Chapter 1: 1.1 I.2 I.3 I.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.10 There is nothing as practical as a good theory. . . . . . . . 10 Morgan Lewis .... 10 ....... 11 ....I2 .......14 . . . . . . . . 15 .....17 ...18 .....20 .......27 .....21

... . 8

Introduction Learnersdon'tleamwhatteachersteach Knowingawordiscomplicated... Theintermediateplateau The grammar-vocabularydichotomyis invalid AdvancedEnglish Leave'used'languagealone. Someclassroomactivities Actionresearch Cdnclusion

Chapter 2: 2.I 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 2.10 2.lI

Collocation- encouraging learner independence. . . . . 28 GeorgeWoolard ....28 .....28 ...30 ........31 . . . .32 . . . . . . . . 33 ........36 ........39 .....43 .....44 ."....46 ...47

Introduction Collocation Raisingawarenessofcollocation... Highlightingandteachingcollocation Choosing key words The independentlearnerandleamer strategies R e s o u r c ed i:c t i o n a r i e s s Resources:corporaandconcordancers Lexicalnotebooks Wordgrammar... Summary

Chapter 3:

Revising priorities: from grammatical failure to collocationalsuccess Jimmie Hill

3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4, 3.5 3.6

Languageandlexis Languageandlearning Whatiscollocation? Collocationalcompetence... Collocations,idiomsandphrasalverbs. Collocationsandsrammar...

.....47 ........48 ....48 ...49 .......50 ........52


3.1 3.8 3.9 3.10 3.11 3.12

Whyiscollocationimportant? Collocationintexts Teachingcollocation Choosingwhich collocationsto teach Pedagogicalimplications Summary-lessgrammar,more.exis l

........53 ....56 . . .59 . . .63 ......65 ........67

Chapter 4:

Integrating collocation into a reading & writing courseT0 Jane Conzett ....70 . . .7I .....72 .......73 . . . . . . .j4 .......-15 .....83 .......85 .....86

4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.1 4.8 4.9

Background The needto build vocabulary Explicitvocabularystudy. Themissinglink:collocation.. The needfor guidancefrom the teacher M a k e s t u d e n t s a w a r e o f c o l l o c a.t.i.o n Reviewandtesting Concordancesforteachersandstudents Conclusion

Chapter 5:

Classroom strategies,activities and exercises. . . . . . . . 88 Jimmie Hill, Morgan Lewis and Michael Lewis .....88 ......90 ....98 ......99 ..... 106 ....116 .....116 .....118

5.1 5.2 5.3 5.5 5.6 5.7

Introducingcollocationtoleamers Generalstrategies Activities-exploitingatext. Activities-usingacollocationdictionary Exercises Yourownexercises Summary ......


Chapter6: Calloway'sCode. A short story by O. Henry

Chapter 7: Language in the lexical approach Michael Lewis . . . . .126 ......126 ....126 . . .129 . . 130 ....I32 ....136 . . 138

7.1 7.2 1.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7

Descriptions English of Intuitionandevidence... Terminology From idioms to idiomaticity . Collocation Colligation Other multi-word expressions


7.g 7.9 7.10 1.tI 7.12 1.13 7.14

words T h e c e n t r a l r o l e o f ' o f.' Grammar Lexis. Collocationandtesting for Necessity change Summary Learning in the lexical approach Michael Lewis

. .142 .....I45 .....147 .......I49 .'..."150 . . . 151 ..'..153 . . . . . . i55 ...155 ..156 .....158 ......161 .-----163 ....'.168 ' . . .I7I ... ' '.173 . .I14 . . .177 . . . . . 181 .'...182 .'.'.184

Chapter 8: g.1

Introduction 8.2 Twokindsofknowledge.... 8.3 Acquisitionandnoticing 8.4 Noticing 8.5 Theimporlanceofexamples... 8.6 Acquisitionisnon-linear 8.7 Which is fundamental lexis or structure? 8.8 Thelexicalchallengetomethodology'. '1eve1'? What do we meanby 8.9 paradigms 8.10 Teaching 8.11 The Lexical Approach and the Natural Approach 8.12 Towardsaleamingtheory 8.13 Summary Chapter 9: 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7

Materials and resources for teaching collocation. . . . . 186 Michael Lewis ......186 Choosingtexts. ..188 Genre .......i89 Subject-specificlanguage.... .....191 Languagecorpora .....198 Concordances... .'.2O0 Referencematerials. .. -. '203 Summary

. .205 Chapter L0: Collocation and testing Peter Hargreaves ...205 10.1 Introduction . . . .206 I0.2 How do we define different levels? .......208 Testingvocabularyknowledge 10.3 . . . . .215 10.4 Grammatical patterns and collocations in testing - '217 corporaand dictionaries.. . 10.5 Sources native-speaker . . . ZI8 10.6 Sources the learnercorpus(CLC) - - - - -220 to 10.7 Approaches testingcollocation .-.'.22I 10.8 Summary.

6 ILl Leaming new words Why word lists are dangerous T h e i m p o r t a n co f c o n t e x t.233 .3 11. ...244 Bibliography .242 ..230 . .. e Semanticprosody Colligation Concordancing..... .Contents Chapter LL: A world beyond collocation: new perspectiveson Yocabularyteaching .224 Michael Hoey 11.227 . 224 . Summary ..1 llz 11. ..238 . .5 ll........4 11. .. ..232 ......

The centrality of lexis Increasingly.' The single most important task facing language learners is acquiring a sufficiently large 'vocabulary' consists of vocabulary.however. Three themes Three themesre-occurregularly in this book: . Although grammar remains an important part of language acquisition. If native speakersstore large amounts of language in chunks.We now recognisethat much of our prefabricated chunks of different kinds. but the greatly expanded mental lexicon available to advanced learners. .then. conveyed. It is clear that the learners'taskin acquiringa sufficiently large mental lexicon is considerably greaterthan we previously thought. The prefabricatedchunks stored in our mental lexicons ready for use are often larger than previously recognised. is enormous. A modified role for grammar The centrality of lexis means that the teaching of traditional grammar sffucturesshould play a less important role than in the past.meansthat any approachbasedon the central role of lexis is in many ways more grammatical than any traditional grammar syllabus. Recognising that every word has its own grammar. languageteachershave turned to the question of how language is stored in the brain. even for an intermediate leamer.There is a seriouschallengefor teachers our new insights . The single most imporlant kind of chunk is collocation.Failure by some teachersto recognisethis simple fact can condemn their learnersto a lifetime on the intermediateplateau. Really 'knowing a word'involves knowing its grammar. We now recognise that the principal difference between intermediate and advanced leamers is not complex grammar. . the lexical memory load. Self-evidently. without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed.the patternsin which it is regularly used. The mental lexicon is larger than we previously thought. teachingcollocation should be a top priority in every languagecourse. The contributors all argue that expanding learners'phrasal lexicons and knowledge of word grammar are the two most important elements of any if languagecourse. what strategiesshould language teachers adopt if they are to help learnersbuild mental lexicons which are similarly phrasal? From a teaching point of view. argumentsabout exactly what types of multiword item make up the mental lexicon are unfruitful.Introduction Introduction 'Without grammar little can be As David Wilkins observedmany years ago.

The first half of this book is even more practical. The contributors to this book have one principal objective . and with that. of The basic idea is extremely simple .or thoseon in-servicecourses may prefer to read thesetwo chapters first. Developing the Lexical Approach The Lexical Approach (1993) was a combination of applied linguistics and languageteachingmethodology. this book reversesthat order.only teachers who have a clear understandingof different kinds of collocation will be able to help learners the bestpossibleway. Mike Mccarthy once eloquently described the 'vocabulary'part of language learningasmastering'the chaosof the lexicon'. bfi neither the most frequent nor the strongestare the most useful for learners. The chapters arisenot from what teacherscould do in their classrooms. more importantly. is quite different from strong collocation (wage war).some words co-occur in interesting ways. to give those leamers a far wider rangeof life-choices. Teacherswith a lot of experienceof lexically-based teaching. Introducing modest changes. as its title suggests.but from what they are already doing. others are more radical.Frequentcollocation(nice day). importance and nature of the mental lexicon are not simply to overwhelm students.Implementingthe Lexical Approach (199j) was. part 2 of this book is designed help in to teachersdevelop this clearer understanding. The authors in Part 1 describe how what they do in class has changed as a result of their developing awarenessof the lexical nature of language. should turn particularly to chapters 7 and develop learners'mental lexicons. a climate of action research. Michael Lewis. From practice to theory Books of this kind tend to go from theory to practice. surely the best way forward. involving a reversal of traditional priorities. Some of the suggestions are modest. and want to take their understandingfurlher. Teachers who havetried someof the suggestions in Part l. methodology.Introduction into the size. Hove. before returning to the more detailed practical suggestionsof part 1.But a greatdeallies behindthat formulation. in is Increasing understanding Severalcontributorsstress their own increasing understanding collocation. January 2000 .rather than applied linguistics. Pafi 2 describes in more detail the present state of our understanding of language and acquisition.It is a worthwhile objective. Everything in this book is designedto help bring order to that chaosfor both teachersand. more practical. their learners.

