The formulaic schema in the minds of two generations of native speakers

Diana Van Lancker Sidtis, Krista Cameron, Kelly Bridges, John J. Sidtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Schemata are expressions that are fixed except for slots available for novel words (I'm not a ____ person). Our goals were to quantify speakers' knowledge, examine semantic flexibility in open slots, and compare performance data in two generations of speakers using cloze procedures in formulaic expressions, schemata open slots, fixed portions of schemata, and novel sentences. Fewer unique words appeared for the schemata-fixed and formulaic exemplars, reflecting speakers' knowledge of these utterances; the most semantic categories appeared for schemata-open responses. Age groups did not differ. Schemata exemplify creative interplay between novel lexical retrieval and fixed formulaic expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Dual process model
  • Formulaic language
  • Linguistic schemata
  • Native speaker performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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