“We Limit Ten Under Twenty Centu Charge Okay?”: Routinization of an Idiosyncratic Multi-word Expression

  • Sangki KimEmail author
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 38)


This chapter investigates the role of idiosyncratic multi-word expressions (MWEs) in adult second-language (L2) learning in the wild. MWEs are typically argued to be the source of rule derivation in L2 acquisition ((Bardovi-Harlig K, Stringer D, Second Lang Res 33(3):61–90, 2016; Wray A, Formulaic language and the lexicon. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2002),), but to date, there have been few studies on how idiosyncratic MWEs are routinized from a usage-based perspective embedded in a material and sequential context; and such studies mostly account for routinization as the result of frequency effects. Accordingly, the aim of the present research is to examine how routinization processes are affected by the participants’ in situ sense-making practices and by the material world. Data for this study were drawn from 79 h of video recordings of service encounters that were collected at a convenience store in Honolulu over a 30-month period. The study focuses on one adult Korean shopkeeper and the simultaneous use of one idiosyncratic L2 English MWE and a printed notice of the store’s policy in service encounters. Multimodal conversation analysis revealed how customers’ knowledge of the store’s policy, and the participants’ orientations vis-a-vis the notice, contributed to customers’ successful recognition of the use of MWE with the printed notice as an action. The findings show the process of routinization as comprised of embodied, sequential, and experiential phenomena that were co-constructed in a particular material context.


Second Language Acquisition (SLA) Learning in the wild Usage-based Conversation analysis 


Funding Acknowledgment

This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2018S1A5B5A01033037)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Multilingual and Multicultural Research Institute, Konkuk UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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