I increasingly found. however.In fact. and to believe both in the importance of a good lesson plan and the close relationship between what he taught and what his students learned. Experience led him to question these ideas and. A better understanding of language means he gives much more attention to collocation in all his classesl a better understanding of language acquisition means consciously bringing more language into every class. Should I spend so much time trying to achieveaccurateglammar from my students? .some more explicitly than others.I beganasking myself questions . as a result of more theoretical study of the nature of both language and learning' to change his classroom priorities.1 Introduction Seeing the title of this chapter.such as: . Shouldmy lessonplan rule the proceedings? .I beganto question some of the received wisdom of my initial training. The Present-Practise-Produce paradigm I startedwith seemedsuch a neat. Why is it that what my students leam doesn'tmore closely resemblewhat I teach? .you might have assumedthat the chapter was written by an applied linguist who will lemove you from the classroominto the far off land of academia. tidy and sensibleway to go about teaching. What is the most efficient way of improving students'performance. I seemedto have less control over what studentswere learning than my initial training had led me to expect. What can you really do for those 'intermediate plateau' studentswho need a breakthrough and a feeling of progression? . He believes many teachers with a few years experience behind them will recognise the story he tells' 1.given they don't have a lot of time to leam the language? . Perhapslike you. I am a regular classroom teacher with about ten years' experienceof teachingmostly multi-lingual classesin the UK. while accepting that the teacher cannot be sure exactly what learners will do with the language which is presented to them.that leaming did not follow the same tidy model. after afew yearsin the classroom. What can you do for advancedstudentsafter they have met the third 'advanced'English anyway? And what is conditional? .10 There is nothing as practical as a good theorl Chapter I There is nothing as practical as a good theory Morgan Lewis Morgan Lewis describes how his initial teacher training led him to value grammar and explaining.

Teachingis. or about the leamers? I very soon came to two broad conclusions. .Thereis nothing as practical as a good theory 11 I beganan extendedperiod of extra study free from the constraintsof day-today lesson planning and thinking about my particular students. the grammar/vocabulary '3ichotomywas spurious. Firstly. Surprisingly. and the central role of grammar. at Tlsr Whatpercentage thetimein yourtraining of wasspent lookingat teaching and what percentage was devoted to learning? After a lesson now. It was concerned exclusively with how the teacher should teach. 1. explore the theory . later or only partially.. and although the result may be a s] simply is not true that our srudents necessarilylearn what we teach them. Let me explain in more detail how I rame to these conclusions and show how they relate to the importance of teachingcollocationin the classroom. to Erpecting mastery in the immediate shorl term is an unrealistic expectation.what the processin which I was engagedand for which I was trained was really all about.This allowed me to stop being preoccupiedwith my teaching for a while and as a result. audiences and rnr self that teaching does not causeleaming. there was no guarantee thai leamers learn what teachersteach. they mav acquire it immediately. probably neededto be re-evaluated. at least as defined . ithin my training.'. Secondly. and decide what the real implicationsfor the classroom could be. \faking slight methodological changes the light of theseconclusions in would not have satisfied me.2 Learners don't learn what teachersteach {lthough it is hard for many teachersto accept.' This has had an important implication for the way I teach: I no longer expect srudents masteran item or items of languagebefore exposing them to more. The fact is.Leaming is complex and non-linear. I neededto get below the surface. I found myself drawn more and more to considering the nature of language itself and the nature of languagelearning . do you tend to think mostly about what you did. my initial training had not included study of this at all. they may or may not acquire what you teachthem. organised. learners and leaming were hardly discussed al-.We cannotcontrol what students ieam. If they do. As Diana Larsen-Freeman writes in a disconcertingfootnote to an article in the journal -\pplied Linguistics: 'I am constantly reminding students. on the whole. hich lies behind classroom procedures.but it is a mistake to think that leaming is the same.its acquisition is far from systematic. in what order they will learn and how fast they will learn.linear and systematic.'*.

smoke' scenario to which I can add a handful of studenterror or finding a collocation in a text capturedby Peter wilberg's other useful collocateslThis mindset is perfectly andquoted by Michael Lewis at discussion of responsibility in One to One' thebeginningofTheLexicatApproach:. But an languageontheedgeofthestudent'slexiconhasbeenmissed. cyclical and evolves over . I am less concemed about achieving to opportunities like the more concerned about spotting and responding .12 There is nothing as practical as a good theory Tlsr more or lessmasterone new item or areabefore Shouldlearners new points to being exposed more.These the languageaims in my plan and days.and move on.Theteacher'smainresponsibilityis response-abilitY. whereas fact that teaching tends to be linear and time' This is becausenew input learning is holistic. find this Whathasthistodowithteachingcollocation?Imagineastudentproduces the student with the t'"19*i He's a strong smoker'You could simply supply ideal opportunity to activate collocate _ heavy .whether prompted by a heavy/occasional/chain/nin. though acquisitionencouraged(bu"tnot." Tlsr what your students How much control do you think you haveover learn? rigidly? Do you still try to follow your lessonplan fairly respondspontaneously How willing areyou to forget your plan and inPut? with unprePared L. or are you happy introducing more confusing? evenif learnersmay.Itrequiresvery chain and non as more little extra time or explaining to add: occasional' know whether students will collocates of smoker' Given that you cannot as well give them three more' remember and use heavy smoker. or two new collocation to your teaching by consciously in this way increasesthe words and re-activating other half-known words you cannotbe at all sure what the chanceof acquisition titi"g place.. you might or all of them' Adding They might remember none' one' two of them introducing one.3 Knowing a word is comPlicated Relatedtothepointthatlearnersdon'tnecessarilylearnwhatweteachisthe step-by-step in nature.caused')bythisparticularbitofteaching willbe. oneofthequestionslposedformyselfafterteachingforanumberofyears wastheextenttowhichmylessonplanshoulddominateproceedings. ln the shortterm.

it involves the learner re-organisinghis or her previous interlanguage. and internal injwries not internal wounds. The difference between the two does not lie in dictionary definitions but rather that we say. Tensesare not understoodin isolation from each other and it follows that learners' understanding of a particular tensedevelopsas they encounterdifferent usesofthat tenseand see it used or not used in preference to.and my initial training . it is the collocational frelds of the two words which reveal the difference of meaning.ves applies to items of vocabulary. a discovery the teachermay wish the learner had never made when the leamer asks: What's the dffirence befween'wound'and 'injury' 2 One's instinct .leads you to answer such a question by trying to define the differencebetweenpairs of this kind.There is nothing as practical as a good theoryt 13 means individual learners constantly need to make adjustmentsto what they have already internalised.for example. more .For example.learners do not really understandthe presentperfect until they understandthe present simple and the past simple too. it follows that giving studentscollocations of words newly or previously met will widen their understanding of what those words mean and. if learners are slowly but continually evolving their understanding of the target language. and in (implied) contrast with. whether grammar or lexis. and the relationshipsthat the meanings of all thesedifferent verb forms have with each other. Learning is not simply additive.the definitions or the lists of collocations? From the classroom point of view.Take the word injury. This word can be understoodby a student from its dictionary definition and all will be fine until the student comes across the word wownd.stab woundnot stab injury. Sfte) then has to reassesswhat injury means in the light of the new discovery. and becoming more aware of 'negative' choices .the difference betweenthe ways the words are used. The same principle of meeting new uses.) Which do you think would help your learners more . Tlsr Look at these pairs of words: work / job house/ bwilding wnderstand/ realise Can you define the difference between each pair? Can you list a few collocates of each word in each pair? (You may want to look them up in a collocation dictionary or use a computer concordance program. other tenses. or rather more precisely. but this only leadsto problems and what are at best half-truths.choosing one item implies rejecting several similar alternati. In other words.

rather than explaining what they mean.l4 There is nothing as practical as a good theorl imporlantly. it accelerates it. For the reasonsabove. Actively introducing collocations recycles half-known words and. . rare words. how they are used. I suggestthat ar least some of that time is better spentshowing students what words do .how they are actually used and how they collocate . it may be weeks. Explaining and exploring is surely better than either alone. while this doesnot directly causeleaming.monthsor yearsbeforestudents meet thosecollocationsand therefore the process of evolving and deepening understandingis delayed. Some teachersmight say at this point that there is not enoughtime to explore the collocations of words in this way . particularly explaining things. A great deal of time is spent in many classroomsexplaining what things mean. A shift in approach of this kind will almost certainly need to come initially from the teacher as (s)he trains studentsto re-direct their priorities in ways which are most likely to produce both perceived and genuine progress. rather than trying to improve their grammar or giving them a lot more new words. Most intermediate studentswould improve dramatically if they spentless time trying to perfect their grammar and leam new. The answer lies in teachers continually bringing useful collocations to students' attention and helping them to remember them. but they lack the ability to use those words in a range of collocations which pack more meaning into what they say or write.there are too many other important things to do. Taking a few minutes to supply these collocationsin a lesson shortcutsthe processof building up meaning and therefore acquiring.4 The intermediate plateau Referring to my earlier question: what can you reaily do for those 'intermediate plateau' studentswho need a breakthrough? big part of the A answerlies in the strategy just discussed. They may know quite a lot of individual words which they struggle to use. Tlsr Are you happy with the idea of explaining less and giving and discussingmore examples instead? 1. rarely used words. reasonso many students not The are making any perceivedprogressis simply becausethey have not been trained to notice which words go with which. along with their grammatical knowledge. If you do not actively introduce additional collocations. and insteadsimply leamed to use the words they alreadyknow in the huge number of collocations of which thesewords are parts. which can so easily mean obscure.

