Lexical Phrases

According to the Idiom Principle (Sinclair, 1991) language users have thousands of ready-made, or pre-fabricated phrases from which they choose from, and which they access as one ‘chunk’ of language.  So, for instance, when I greet you with, “How are you?”  I do not think of each separate word and then combine it with the other, in other words I don’t think:  How + are + you; instead, I think of the whole phrase “How are you” and that is what I say.  The ability to quickly access and produce language chunks accounts for what we perceive as FLUENCY, how a language user combines multiple phrases and clauses without pausing.  So, if you want to improve your fluency in reading, writing, and speaking, one way to  do that is to focus on learning lexical phrases.

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