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Formulaic Language

What “kick the bucket,” “in the first place,” and “come on in” have in common is that they represent different kinds of formulaic language. Formulaic language is non-propositional speech, including colloquialisms, idioms, schemas, collocations, proverbs, frozen or automatic speech, and phrasal verbs. In corpus linguistics and second-language/learner studies, it is more often examined as lexical bundles or n-grams, contiguous sequences of n-items, which are not as tied to meanings though they may point to such meanings, and are discussed below. The most frequently cited definition of formulaic language is

a sequence, continuous or discontinuous, of words or other meaning elements, which is, or appears to be, prefabricated: that is, stored and retrieved whole from memory at the time of use, rather than being subject to generation ...

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