These chunks of lexis.5 The gramrnar-vocabulary dichotomy is invalid So much of language teaching over the years has been based on the dichotomy of grammar and vocabulary: master the grammar sysfem. police action after an more than just name things. But if I say to yotr'. it immediately suggeststwo people in a car as they approach a corner where lots of accidents have happened.For example. Tasx What event. In the classroom.and then struggled to use grammar to talk about those things. it is not simply that an adjective has been added to the word corner. The item dangerowscorner exists as a prefabricatedchunk with its own sanctionedmeaning. storedin their mental lexiconsjust waiting to be recalledfor use.There is nothing as practical as a good theory 15 1. even what it is. Notice.novels or what? To me. a greatdeal of meaningmay be packedinto them. situation or topic does each of these collocations suggest: routine check-up widely available boost employment disperse the crowd catch wp with the news Are they typical of spoken extensivevocabulary. This is ct dangerowscot'rler. they also have a pragmatic element.Many collocations haveimmediatepragmatic force or are situationally evocative. Therefore. This raisesthe statusof collocationto much more than just 'words which go together'.predominantly nouns . Taking it apart would do damageto what it does. No wonder students make so many grammarmistakes!They areusing grammarto do what it was nevermeantto do.items such as thesemust be . it is hard to think in which situation someonemight say: This is a corner. Tampering with items of this kind in any way meansthey completely lose their communicative power. so one of these items can evokea complex situationvery precisely. they suggest:talking about a new product.two (or more) word collocationswhich expresssomething specific in precisely the form in which they typically occur. what collocation has put together. and friends who haven't spokenfor a 'do'things. a visit to the doctor or dentist. They enable you to talk about things. a government aim. Grammar enablesus to construct language when we are unable to find what we want ready-made in our mental lexicons. But so much of the language of the effective language user is already in prefabricated chunks. Iearn lots of words and then you will be able to talk about whateveryou want.The collocation dangerowscotrler is immediately evocative of a situation or a speechevent. newspapers. This view of languagehas meant that studentshave learnedto name a lot of things . Although such items may be only two or threewords. let no teacher pull apart! Languageis full of such examples. which include collocations.

There are two important points here.Secondly. it is safe to translate the item into the leamers' mother tongue. perhaps. knowing the lexical item. meetthe demand. The student who doesn't know the expressionadequate supplies to meet the demand is forced to construct somethingllke: We clon't have things enoughso that evety person who will have one can have one.they have no model to guide them.the fewer collocations studentsare able to use. been successfully communicated this casebut most teachers in would probably feel obliged to stepin andhelp. bearing in mind that the structure of the expression may be very different in one languagefrom the equivalent expressionin the other. as part of their mental lexicon is able to recall them as complete phrases. has to use not grammar to express the idea in a way which they have not heard in that context . the more they have to use longer expressionswith much more grammaticalisationto communicatesomething which a native speakerwould express with a precise lexical phrase and correspondingly little grammar. that if native speakersusually express an idea lexically with a collocation. This meansthe more collocationslearners have at their disposal. Here are more examplesof natural collocationsand students'attemptsto constructthe sameideas: Collocation set yowrselfa realistic objective Students' attempt You must know what you want to do but it must not be too much for it to be possible for you to do. Once this has been done. this can lead to more grammar explanationsand practice when what is really neededis work to expandthe learners'mentallexicons. An example may make this clearer. Notice too. They are in unchartedterritory.the non-nativespeaker. If the teacheris not careful. Firstly. if you do not teach collocations. Not word-for-word but whole phrase to whole phrase.Anyone who hasthe collocations adeqwate supplies.t6 There is nothing as practical as a good theory brought to students' attention and the bigger context they suggest must be shown. make problems which you think have no answers a very important moment when things changed completely a new book which is very similar to the old one but improved and up-to-date cause insurmountabledfficwlties major tuming point revisededition . you are ignoring alarge set of items which expressoften complex ideas very simply and yet precisely. This in turn means more brainspace is available to generateand processcontent.the less they need to grammaticalise. which further increasesthe chanceof grammatical error. The messagehas.

this has been the standarddiet of many advancedmaterials. '-.modern cities in the developed world.-i - C) a1!3 L/l\ r \ . in the late tutentiethcentwry). and that the best response many to of theseerrors at intermediateand advancedlevels is to do more lexical work in place of grammatical correction.There is nothing as practical as a good theory t7 It is a major changeof mindset for teachersto realise that many grammatical effors are causedby lexical deficiencies.As the first two adverbial examples show. be necessaryto introduce this idea to learnersand persuadethem of the value of putting more emphasis collocationand other lexical work.trnfact. later that year. I simply keep my eyes open when using a text for collocations which I can bring to their attention and which we can then explore together.but different kinds of multi-word phrases. They may indeed understand all the words but fail to notice the combinations thosewords are in.Fj {(! ts" ?q- r-] I s f: r\ *J r . encouraging learners to produce such convoluted gemsas: wereI richer I would definitelybuy one or Had I not arrived in time. among the most important phrases are those which create cohesion across written text. The imporlant thing to note is that all these multi-word phrases collocationsof differentkinds. are I no longer woffy about how to challenge my advancedcrasses with obscure grammaticalconstructionsor unusual words. so an extremelyuseful collocation slips by unnoticed and is therefore unavailablefor storageand re-use by the leamers. Asking students: Are thereany wordsyou don't understand? therefore. It may. An important point to make is that very often the words in the collocations are not new or difficult at all. a major turning point does not include any individually difficult words for an advancedstudent but this very fact meansthat both teacherand studentcan too easily assume is not it worth their attention. it is often true to say that neither learnersnor the teachereven recogniseit as a new item. on 1. unfortunately. the continuing decline of educational standarcls) and adverbial phrases (in marked controst. The language which helps leamers to communicate more complicated ideas is not convoluted grammar structures like these. of course.More complicated or this-will-challenge-them grammatical structures do not help them to do this. \ ' ! . For example. not a helpful question.particularly denselypackednoun phrases(firm but relaxedparental discipline. My questioningof students now soesmore like this: s I '-a* " -i .6 Advanced English I refer back to anotherof my earlier questions:what can you do for advanced studentsafter the third conditional? And what is 'advanced'English anyway? Advanced studentsbecome fiustrated when they are unable to talk or write about ideas which they can comfortably talk or write about in their mother tongue. is.the item. the kitchen wowld have caught fire. referring back to my earlier point.

a new senseof satisfaction. Edl 1. Although we call this or that it has beenin any way damaged language'used'. of .[Deborah Petty makesthe samepoint abouther leamers.18 T There is nothing as practical as a good theory SS T Is there anything in the first paragraphyou think you should write in your notebooks?(silence while students scanthe paragraPh)Nothing? No. develops. they should not be taking responsibility for choosing which language items are more linguistically useful.Perhapsbecauseof the preoccupation over the years. While I agree that learners should take responsibility for their own learning.exploration approach to language.7 Leave 'used'languagealone 'IJsed'. Becausethey are being equipped to say or write more complicated ideas. thus becoming more autonomous in their approach. and the determination to find generative systems. that is not to suggest with grammar soiled in the process.language what David Brazllhas evocativelycalled languagewhich is has already been used naturally in speechor writing.n irito individual words.and start asking me about items in text. Perhapsmy studentshave never noticed it' (generalshakingof heads) Do you use this expression? Perhapsyou have never noticed it either. write it in your notebooks. Better than me asking Are there any words you don't know?. Being more proactive in pointing out useful languageand getting leamers to record it is an essentialrole of the teacher.and thereforemotivation.has often been thought to need a good clean up 'good'input. Interestingly. (more silenceand looking) What about the expressionwith risk? In all my time as a teacherI've never heard a student say or write run the risk of. Collocationhas been ignored or at least under. Are you sure?I don't believeyou.And the questions they ask are better. after a period of teacher-dominated instruction (I prefer to call it learner training) of the kind exemplified above.particularly speech. Once cleanedup. I have found that higher level studentssensevery quickly that they are gaining useful ground when collocations are drawn to their attention in this way. it has usually beenbroken before it can form dou. OK.This goes against thinking which encourages a student-centred. better than them asking only What does this What does begin askingIs this a commonexpression? word mean? Students a represent real Thesequestions mean?Is this a collocatiorz? this expression which improvement as they mean learners are now asking about language they hadn't even noticed before.. used language. learnersbegin to notice more of this kind of languagefor themselves.aluedbecause this obsession with breakingdown usedlanguage.Seep 95. then.

the learners will have to manipulate the items before they can actually use them. Wecan't nile owt thepossibility of +. . I searched high and low for it. or using the languagein an unnatural way. and gives more opportunity for grammatical error. fMichael Hoey cliscusses point at somelength. Ed] this Below are some examplesof languagewhich my learnersrecorded.Avoid grammatical cleaning up. they recordedin a 'cleanedup' version. and rememberattempting to generalisemay result in you losing. It goeswithout saying that manipulation requiresmore processingtime. There needs to be a conviction that we should leave as much languageas possible in the form in which we frnd it. Avoid breaking it up. I decided to tum a blind eye. The left hand column is what the learners It's timeyou stoodon your own twofeet. only the last three are recordedin the most useful way. so these are potentially re-usable if remembered.. when in fact it deservesa centralrole.which is what actually occurred in the texts and dialogues from which the examples were taken: Take the hint Follow in someone's footsteps Turn a blind eye To rule out the possibility of Stand on yow own two feet On the other hand It's not worth it.They can also be translatedmore safely. I searchedhigh and low for it. OK. more likely to be remembered.the right hand column is what I wish they had recorded.There is nothing as practical as a good theory t9 Tlsr How do you encourage learners to record language in their notebooks? Do you ask them to record examples exactly as they find them? 'clean Do you the examplesup' so that what learnersrecord is similar to a dictionary entry? Do you encourage them to write (or prevent them from writing) translations? In order for collocationto assume rightful place in the classroom. not adding. therefore. at best.p 230. Noting multi-word vocabulary in exactly the form it is found in text.Others.. I can take a hint.they are more situationally evocative and they are. keep something of the context and keep the chunks which are recorded as large as possible. On the other hand It's not worth it. relevant information about how the languageis actually used. recording it.They recorded some of them in the form in which they found them. is not its it enough to simply have an understandingof what it is and a sensethat it can help learners increase their communicative power. Of theseeight items. despite my efforts to guide the learners. on the periphery of language teaching. and trying to remember it in that form for re-use later has been. I also suggestthat because they havemore context.which meansthat if they are to be used again. He's following in hisfather's footsteps.

