Collocation



"The problem for the learner of English is that there are no collocation rules that can be learned. The native English speaker intuitively makes the correct collocation, based on a lifetime experience of hearing and reading the words in set combinations." [1]



The term collocation was created by J.R. Firth (considered as the “father” of collocation) in the 1950s to mean the common co-occurrence of particular words. The British linguist famously said “You shall know a word by the company it keeps … Meaning by collocation is an abstraction at the syntagmatic level and is not directly concerned with the conceptual or idea approach to the meaning of words. One of the meanings of night is its collocability with dark, and of dark, of course, collocation with night (Firth, 1957). [2]


Contents
  1. Definition
  2. Difference between a free combination and a collocation
  3. Grammatical collocations and Lexical collocations
  4. Different types of collocations
  5. Collocation Quizzes
  6. References
  7. External links




1. Definition
Collocation is concerned with the meaning relations between one word and other words occurring in the same context. Thus, certain lexical items occur together more frequently in language use. Learning collocation is important for language learners because it will help students to speak natural English like a native speaker.


2. Difference between a free combination and a collocation
Collocations are different from free combinations because the components in collocations are not interchangeable. However, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish a free combination from a collocation. For example, the phrase decide on a yacht has two meanings. If it means ‘which yacht to buy’, it is a collocation. If it means ‘make a decision on a yacht’, then it is a free combination of a verb and an adverbial phrase.


3. Grammatical collocations and Lexical collocations
Collocations are divided into grammatical collocations and lexical collocations according to syntactic relation and semantic relation. For example, if a verb, noun, or adjective is followed by a certain preposition, it is considered as a grammatical collocation. Typical collocations of this type are depend on, admiration for, afraid of. Lexical collocations refer to a group of words with a certain meaning that often occur together. That is to say, the occurrence of one word predicts another word in the context. As shown by Jackson & Amvela (2000), when the noun kettle occurs in a sentence, it is probably that the verb boil will also occur (e.g. Is the kettle boiling yet?).In Jackson and Avela’s words, the co-occurrence of kettle and boil has a degree of predictability.[3]


4. Different types of collocations
Collocations are often made up of 7 grammatical structures:

1. Verb + preposition
e.g. I’m good at drawing


2. Verb + Noun
e.g. I’d like to buy a bar of soup


3. Verb + Adverb

e.g. The snow is falling


4. Adverb + Adjective
e.g. I think we are both well aware of how we feel for each other

5. Adjective + Noun

e.g. it is a deadly blow to your opponents


6. Noun + Noun

e.g. A flash of lightning split the darkness of the night sky


7. Noun + Verb

e.g. A dog is barking outside



5. Collocation Quizzes


http://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/collocations-quiz.htm



http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/choose/colloc1.htm




6. References


[1] “Collocation.” 5 June 2011 http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/easy/colloc.htm



[2] Firth, J.R. “Collocations.” 5 June 2011 http://unt.unice.fr/uoh/learn_teach_FL/affiche_theorie.php?id_activite=45&lang=eng&id_theorie=2&id_categorie=2



[3]Jackson, H. and E. Amvela. 2000. Words, Meaning and Vocabulary: An introduction to Modern English Lexicology. London & New York: Continuum





7. External links



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collocation



http://www.better-english.com/strongcollocation/collocations.htm


http://www.consulttoday.com/collocations/