Within the field of second language acquisition (SLA), there is agreement on the importance of fixed combinations of words – also known as formulaic sequences (FS) – for obtaining second/foreign language (L2) proficiency. FS are ubiquitous in human discourse, facilitate idiomatic, fluent and accurate speech and are integral to communicative competence (Wray, 2002). At the same time, mastery of FS has been found to be a major challenge for L2 learners, especially regarding their production (Boers & Lindstromberg, 2012). Despite the importance of FS in L2 learning, longitudinal and/or qualitative studies on L2 phrasal development are scarce, and target languages other than English are underrepresented. The aim of this project is to explore L2 learners’ productive phrasal development in German longitudinally.
In the first study of this project, L2 learners’ productive collocation development is investigated over a 3-year period, taking into account various item- and learner-related variables. In the second study, the influence of host country and social interaction on students’ development of FS (collocations and pragmatic expressions) during study abroad (SA) is explored. The third study builds on the first one and looks at L2 learners’ collocation development over a 3-year period from a students’ perspective. In the fourth and last study, the perception of L2 learners’ non-target-like formulaic expressions by L1 German business professionals was looked into in terms of appropriateness, acceptability, and writers’ communicative competence.