So. Don't correct . The important point is that it is most commonly used in relatively fixed expressionswith collocations . (T indicates mistake by facial expression) S I have to make an exam. we got wet. (Writes 'exam'on the board) T What verb do we usually use with 'exam'? S2 Take. So. a leamer who makes a collocation mistake when trying to talk about somethingprovides the ideal opportunity to expand and organisethe leamer's lexicon in a very efficient way. Can I give yow a hand? Such an argumentis surely wholly illogical. we got thrown owt.they're getting married. I've got a bad cold and so on.collect Knowing a noun allows you to name a concept. give some extra collocations as well . or taking thern apart in order to establishthe meaning of get is ridiculous. but this is a long way from being able to talk about the concept.20 There is nothing as practical as a good theora The argument has been advanced that leamers can generalise from the traditional to take one's time.the meaning of get is impossible to pin down until it is used and has co-text. Related to this idea of respectingused languageis the fact that there are a lot of words in the lexicon that have very little precise meaning until they are actually used. Used examples provide a perfectly adequate basis for other generalisations and havethe addedadvantages being both more memorable of and more immediately usable.For example. that's ight. T Yes. us considersomepracticalways this can be done. The transcript below showshow this works.8 Some classroomactivities 1. or to give somebodya hand but may not be able to generalisefrom the actually used examples:Takeyowr time. having laid a theoretical basisfor collocation having a central role to play in the classroom. as well as individual words. the cleanedup infinitive versions are themselvesneither more nor less than generalisations the used of examples. I have to make an exam in the summer. . as the leamers will only have to put them together again in order to use the original expressions. similar to the strong smokerexamplediscussed earlier. Ignoring these expressionsin the forms in which they occur. the teaching of collocations is inevitable if you wish to remain true to the subject matter you are teaching. let 1. Once you have realised that the mental lexicon contains many multi-word chunks.three or four for the price of one. (Writes 'take'on board) What other verbs do we use with 'exam'? S2 Pass.Don't just correct the mistake.

studentscan not only name the concept exam. And from there you could add: I wish I could give up smoking. (Writes 're-take'on the board) If you passan exam with no problems. (Waitsfor response) What's the verb for that? No? OK. You can alsojust fall. as you elicit other vices from your students. All this from responding to a . . . re-take.There is nothing as practical as a good theory 2l T S T 52 T Yes. I passed comfortably. Suddenly you find yourself with two minutes practice of I wish I could . but also of other common collocations and expressionslikely to be said or written around the same topic.whal can you say?I p a s s e d.And the opposite? Fail. If you have a problem with yourself it is good to talk abowtit in an openway to a nearfriend. . they have the collocations they need to talk about exams with confidence. Yes. or we often say 'comfortably'. Tlsr You may like to think how you would respondif a learnersaid one of thesein your class: I am toofat so I have to makea strongdiet. I use formats similar to this to organise responses: the take re-take pass fail scrapethrough an exam With this language.You can re-take an exam. (Waitsfor response) No? I just passed. (Writes 'pass'and 'fail'on the board) And if you fail an exam sometimes you can do it again. Everybodymustagreewith the law if we want a good society. (Writes on the board) For advancedleamers you may also give them scrape through. Easily. What aboutif you get 5l%oand the passmark is 50Vo? What can you say? I . Yes. . Which nounsare you going to explore?What questions will you ask to elicit or teachextra collocations? You can extend this activity further by thinking not only of collocates of the main word in question. In the heavy smoker example it is only a very short step to elicit or give the item give up smoking. .

I know you want to comebut. . do some overtime. action. improving students'performance is an imporlant part of the job.What does lessonbut it's sometimes mean? T Point . yes. In other words. grownd'(If you look in a collocation dictionarY. Donot explain .explore When students ask What's the dffirence between. you're not old enough.Here are sometypical ways we use it. Make learners be more precise It is obviously demotivating if every time studentscommunicate effectively. . Can yow do me a favour? and so on. The most important part of this is knowing a large number of its collocations. If you notice the roundabout lexis. point out the options: bitterly/deeply disappointed. So. . The same procedure is particularly useful with those nouns which have very little meaning unless used in collocations.'. at the right time and in the right way. and it's very common. the teachernitpicks and asks for perfection. give three or four contextualised examples of each word . 3. However. (Writes on the board): Why do you want me to do that? I can't seethepoint. do your best.position.For example. and what students need. well. you will which are the symptom of the lack of the necessary expressions students be more precise or frequently recognise opportunities for helping more concrse. if a studentproduces:I was vetl' teacher's disappointed.You will see that thesenouns have very 'knowing' a word like large collocational fields. That's a good point. you may want to write excellentpromotion prospectsin the margin. it's not just mistakes that are opportunities for teaching but also the kind of circumlocutions we discussed earlier.You say it in every S Excuse me but you said 'point' different. provide the appropriate collocational language. I hadn't thoughtof that' I always make a point of saying thank you to the bus driver . rather than spending too much time explaining the difference. way. with make and do you might give: make a mistake.such as effect. we use it in different ways. fot two words of similar meaning such as wownd/injwrydiscussedearlier.) Consider this classroom scenano: T . .22 There is nothing os practical as a gond theory collocation effol and thinking aloud and so stimulating the classto ask: What and smoking? elsedo we say when talking about smokers 2. Marco.that is. . make an enquiry. make the most of the opportunity. . thepoint is. Ot if a studentwrites: Thereare good possibilities for improvingyowrjob.point. that's a good Point. 'point' again.

If you hear me use one.When you look at them later. and are worth noticing and recording together. I often do this while studentsare engagedin a more global reading task. If in doubt. They then have to go back and search the text for the missing parts of the collocations. complicated and ultimately unhelpful definition. to Oncethat hasbeendonelet's say the verb was rulss. students begin to ask me about collocations in texts .and they also ask . point them out One of the reasonsstudents have not learnedcollocationsis simply because teachershave not pointed them out in the texts they are using.grab. surely meeting four typical uses is time better spent than trying to get to grips with what would have to be a vague. Simple questionssuch as What's the verb before 'opportunie' in the ftrst paragraph?draw students'attention collocations.There is nothing as practical as a good theory 23 It's difficult to say exactly what point meansbut you could learn these expressionsand there are lots more so let's seeif we can collect more. but rather in the way it channelsattention and brings into awareness what otherwise would have beenmissed. Peter Skehan(A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning) makes a similarpoint whenhe writes: In this view.If you meet one outsidethe class. I elicit or give more very quickly. but the fact they occur together. This happens sometimesbecausethe teacher's approachto dealing with the vocabulary in the text is to ask the class:Are thereany words you don't know? Collocations are missed with this approach because the words of the collocations may not be new. stop me and we'll write it with the others. board or overheadprojector to list parts of the useful collocations in the text. I have found that after a short period of time. makethe most ol usingthe collectionandrecording technique discussed above. the role of instruction is not necessarilytherefore in the clarity or in the explanation it provides. Do not assume students are noticing collocations and recordingthem for themselves.must be pointed out by the teacherif students are not to 'look straight through' language which will expand their mental lexicons. Check with Paola or anotherItalian speakerto see if you agree. They won't unlessyou train them to. you can preparea simple worksheetor use the Insteadof asking questions.write it down and tell us at the next class.For any collocationswhich are worth adding to. 4. Although possiblymore time-consuming than an explanationof point.quickly add someothers:take.whether they are worth recording . try to think what you would use in Italian to express same expressions the ideas.

