Teaching Formulaic Language: An International Conference

Teaching Formulaic Language: An International Conference

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.   Dr. Clyde Coreil, with the assistance of Dr. Ninah 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 “Preforms.” It has been estimated that these structures make up some 80% of any language, yet they are still treated as minor exceptions to grammar. 

“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, as well as, other topics that are applicable to L2 pedagogy.

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. 

PARTICIPANTS:  Our audience will be international students, teachers, college professors, administrators, and curriculum writers. The Manhattan Campus of St. John’s University is close to museums, art galleries, and theatres in New York City.  Please forward this information to colleagues who might be interested.

Notify Dr. Beliavsky at the address below whether you wish to attend as a participant or as a presenter. Conference presentations are expected by the end of February, 2014. Because of the generosity of St. John's University, all fees have been waived.  Proposals of approximately 150-200 words should be emailed to 

Dr. Ninah Beliavsky at 


Lexicon Conference

c/o Dr. Ninah Beliavsky

St. John's University

St. John Hall 434F

8000 Utopia Parkway

Queens, New York 11439 USA                                                                                   beliavsn@stjohns.edu