Occurrences of formulaic sequences in personal descriptions

Eric Gómez Burgos – Universidad de Talca, Chile

Eric Gómez Burgos, 2018: "Occurrences of formulaic sequences in personal descriptions", Onomázein 40, 103-118.
DOI: 10.7764/onomazein.40.06

Formulaic sequences are extremely necessary components of language production as they play a crucial role in building genres, not only in spoken discourse, but also in written production. Bearing in mind this consideration, the present article aims to investigate the frequency and occurrences of formulaic sequences in 27 personal descriptions written by 27 students of an English for medical purposes course from a university in the south of Chile. The procedure adopted two phases: first, the most common formulaic sequences used by the participants were identified and categorised, and, second, some examples of the inclusion of formulaic sequences in the genre of personal descriptions were made available. The findings reveal that the participants’ selection of formulaic sequences is very similar among them, and their occurrences in personal descriptions are related to the number of words of the text. Furthermore, the investigation reasserts that each genre has its own phraseology; for this reason, 15 formulaic sequences identified in the study seem to be specific features of the genre of personal descriptions.