state. single-sex. . private. Teachers a compositionon a prescribed what to write. Make the most of what students already know 'simple' words but are not awareof what Some studentsalreadyknow a lot of those words can do for them becausethey haven't noticed their common collocations. It is particularly important to introduce the nouns which will be central to the content of the essay. usually nouns. [Jane Conzett also points out in her paper that students do begin to collect once they havebeen introducedto the idea. or ask them to refer to the Dictionaryt of beforerewriting their work Selected Collocationsto maketheir own selection with the improvements. mixed.I write in the margin other optionssuchas highb. and brainstorm adjectives and verbs which studentsthink go with those nouns.Many teachersbrainstormwords connectedwith the topic in class before setting the composition for hornework. thesecollocations are already half-known by students. very often spenton completelynew input.this provides students with language items with more communicative power than individual words can offer. When the words are on the to board. Also. Time spenton halfknown languageis more likely to encourageinput to becomeintake than time that ". leave. .24 There is nothing as practical as ct good theory for extras becausethat is what they have learned to expect from me.teacher etc.where possible.For example. go to. Again.I give the students invaluablefor selectingcollocates. therefore. as we saw earlier.I regularly take such words.if a studentwrites very intelligent.the next stepis to add. I often find either collocation mistakes or caseswhere studentshave used simple or vaglre words when they could have usedmore specific or interestingones. 5" Essay preparation . key nouns centralto the essaytopic.useful collocates eachword. When the written work comes in. For example. they can do this at home. A dictionary such as The LTP Dictionara of Selected eight With a classset.qualiJication. They might choose for school: drop ottt of. education.use collocation Studentssometimescomplain that they lack ideas when sitting down to write complain that they do not want topic. to spark the imagination for Collocationsis writing. andbig mistake.If studentshave their own dictionary.but they havenot yet internalisedthem. skip.collocationsare much more situationallyevocative and correspondingly far more likely.they sensethey have met them before . Ed]. Very often. collocationsfor themselves. I then ask them to look up thesewords in the dictionary and note down collocations for each of the words that catch their eye or which they think they might use. 6. intelligent and disastrowsmistake. Draw their attention particularly to the importance of verb + noun collocations. 'education'topic. There is a simple to spendhalf the classtime telling students answer. Skehansuggests .with an I might give them: school.As we saw with the exam example above.

a dictionary of be collocations is a very useful resourcefor this kind of systematicexpansionof students'mental lexicons. you can ask follow-up questions such as: Can yow rememberthe last awkward/farcical/desperate situation yow were in? Do you always analyse sitwationsor do you just accept them? Becauseso many collocations are situationally evocative. I take the word situation and ask students to give me first adjectivesand then verbs which they think collocate.s.somethingis triggered becausecollocations evoke bigger speech events than individual words usually do. accept.From the point of view of acquisition.s.Recently. that I do not see it as very important that students actually use the collocation there and then. critical. TLsr What percentageof the 'new vocabulary' you present in a lesson do you expect your learnersto acquire from that lesson? Do you think your expectation is realistic? I do not expect studentsto remember or acquire all or even the majority of language exposethem to. or-questions also create an opportunity for the collocations to be used immediately. one teacherremarked:It would be a miracle if thet remembered . But for the reasons I discussed earlier in this paper. then supply extras.analyse. would ratherspendtime adding I more useful collocationsto the noun than spendtoo much time in laborious practice of fewer At the end of the lesson with the board full of collocations.There is nothing as practical as a good theory 25 the pedagogicchallengeis not to focus on the brand new. complicated.I was observed teachingin this way by someteachers on a refresher course. I believeexposingstudents more increases chances some acquisition to the of taking place. desperate. dr. Note that it is better to ask questions with or rather than simple yes/Noquestionsbecausethey elicit more languagein response. or to extend their knowledge of some of the words they already halfknow? Is your answer different for learners at different levels? For example. in command of.studentsoften find they have somethingto say in responseto these questions. even for advancedclasses. The number they give me is usually very small. Typical questionsare:Do you sometimes breakpromisesor do you alwayskeepthem? Do yowalways comeby bus or do you sometimes comeby car? Have you got job or a cushyjob? I must emphasise. If you want to.farcical. a challenging however. make the best of the eIc. but insteadto make accessible relativelv new". I perhaps: awkwctrd. the Tlsr Do you think it is better to teach learners a lot of riew words. Again.

During classtime.As much as possible. .The teacherin question apparently believed that step-bystep teaching produces step-by-stepleaming.and this being the case. .as a window of . .or ceftainly an increased input load . One important point: when deciding which part of the collocation to delete. even mastery of what was presented. it would be betterto deleteopportuniQ. using the collocations as prompts.for the collocation a window of opportwnlf. careful and systematicrecording of collocations which ensures accurate noticing of useful languageis essential. .not trying to make the task artificially difficult.We simply had different mindsets. I replied. For example. leave the word or words which most strongly suggestwhat the missing part is. Other ways of recycling include: domino-typegames. .. therefore. .'find your partner'activitieswhere twoword collocations are split between members of the class who then have to . This activity has the added usefulness of encouragingand including those studentswho may have trouble answering comprehensionquestionsabout the text for linguistic reasonsbut who are able to participate by rememberingparls of it. Your choice of deletion. This implies a greatermemory load. is a principled one with the aim of helping leamers to remember. .We discussedthe difference in our views at some length but I suspecthe remained unconvinced. Record and recycle It is becoming clear that the lexicon is much bigger than anyone previously thought. is more helpful than . however falteringly.match the cardsend to end by matchingthe collocations. in I use a simple and time-efficientapproach recyclecollocations.Students not have enoughtime to find that out do for themselves. an increasedlearning load .Students then searchtheir notebooksto fill in the missing part of the collocation. I encourage students write to down collocations in their main note-taking books and ask them to transfer them later into the collocation sectionof their lexical notebooksusing formats such as the one shown earlier. I sometimes ask students to reconsffuct the main content of the text. or parts of the text.I encourage students to recordcollocations topic groups.26 There is nothing as practical as a good theory 50% of what you teach is our job to provide the most effective learning based on our professionalunderstandingof both languageand leaming. Both researchand reflection on classroomexperienceshow that this simply is not the case. If the collocations came from the same text. It would be a miracle if they remembered 10Vaof what I presented. 7. to Before the lesson. opportuniQ.I make a list of all the collocationsI want to recyclebut deletepart of eachcollocationbeforephotocopyingthe list for each student. A slight variation is to dictate part of the collocation and students have to remember or find the missing part in their notebooks before I dictate the whole item.

If.collocation is just another way of are sceptical. however.There isn't enough time to explain everytthing. studentstake it in tums to turn over two cards at a time hoping to find the collocations.10 Conclusion For many teachers. with some variation.A thoughtful evolution is more likely to be beneficial than a recklessor impatient revolution. and recalled from. but peripheral. or fail to grasp. unpredictable and holistic nature of learning. the way it is stored in. grammatically flawed ways? Do you think first of building their lexicons or correcting their grammar? . if we take a deeper look at the non-linear.the old argumentswill crowd it out'.a simple. step-by-stepform of action research. the nature of natural language.Teacherswho do not stop to consider. Discussion Questions In what ways can you help learners on the intermediate plateau to gain a feeling of progress? What do you do when your learners express themselves in roundabout. the theoretical basis behind the teaching of collocation will only play at introducing it into the classroom. There won't be enowgh time to practise. 1. 1.useful. There will be no deep commitment to giving it a prominent role . the mental lexicon collocation will become so central to everyday teaching that we will wonder whatevertook up so much of our time before. Your teaching doesnot need to be turned upside down to make room for collocation. or a simple memory game with cardsplaced face down on the table and. why not allow yourself a trial period over the next few weeks to regularly incorporatesome of the ideas into your lessons?Then take a moment to reflect on the effectivenessof the ideas and activities or even ask the class whether they have found the input helpful . Theywon't remember that. A helpful principle to work with for recycling is little and often. in groups. exercise two-word an on collocations appears and it is seen as a welcome change to the regular vocabulary building that goes on.There is nothing as practical as a good theory 27 find their 'partner'. andperhaps onceeveryotherunit ofthe coursebook. They still can't do thepresent all perfect! However. that is how I saw it up until about three yearsago . Indeed.9 Action research All of theseideascan be incorporated painlesslyinto most teachers'current practice to a greateror lesserdegree.the way it is organised.

and the non-literal meaning categoriesof idiom and phrasal verb. of language which they meet outside the classroom.28 Collocation . dictionary' corpus or computer concordance in ways which help them expand their mental lexicons efficiently. from a learning point of view. grammar. language teachingcourses of how I have brought collocations into my classroom and how my teaching has undergonesmall but significant changesas a result. and uses part of the tirne in class to give his learners a real understanding of techniques for searching a text. He encourages learners to take responsibility for their own learning. even without the presence of a is often instructive to remind ourselvesthat languageteaching is.2 Collocation As teachers.encouraging learner independence Chapter2 Collocation . IIe discussesthe importance of searching for and recording certain types of collocation which are particularly useful to learners" Throughout the chapter.This is particularly important in an age where 'electronic' text readily availableto technologyhas made large amountsof our studentsthrough CD-ROM and the Internet. and whether they are happy with the increasing emphasis George places on collocation in his classes. in its most basic form.1 Introduction In recent years collocation has emerged as an important category of lexical patterning and it is fast becoming an established unit of description in The following is a personalaccount and materials. function.I prefer to adopt a definition of collocation that does not overlap or clash with any of these . I also recognise the importance of students recording the vocabulary they meet. In order to avoid possible confusion and even antagonism. Language teaching courses and materials tend to classify the dominant patterns under the traditional labels. 2. a processof matching meaning with linguistic patteflr. I believe that the arbitrary nature of collocation is ideally suited to independentlanguage learning and that we need to equip our studentswith skills to enable them to develop their knowledge of coltrocations independently of the teacher. readers may like to reflect on whether George's experience mirrors their own.encouraging learner independence George Woolard George Woolard describes activities he uses which encourage learners to make the best use. and I outline a simple extensionof the traditional vocabulary notebook to accommodatecollocations and other co-textual pattems' 2.

