EFL Learners’ Grammatical Awareness through Accumulating Formulaic Sequences of Morphological Structure (-ing)

  •  Kazuko Kashiwagi    
  •  Yukiko Ito    


Even young EFL learners who have not yet learned L2 grammar will notice language patterns if, when retrieving exemplars (“item-based patterns”), they succeed in making form-meaning connections (FMCs). Item-based patterns, termed formulaic sequences (FS), serve as a basis for creative constructions. Although learners are implicitly sensitive to the frequency of the occurrence of constructions, item-based patterns are largely overlooked and are not retained. Because of the gap between elementary and secondary schools, students believe there is a difference between item-based patterns and the process of learning grammar. This phenomenon extends to EFL. The study investigated the extent to which Japanese students who had completed 150 hours of English lessons (age 13, N = 95) noticed linguistic patterns when using a grammatical judgment test. Targeting the present progressive form -ing as FS, the teacher used three treatments: (a) recall of chunking, (b) structured input and dictogloss, and (c) a ten-minute inductive explication of grammar in L1. The results revealed significant differences between pre- and post-tests for awkwardness of word order (31% < 59%) and omission of morphemes: -ing (61% < 74%). Overall, students who had received the instructional medium exhibited grammatical sensitivity to FS.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.