A New York Times Magazine Article came out earlier this week discussing the study of language acquisition and instruction theories. Research has been implemented on “chunking” – children learning or memorizing language in larger lexical chunks, over a word-by-word basis. NY Times describes “chunking” as, “fixed idioms or conventional speech routines,” they go on to explain that “chunking” can also simply be the combinations of words that appear together frequently.
Current research utilizes a computer-driven analysis of usage patterns with large databases of texts called “corpora.” As the research builds bigger and bigger corpora, it becomes clearer just how “chunky” the English language is, with certain words showing undeniable attractions to others.
These properties are currently being further explored and many teachers are eager to possibly use these techniques to teach language to both native and non-native speakers. Take a look at this interesting and ever-growing area of research through Michael Lewis‘ work, and the NY Times article.