which I think my studentswill not expect to find together. or do you think it is best to confine the term in the way just suggested? The definition of collocation I have adopted is essentially a pedagogic definition. First. me collocationdoesnot re-defineor re-orderwhat For I teach. The reasonbeing that I expect my studentsto naturally associate quality of being heavy with objects.collocations.I feel we need a definition that confines itself to a level of patterning that has previously received no explicit focus in our classrooms.and practicein noticing useful collocationsin .Theseare also the combinations that I would not expectmy students producein their to free productionof language.I do not draw attention to the combinations heavy fwrniture/loads.It is simply too abstract and generalto guidemy students'attention to specific elementsof text in a clear and a teacher. depend on.which suggests that teachers and students need to investtime in both absorbingthe concept.My current textbook has alreadyclassifiedthese patterns. In response. it avoids overlap with traditional vocabularyexercisessuch as those of 'dependentprepositions'.then. adjectives and adverbs only. reason for as collocations. This means that I do not label co-occuffencessuch as gwile of. have I adopted what I feel is a more transparent and practical definition which involves looking at the languagefrom the point of view of my students. whereas I do for combinations such as heavy seas/smoker.but not with the the seaor a smoker.I find this type of definition unhelpful. Secondly.For example.A number of overlapping definitions of collocation exist. They can easily seethe type of pattern that is the f. many of which have at their core some senseof the 'co-occurrence'of words. A typical definition is 'words which are statistically much more likely to appear together than random chancesuggests'. it provides a very cleardefinition of collocationfor students. and furthermore. I have also restrictedthe use of the term to relationsbetweennouns.ocusof attention. for thoseco-occuffences of words which I think my studentswill not expect to find together. This serves two usefulpurposes. it simply extendsand enriches it. for teaching purposes. that it is a new and different kind of focus on language.verbs.Unfortunately. Tlsr What definition of collocation do you think is most suitable for your own classes? Would you include any areassuch as idioms or phrasal verbs. It took me a while before I felt I could seeuseful collocationsin text with ease.Collocation .I now re-examine contentof the texts in my coursebooks the and lessonsand try to anticipateand highlight groups of words .encouraging learner independence 29 established categories.I reservethe term collocation. and exercises exist in the book that focus on such co-occulrences. Therefore.

great and bitter.I would look at a text. appropriatetimes to improve and extend An effective platform for raising awarenessof collocation is to focus on a At selectionof your students'mis-collocations. first I suggestyou restrict your examplesIo noun + verb. It introducingthe notion of collocationto learners.The students' choice of vocabulary is also appropriate. It is important to recognise that the grammar transformation exercises we use in grammar mis-collocation. and typical of the ELT profession. words are known by the listener/reader. isolate the major grammar pattems and any items of useful vocabulary almost automatically. and as a result.andfew benefitswill come.encouraging learner indep endence text.3 Raising awarenessof collocation do One obvious way of finding out which words our students not expectto the mis-collocations they make in their production of find togetheris through as language.30 Collocation . is a good idea to keep a record of thesemis-collocations you It at essays that you can bring them into the classroom so correctyour students' vocabulary teaching. teachingcan encourage . Now I find that it is collocations that are first to spring out of the texts I read. costs. Interestingly. are Note that all three sentences grammaticallysound.For instance. the students' use of tense.the first sentenceshould be: Biochentistsare of doing researchinto the causes AIDS. aspectand subject/verbagreementis accurate. this partictlar verb + noun pattern has been recognised and given attention in most traditional EFL courses and coursebooksso'rnake and do'collocationsprovide a useful starlingpoint for . adjective + noun mis-collocations. Howevet.We need to make them awarethat this is simply the way we say things in English and that's that! The problem with the second sentence lies in the use of extreme. Before I becamefocussedon collocation. 2.Brown (1994) cites the following as typical examples of the mis-collocations into the causes of producedby his students: Biochemistsaremaking research We'll experiencemany AIDS. if the individual communication is effective. The most likely collocates are big. It is very much a caseof seeingmore than you usedto in a text. is important to get across to studentsat this stagethat theserelations are arbitrary . The expression(X) was extremelydisappointing is very common?so it is not surprising that the student produced the sentenceabove. The result was an extremedisappointment. Howevet. It seems a likely transformation. 'slot and filler' approachto the teaching of grammar and vocabulary has our not sensitised our students to the collocational constraints on word combinations.there is no reason why it should be make a decision rather than do a decision. extreme does not collocate with disappointment.that is. This is an extremelycommon verb + noun mis-collocation in which the verbs make and do are used with inappropriate nouns.

it is often learning familiar words in new combinations. I was using a reading comprehensiontext with a multi-lingual intermediate class when one of the students asked what the word views meant in the following: She holds very strong views on marriage.verb + noun . the sentence In above we would be looking for strongercollocates suchas: We'll incur substantial costs. By focussingour students' attentionon mis-collocations we make them aware that learning more vocabulary is not just learning new words. When the exercisesdesignedfor the reading text were completed.strong views. I found myself directing the students' attention to the surrounding co-text.It follows that languageproficiency within science. descriptionof how my teachingdeveloped this direction will.4 Highlighting and teaching collocation Teachers have a prominent role to play in helping the learner identify collocations texts. I added a supplementaryexerciseaimed at activating this chunk: .help. for many students learning more vocabulary simply means learningnew words. do we help the learner to develop their mental lexicons in this way? 2. To sum up. and. especiallyin written communication.hold views.This is an indication of how collocation is closely tied to particular subject areasand. to a certain extent.rather than a single word.The use of studentmis-collocations the type given by in of Brown above is one strategy but teachersneed to adopt a more proactive approach. it could be arguedthat topic-specific collocations are a major defining aspect of these areas. This means that a focus on collocation must becomea major priority in BusinessEnglish and English for Academic Purposes courses. thoseworking in the business field would do so more readily. adjective + noun . Although many native speakers would not instantly make thesemodifications.This left the students with a useful 'chunk' of language.medicine. My initial responsewas to employ the standard techniques: synonymy:views= opinions yiews = what you think of something paraphrase: contextualisalion: think it's wrong to kill animals. and commerce will be determined to a large extent by the students'mastery of the common collocations particular to each hold strong views . She thinks everybody showld be married in a church. rather than move on in the lesson. then.few benefitswill accrue. An exploration of the left cotext highlighted useful relations of collocation.Collocation . A in I hope.encouraging learner independence 31 The third example is very much topic-specific: benefits and costs ate keywords in the languageof business.What are your views? I However. How.

encouraging learner independence Exercise Look at this part of the text: 'Sheholds should very strongviewson man'iage.drug is lesslexicalisedand will havea much greatercollocationalfield. . c . a Note how you can readily generate numberof adjective+ drug collocations .Shethinkseverybody be married in a chwrch. Note how such responsesdemonstratethat students tend to notice more patteming than that which is the focus of the exerciseswe give them. Students with limited time available for study will not learn high priority lexis if it is not deliberately selected and incorporated into iearning materials. Here the noun + prepositionpatternviews + onhas beennoticedand used. .verb + adverbcollocations. the next time I used this particular reading text I added a number of short vocabulary tasks to the comprehensionexercisesthat accompaniedthe text: Find a verb and adjective in the text which collocates with the word views.5 Choosing key words Lexicalisation is to do with the amount of information a word carries and this is a useful spectlum to guide our selection of words to target for collocation searches. and is the basis for the that we need to develop in strategies developmentof the independenttrearning our students. think. . I Most people hold strong viewson . vocabulary will not take care of itself. One immediate implication for teachersis that they should re-examine their which focus explicitly on cocoursebooks collocation.Then completethe following sentence: My father . . However. Collocations.addict ive/eJfe t ive/fa st -act ing/powerful etc. Note how few come readily to mind.Personally. As Swan (1996) points out. . He thinks that thesedrivers should be with the grammatical structureI think X should be (done). This exerciseresulted in studentsproducing personal opinions such as:Most I should be people hold strongviewson smoking. On the other hand. . To adjective+ noun. think cigarettes banned. . This natural ability to notice pattern should not be underestimated. Personally.32 Collocation . .adding exercises for text and which draw the students' attention to significanl verb + noLtn. .forlift. . must become part of that planned language input.Test this out by trying to think of adjectiveswhich collocate wilh penicillin. views on drinking and driving.What about you? Write some sentences about yourself following the pattern. then. of 2. . returnto the exampleabove. Words llke penicillin are high-content words and as a result have few common collocates. .' Most people hotrdstrong views on something. .the selectionof keywords needsto be informed and this necessitates a greater awareness the nature of lexrs.

