 98% p < .000
Hard evidence from Harry Potter!
Salazar Slitherin; Helga Hufflepuff; Godric Griffindor; Rowena Ravenclaw;
Bathilda Bagshot; Dedalus Diggle; Dudley Dursley; Piers Polkins; Dinky Duddydums; Bertie Bott; Severus Snape; Parvati Patil; Pancy Parkinson; ...
About 1/3 of invented names alliterate
About 1/3 chapter titles alliterate
off the cuff above board stark naked
Hit and miss say a prayer false dawn
In a sample of 508 “frequent” English idioms
Word repetition3Shoulder to shoulder
True rhyme 6Fat cat
Allit + Asson9Rule the roost
Alliteration 58Too close to call
Assonance52A false dawn
= 25 %
In a set of 106 English binomial idioms
Word repetition 1 Neck and neck
True rhyme 3 Fair and square
Allit + Asson 2 Part and parcel
Alliteration 38 Spick and span
Assonance 13 Airs and graces
= 54 %
Long assumed in advertising
(Guiness is … for you; Probably the best … in the world; Now probably in the best …)
(Mickey … and Donald …, Peter …; Bend it like …; Pride and …)
But surprisingly little empirical evidence.
26 target phrases:
Ring road Key hole
Sea salt Bath soap
Green grass Grey hair
West wind Right hand
Fast food Fresh air
Alliteratives > No-pats p .008
Alliteratives > No-pats p .004
24 paper slips:
e.g. home phone; sea breeze, queen bee, right size;
school lunch, storm cloud, good taste, bad luck.
Sorting: assonance vs. unpatterned
Assonant phrases > no-pats p < .002
Assonant phrases > no-pats p < .000
But don´t learners notice phonological repetition autonomously anyhow?
No, they don´t
Well, no ...
e.g. 1/40 instances of a preposition = in an idiom.
Occurring more than once:
keep _ at bay (p. 21; 28; 31; 55); on the same wavelength (p. 19, twice); _ up to speed (p. 19; 98); take the piss (p. 19; 72; 76); caught on the wrong foot (p. 31; 97); keep you on your toes (p. 41; 78); call it a day (p. 72, twice); cut the mustard (p. 42; 108).
laid at the door of _ (p. 1); the rough and tumble of life (p. 1); He knew it in his bones (p. 4); a king’s ransom (p. 5); gone head to head (p. 15); the nuts and bolts (p. 19); thin on the ground (p. 20); stopped in her tracks (p. 21); off the hook (p. 32); make a face (p. 32); water off a duck’s back (p. 37); reaping what she’d sown (p. 37); for good measure (p. 39); hammer home a message (p. 42); gone far out on a limb (p. 42); run the gauntlet (p. 45); keeping me posted (p. 45); off the wall (p. 46); set the wheels in motion (p. 47); down the line (p. 47); screaming from the rooftops (p. 48); put my reputation on the line (p. 48); eyeball to eyeball (p. 52); the bottom line (p. 53); by the skin of his teeth (p. 62); for a song (p. 62); for peanuts (p. 62); rub shoulders with (p. 62); on track (p. 63); fit the bill (p. 67); on a platter (p. 68); run out of steam (p. 69); keeping tabs on (p. 70); keep on a tight leash (p. 70); at sea (p. 71); play the field (p. 72); a stay of execution (p. 75); up your street (p. 75); cut both ways (p. 79); hot on their heels (p. 79); raise the stakes (p. 80); make the grade (p. 85); put your foot in it (p. 88); chopping and changing (p. 91); a bone to chew on (p. 93); make headway (p. 94); rattling their sabres (p. 97); get up to speed (p. 98); at face value (p. 98); hang out to dry (p. 98); hidden agenda (p. 98); on the ground (p. 99); on the page (p. 99); cover your back (p. 99); run yourself into the ground (p. 103); fire on all cylinders (p. 105); have your wits about you (p. 105); footloose and fancy free (p. 106); carry a torch for someone (p. 106); make a dent in something (p. 107); look for a needle in a haystack (p. 108); get your hands on something (p. 108); keep _ at arm’s length (p. 110); not give a toss (p. 113); get in on the act (p. 113); shoot your mouth off (p. 113); put your oar in (p. 115); not miss a trick (p. 116); get your head around something (p. 117).
On course for something
All hands on deck
In the doldrums
On an even keel
Miss the boat
Learn the ropes
Show your true colours
A steady hand on the tiller
Be left high and dry
Walk the plank
Run a tight ship
With flying colours
When your ship comes in
Clear the decks
Etc.E.g. Abundance of idioms from seafaring in English
English > French
English > French
French > English