Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Doctor of Philosophy


Hispanic Studies


Joyce Bruhn de Garavito PhD


The aim of this dissertation is to explore theoretically and empirically the nature and the learning of two kind of formulaic sequences (FSs) in Spanish second language acquisition: discourse connectors and idiomatic expressions. Two experiments were designed to analyze the nature of these FSs and the effectiveness of three explicit teaching methodologies for its instruction: practical exercises, comprehension reading, and graphic organizers. The comparison frame of these methodologies is based on the connections that each of these methodologies can make between new and previous knowledge. The first experiment consists of a pre-test post-test task to evaluate the learning and retention of these FSs in each of these groups. The results reveal that there are no significant differences among the experimental groups in relation to learning and retention of these FSs. Another important find is that learners of Spanish as a second language learn and are able to remember these sequences for long periods as shown by a delayed post-test. The second experiment is composed of a task that measures the reaction time for comparing the identity of two word sequences. The goal of this task is to examine ease of processing FSs. This experiment tested the three groups mentioned and a control group composed of native speakers. The results of this experiment reveal that learners and native speakers process FSs in a similar way.