Collocation - encouraging learner independence


As we move further along this spectrum and as the degree of lexicalisation decreases, find someof the most commonand usefulnounsin the lexicon, we e.g. character, idea, plan, problem, situation, way etc. unfortunately, vocabulary books and vocabulary lessons tend to focus on the more lexicalisedwords rather than these less lexicalisedwords. This means that these common and useful nouns often do not receive the amount or type of attention they merit. For example, with the word way, common semi-fixed expressions containing useful collocations of the following sort are not highlighted: The most ffictive way of (losing weight/falling asleep/etc) is... A further problem lies in the way vocabulary is traditionally taught. Decontextualisedleaming of individual words such as translation may be adequatefor high information words like penicillin, whlle paraphraseandlor contextualisationof more common words llke drug are usually sufficient to cary the meaning of the term. In general,however, teachersshould be wary of presenting uncollocated nouns to their students. They have to become aware of the need to incorporate co-textual information into their teaching, especially with theselesslexicalised items.As Lewis (r99j) notesand argues: The real definition of a word is a combination of its referential meanins and its collocational field. In general, the more de-lexicalised a word is, and the wider its collocational range,the more important it is to meet, acquire and record it in a collocation. In selecting vocabulary items from texts, teachers must develop their awarenessof the differing degreesof lexicalisation of words and recognise that different types of vocabulary may need differing degreesof co-textual reference,and therefore, different teaching techniques.Teachersalso need to develop their students' sensitivity to this spectrum of lexicalisation, and provide practice in separating nouns into high-content items and less lexicalised items, so that studentsfocus their co-textual searches the more on common and useful items in the texts they meet, for example,words llke drwg rather thanpenicillin, tool rather Ihan wrench. [See also pp 14314] Technical texts are useful for this purpose as the high-information items are easilyidentifiedby students, leavingthem to explorethe collocates ofthe less lexicalised keywords in thesetexts. Instruction leaflets and operating manuals are excellent sourcesof material for encouragingthis awareness. teachers, As we need to prioritise the developmentof this kind of lexical sensitivity for all our leatners.

2.6 The independent learner and learning strategies
A major problem remains over the amount of languagethat can be coveredin the classroom.This will almost always be less than the student meers or needs.What is essential is that the teacher equips the students with search


Collocation - encouraging learner independence

skills which will enable them to discover significant collocations for themselves, in both the language they meet in the classroom and, more importantly, in the languagethey meet outside the classroom. We need to remind ourselvesthat collocation is mostly an arbitrary pairing of words. We can say treat the patient, repair the damage, but not repair the patient, treat the damage.It is a fact that much of the grammatically accurate then, we can offer languagethat we could use, is in fact not used.As teachers, no explanationsto our studentsfor the particular choicesthat are selectedand 'this is simply the way sanctionedby the speechcommunity, beyond saying the teacher'sautomaticreflex of seeking the languageis'. We should resist explanations for all aspectsof language patterning; to try, for example, to explain the fact that repair does not collocate with patienr by looking for subtle semanticdifferencesbetween the verbs treat and repair.

Do you think you can define the difference between the vetbs treQt and repair?

Here are some authentic examplesfrom a computer concordance(seebelow) of the two verbs repair and treat: One child was able to repair engineswithout being instructed. He has had to work hard to repair his damagedreputation. The natural tendencyof the body rs to repair itself given the oppoilunity. It will take years to repair the economic damagecausedby this policy. Some dentists claim it is uneconomic to rrear NHS patients. you learn how to treat yoar ownwounds. In my profession, It is one of the few drugs approvedto treatAlzheimer'sdisease. Can you adviseme on how to treat the problem? You can treat tired,lifeless hair with this new shampoo. They have a tendencyto treot small customerswith contempt. It was no way to treat a dog. We took the dog to the vet but he said it was too late to treat her. examples- treat customerswith contempt, Notice that two of the concordance no way to treat a dog - could confuse as they contain examplesof treat with problems such as this a different meaning. If you use unedited concordances, frequently arise. While this can be helpful for more advanced leamers, it strongly suggeststhat examplesshould be carefully selectedfor intermediate learners,although not selectedto conform to a preconceivedpattern. Notice particularly, the example The natural tendency of the body to repair itself, 'treat people, repair which immediately invalidates the apparently attractive machines'ruIe.

Collocation - encouraging learner indeperulencer


Almost always, a list of authenticexamplesmakesyou aware of both patterns and problems which you would have almost certainly overlooked if you had relied only on your intuition. collocation is more varied than we tend to think, and looking at authentic exampleswill nearly always be more revealing than seeking an explanation basedon subtle semanticdifferences.

mostly a matter of noticing and recording, and trained studentsshould be able to explore texts for themselves. Not only should they notice common collocations in the texts they meet, but more importantly, they should select those collocations which are crucial to their particular needs. This is very much in line with modern trends in languageteaching, where there is a shift from simply teaching the languageto helping learnersdevelop their learning skills. How, then,can we encourage developthe students'abilityto notice and the collocations which are significant and useful for them? I believe most studentsneed to spend some time initially in identifying the basic grammar categoriesof noun, verb, adjective,and adverb,as theseare the categorieswhich are the focus of co-textual searchstrategiesfor collocation. This can be done through traditional exercisesin sentenceanalysis.The next stageis to highlight the pivotal role of the noun. The fact that nouns tend to be the focus of information in a text, that we tend to build the information up around the nouns, means that they are the most suitable headwords for collocationsearches. Search strategiesthemselves are relatively simple and straightforward, and reflect the procedures we followed in teaching collocation above. we encouragethe student to follow the steps below, and through practice make them routine and automatic: 1. Isolatekey nounsin the text 2. Look for (unexpected)verb collocates 3. Look for (unexpected)adjective collocates 4. Look for (unexpected)adverb collocates I've added 'unexpected' in brackets as a reminder that the purpose of these searchstrategiesis not to notice all collocates of a word, but for learners to select those combinations that they do not already know or expect. For example, the collocation big disappointmentis not surprising or unexpected whereasbitter disappointment is likely to be, which makes the latter worth noticing and recording. we need,therefore,to actively encouragethe developmentof theseskills and


Collocation - encouraging learner independenc e

give them sufficient focus in the classroom. One useful way of monitoring their developmentis to establishregular slots in the courseprogramme where students report back to the class on interesting collocations they have encounteredand noticed outside the classroom.It is probably true to say that the teacher's role today is becoming more and more one of facilitating leaming, and one issue of importance centres on how we help our students maximise their leaming of collocation outside the classroom.

2.7 Resources:dictionaries
A particular word may interest or be important to a student,who will naturally want to explore its collocational field further. However, if encounterswith particular words are left to random or chancemeetings in texts, learning will be extremely haphazardand inefficient. To a certain extent, we can partially resolve this situation by heeding Swan's earlier point that we provide a more concentrated exposure to collocations through careful planning of the vocabulary input to our courses.However, outside the classroomwe need to direct our studentsto concentratedsourcesof this kind of information. 1. Traditional dictionaries One would expect dictionaries to be an obvious source of relevant information. However, dictionaries tend to focus on the decoding process. That is, they provide excellent descriptions of the meaning(s) of words through synonymy and other word relations such as paraphrase and contextualisation. The organisation reflects the students' approach to the dictionary as a resourcefor answeringthe question What does X mean?A major drawback is that most dictionaries give relatively little explicit attention to collocation and other co-textual featuresof words. Dictionaries can, however,be approachedin a different way and prove to be a worthwhile sourceof information on collocation.A good English-English dictionary usually provides one or two expressions or sentences demonstratingthe use of a word, and these will probably contain one or two useful collocates of that word. Teachersshould encouragestudentsto browse theseexamplesfor collocations. This needsto become an automatic habit. By switching the focus to the collocational field of a word, the studentis now using the dictionary as an encoding tool, rather than a decoding one. For most studentsthis is new, and as such, they will need some guidance and training in using the dictionary in this way. An approachwhich I find useful, is to set exercises which actively direct the students to the dictionary to explore a word's collocatesrather than its meaning. Such exercisescan be free-standing or integratedinto a lesson. The Government In one of my classes, word criticism in the sentence has the received heavy criticism for increasing taxes became a focus. After dealing with the meaningand highlighting the collocatesreceive and heavy,I asked

criticism is the expressionof disapprovalof someone or something. [Seealsop 200] For example.ercepublic criticism of the ptan had beenvoiced.electronic dictionary'. which allows the contentsof the dictionary to be accessed and searched using a personal computer. . and that severeandfierce were appropriatealternativesto heavy.This is certainly a problem if the student is looking for a particular collocation. somefi. The Governmentcame in in for severecriticism. 2. criticism for increasing taxes. Fortunately. More often than not.someof my students attempting the task abovefelt that the criticisms of their governmentsweren't heavy. one of the easiestto use and understandis the . EG. by or disadvantages speechor writing. My Government has comein for severecriticismfor .Collocation . Electronic dictionaries what is clear is that dictionary entries in their presentformat cannot provide students with a sufficient range of collocates. . . The students' growing sensitivity to collocation had made them aware that one cannot assume that simple oppositions between adjectives such as heaty/light. The idea was to seeif they could find other verbs and adjectives which would completethe sentence The Governmenthas . I then asked the class to talk about the criticism that their governmentshad met. our students need a greater number of examples of use to browse. statingan opinion on their faults.This kind of noticing is vital to encoding and enablesstudentsto transfer their findines rnto their own production. the dictionary will not provide it. Most of the major ELT dictionariesare now availableon cDRoM. a number of solutions are becoming available through developments in computer technology. We had earlier noted that the opposite of heavy cold was slight cord.The main advantageof the electronic format over the book format lies in the powerful and speedy search functions that the former has built into it. From the two instancesof use given by the dictionary the studentswere able to work out that the phrasal verb come in for could replace receive. Ideally. . weaknesses.The relevant entry in the coBUILD dictionary is: criticism 1. For example.encouraging learner independence 37 the studentsto look np criticism in their English-Englishdictionariesfor homework. not light cold. the cD-RoM version of the o$ord Advanced Learners Dictionary has a full text searchfunction which can be configured to searchall the examplesof use in the dictionary for a particular word or phrase. old/new will work in all contexts.when I askedthe dictionary to display all the examplesof use . and this led to a number of responses with the pattern. one obvious limitation of this approach lies in the rather small amount of languagepresentedby the dictionary. . and wanted to know the contextual opposite of heavy.

