Teaching Formulaic Language An International Conference

Teaching Formulaic Language An International Conference

Saturday, April 19, 2014


Teaching Formulaic Language

An International Conference

Co-Chaired by

Dr. Ninah Beliavsky  and  Dr. Clyde Coreil

                           St. John’s University              New Jersey City University                   

                                  Saturday, April 19, 2014

At the Manhattan Campus of St. John’s University

101 Murray Street

New York, NY USA 10007


Because of the generosity of St. John’s University, there is absolutely no charge for any part of this Conference.



 FOCUS:  Many scholars have explored the theoretical implications of formulaic language. Coreil, with the assistance of  Beliavsky, stresses the crucial importance of  teaching these “chunks”  or “lexical phrases” at the down-to-earth, classroom level. In his textbook Term Papers and Academic Writing, Coreil claims that the seemingly inevitable, unidiomatic and often confusing mistakes in the speech and writing of second-language users is largely the result of neglecting these fixed phrases, which he calls he calls “Preforms.”  Example: “I paid John a visit.” It has been estimated that these preformed structures make up some 80% of any language, yet they are still treated as minor exceptions to grammar in textbooks and in the classroom.

            “We must become aware of this and include preforms in all language classes, in elementary as well as in undergraduate and graduate school,” he said. “This calls for extensive attention in lessons and textbooks. It is a radical idea, but one that is past due.”

Coreil and Beliavsky focus on these often quirky structures, enumerate some of them, suggest ways of finding them in the textbooks of non-language courses, and integrate them into daily classroom activities. “The students eat them up as they realize that at last they have found another effective key to language learning.” Any presentations related to this general topic will be welcome. Proposals should be sent by March 15 to Beliavsky. Publishers of ESL, regular English, and materials relevant to any other language are asked to take note.

CONFERENCE STRUCTURE: The Conference begins with 8 a.m. coffee and closes at 7:30 p.m. after one hour of free conversation.  There will be some 15+ sessions, each 25 minutes long. Presenters are asked to prepare proper articles (500-3,000 words) for later publication in regular book form. The deadline for these formal papers is June 1, 2014. The anthology will be available by September 1, 2014, and will be announced on Amazon.com and other booksellers. Guidelines for format are available.


                                     Language Conference

                                     c/o Dr. Ninah Beliavsky

                                     St. John’s University

                                     St. John Hall 434F

                                     8000 Utopia Parkway

                                     Queens, New York 11439 USA    



                                     Dr. Clyde Coreil