Millions of people desire to learn a foreign language or feel that they need to in order to find work or integrate into a new society; in fact, the Council of the EU lists multilingualism as one of its key competencies. However, it is often the case that even learners who have been studying a language for years still have trouble understanding and being understood by native speakers of the target language due to a lack of strong communication skills in their second language (L2).
A lack of communicative ability in a foreign language can also cause the learner to be perceived negatively by the community, which would then hinder that person’s level of integration. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the number of adults seeking to boost their employability to skyrocket; thousands of individuals are now looking to hone their language skills through freely-accessible, online means. Though it is difficult to learn communication skills in a time like this with such limited human interaction, it is not impossible by any means.
The concept of “formulaic language” in linguistics is a familiar but underused concept in L2 teaching that can increase communication skills, yet research shows a distinct lack of teaching materials that focus on this aspect of language. Formulaic language is, simply put, co-occurring strings of words used in recurring situations; idioms, collocations, multi-word verbs, and more fall into this category. The teaching of formulaic language has been proven to increase learners’ acquisition of grammar, fluency, and even cultural awareness.
Our project aims to compensate for this lack of formulaic language-based teaching materials by creating a handbook for teachers, an app for learners that uses all authentic sources from target languages, and an OER for teachers which provides practical teaching materials for formulaic language.
The objectives of the projects are as follows:
-To create a set of easily accessible teaching and learning materials that support communication skills in a foreign language
-To promote the uptake of an effective teaching methodology across Europe in a digitally innovative way
-To upskill foreign language teachers in providing formulaic language-based lessons for their students
The expected impact of the project on all participants in a general sense is increased awareness of the usefulness of teaching and learning formulaic language to improve communicative competence amongst target groups and stakeholders.
More specifically, impact on foreign language teachers is expected to be:
The foreign language learners’ expected impact can be summarised as: