Phraseology is often thought of as an anomaly and a headache for language learners. However, researchers have tended to focus on just one end of the scale: fairly fixed, conventional multi-word units. Here their special status and any divergence from the standard form are clearly evident. What happens at the other end of the scale? How much and what kind of variability does phraseological patterning tolerate? Svetlana Vetchinnikova explores meaning-shift units (MSUs) in second language usage, acquisition and processing. Importantly, she argues for the value of looking at individual languages and tracing MSUs as they are learned from exposure, used in individual language output and processed in the mind - and advocates a shift of focus from groups to individuals. This important study develops a unified view on phraseological patterning in second language acquisition and use and the processes which lead to it.
1. Introduction; 2. From a unit of meaning to a meaning-shift unit; 3. L2 use and processing of multi-word units; 4. Triangulating usage, exposure and processing; 5. Meaning-shift units in L2 learning and use: Usage vs. exposure; 6. Meaning-shift units in L2 processing: Usage vs. word association responses; 7. Toward the bigger picture.
Svetlana Vetchinnikova is University Lecturer in the Department of Languages, University of Helsinki. Her current interests include chunking at different levels of language organisation, individual variation and modelling language as a complex system. She is co-editor of Changing English: Global and Local Perspectives (2017) and, with Anna Mauranen, of Language Change (Cambridge, forthcoming).
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