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Academic Paper

Title: Formulaic Language, Creativity, and Language Play in a Second Language
Author: Nancy Bell
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics
Abstract: Since the late 1990s, the field of applied linguistics has seen a revival of interest in the topic of linguistic creativity and language play, with several theoretical works spawning a variety of empirical studies of (second language) L2 learners. This chapter reviews recent literature in order to examine the reciprocal relationship between formulaic language and L2 language play. Formulaic language provides a point of reference against which other uses can be recognized as creative or playful. At the same time, language play can also create new linguistic conventions. Thus, while the relationship between formulaic language and language play has not been explicitly addressed, as the examples presented here will demonstrate, formulaic language is a necessary part of much language play. This article begins by theorizing the relationship between formulaic and playful language. This relationship is then examined in terms of functions, age differences, and media differences, and the article closes with a number of suggestions for future research.


This article appears IN Annual Review of Applied Linguistics Vol. 32, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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