escape. The head teachercome under a lot of criticism from the parents.I was presentedwith about a hundred sample phlasesor sentences.against sb. mounted.38 Collocation . express. constant. justify. soften. muted. in order to promote and assistthe independentlearning of collocation.forestall. implicit.evoke. come in for/under/up against. be discouraged by/exposed to/impervious tolrattled by/subjected tolupset by. Used in tandem with a traditional dictionary they help to provide some of the co-textual information that the former lacks' The LTP Dictionary of Selected Collocations presents a range of common collocates of words in a clear and concise manner. common. personal. perceptive. grew. defend oneself against. harsh. arouse. invalidate. flood of. A: adverse. subjective. of which could usefully be browsedfor collocations. hostile..searing. meet with. ferocious. incisive. spateof. suffer. savage. (un)fair. tough. helpful. withstand. ignore. There was growing criticism of the govemment's conduct of the war. blunt. These dictionaries deal exclusively with co-text and provide a much more comprehensiveaccountof a word's collocatesthan the traditional dictionary. I'm sick to deathof your endless criticism. sincere. silence. reject. voice. overt. into' shrink from. fierce. blunt. wave of. died down. level . comes from sb. friendly. stringent. furious. is relevant. criticism. fundamental. weather. strong.provoke. penetrating.. revolved around . reply to. we need to make this type ofresource available to our studentsand train them in the constructiveuse of their powerful searchtools. hardened. whiff of - The entry usesthe following system: V: V: A: P: verbs which come before the noun . offer. basic. overcome. devastating.(thinly) veiled. subject sb to. severe. bitter. 3. Here is the entry for criticism: CRITICISM V: accept. give rise to. lively. crush. tonent of. all The richnessof the information available is clearly shown by this selection: The new play has attracted considerablecriticism. objective' oblique. merciless.encounter.centreson sth. useless. trenchant. destructive. mild. react to. biased. stifle. atftact. widespreadP: chorus of. unjust. unprecedented. agree with. rise above. stinging. She received a lot of unjustified The power and speedof the electronic medium in providing a larger sample of examplesof use to browse for collocation meansthat. yield toV: .encouraging learner independence which contained criticism. deserve.hit home. deflect. Collocation dictionaries A further lesoulce has appeared recently in the form of dictionaries of collocations. open.verbs which usually come after the noun adjectives phraseswhich contain the noun .

' the list is ordered alphabetically in some way. 2. In particular. but with our presentconcernsin mind. A great deal of thought and developmentis going on in this areaat the moment. The question arisesas to how they can use this wealth of text constructively.This makes searchins much easier. some of theselarge banks of English can now be accessed by individuals. ' only a single line of text is listed for each example and these are usually not completesentences. In the example below the word to the left is the focus of organisation.Theseare being constantly added to and updated. I would like to focus on one activity. and how I have used it to help my studentsdevelop their knowledge of collocations. browsing the exemplifying expressions and sentences dictionaries can provide useful information on collocation. and are used as a basis for modem dictionaries and teachingmaterials. Some contain over 500 million words of both written and spoken text.Note how: ' the searchworddisappointmentis placed in the middle of the page where it is easily seen. . My students have found this to be an invaluable resourceto have on hand when writing. I now encourageall my studentsto invest in a good English-English dictionary and a dictionary of collocations. Today's students of English in non-English speaking environments are no longer restricted to the limited amount of language provided by the coursebookand classroom. Below is an edited example of a concordance producedfor the word disappointment. A concordancer is a relatively simple piece of computer software which allows a constructive search of large amounts of text for examples of a particular word or phrase.Collocation . The recent developmentof the Internet and the world wide web has greatly increased the amount and diversity of 'electronic' English that can be accessedwith comparative ease by individuals anywhere in the world. in and teachers need to encourage and train their students to approach dictionaries in this way. that of 'concordancing'.encouraging leanter independence 39 Intelligent browsing of this kind of resource can both guide and enrich the students' production of language.8 Resources:corpora and concordancers vast amounts of text are now stored on computers and many of the major English Language Teaching publishing houses and universities have establishedextensivebanks ofEnglish or corpora. These huge banks of data provide a basis for researchinto the use of English.They now have an endlessamount of real English to explore and exploit. without being overwhelmed by the sheer amount or density of the information. It is becoming clear that dictionaries are underusedresourcesin language teaching and that they must be given a greater and more central role to play in language leaming.

Next"I asked them to explore the concordanceextract above.Ratherthanjust answerhis questionwe ran a concordance the for phrase big + possibility and found no examples. and a searchof a larger and more varied corpus might well reveal an example of big possibility. disappoinumenL disappointment ^i c=nnni nrn6-F <p> aL at | ^ That one's what h ie race own went :nnnmnarioul incompetence had Lo . . . For example.trfe I iro fhar disappointment in the course of her husband <item> ooeq u'irh tnis disappointmentand frustration.-e -n s e q^PLs>-ev disappointment clj s. blerq ro he but od also from Chancellor oranl rufther drsappointment r lr r u v P U l n r u r . Such sensitivity is particularly important for their own production. Concordancesprovide much dcher sources of co-textual information than dictionaries. As students work through more and more exercises on collocation.'L a:d hrr had MiLh:i Lo I :nA admic.r. We only searched corpusof 2 million words. w . The purpose of the searchis to uncover probable language. disappointment. they become more and more sensitive as to whether two words are possible collocates or not.nnn'n-morf di qannni nfmorf that af ^\/cr the they del the had aw not i n even rhe i^ | ^^-F^vsrsYaLsD e l ect of man's antics. The result was a . one student of mine had written the sentence:I think there's a big possibility of rain today.rrr disappointment. fel -low rL cf ni i ^-^-^ sdppo c:^h^i r * r I tnL u Lf e ^ I tt s I j -.n.a s to nrridinn f:ilr hinaac' * " ". not 'whether somethingexists' or not. u icrna r nim6nl arose Hic from De ic Kferk's rurr nuar r q lll lca rn n v n r rr r gc a pr Stewart's book is secret a greal of her is marhnA made f it. at leastunlikely.and my role as teacheris to show studentshow to find this for themselves.For example. As with the dictionary. but whether it is probable. suggesting that this combinationif not impossible.encouraging learner independence decision wiLl come as a disappoincmenL di c:nnai nrmonf to :nd development da Taif rri r h agenc-Les .40 the an's n's i: lar Collocation .-en he 'l:rrnl. carhaaha\/ l:A contained ^ i--- Hirnmler sa ".i Austrafia.4t Ain ntm6hf i n rha Przia r . It is importantto recognise is that it is not useful or appropriate to say it is a wrong that they will have the confidenceto decide on their own. ...not cerlainty.rina ruuYarlrrv IL a-n^ c ^ p r ^ . and they were able to extract big. deep and greot as appropriatecollocates for disappointment. > \ v rho ul ri Jc I ! ! Y di sappoincment ^ for . but expresseddoubt about the collocation big possibility. Decisions about collocation are about degrees of likelihood. I presentedmy students with this frame and askedthem to suggestways of completing it: I got grade E for Mathematics.^ ...consisting a mainly of newspaper articles.and they can lead to a more efficient exploration of the collocates of a word. He accepted tY absence would be a big 'The big New York said: YF:d r^rad^a narh:nc ra ic < . .Simple exerciseswhich familiarise the studentswith the material and format are essential. . ^s d d Spurs av^^rl c as his C \)a. studentswill need time and training in how to do this constructively.

he edited his own writing to I think there's a strong possibility of rain today. spiralling. In response.Anocher they the bery have also ruled of out any yourself supporting these a rights recognition co consider Lhe cJear increases might che further to be no obvious Beta-one the real learning be excep but. possibility possibility possib-Lljty possibility possibility possibility possibility possibility possibility possibility. After encouraging him ro try to work out some of the word's sensefrom the concordancelines. . facing efimination England.agion effect being be now a stronq discuss raises the the prosecut. I pointed out to the studentwho wrote the following: we will have to increase our prices becauseof the increasing cost of advertising our products that it contained increase andincreasing and that i1 could be improved by changing one of these words. conserv From theselines the studentnoted a number of instancesof remotepossibility and became interestedin the word remote. Resourceswork best when their use is integrated.he value are advanced of in by smith and pet.encouraging learner independence 4l This parlicular student then ran a concordancefor possibility and noted a number of examplesof strongpossibility in the readout. quickly found an alternative in growing and rising. there cfy stated.Collocation . it into as a people is better his afbeit as a remote even a remote is the st.and concordances can and should be used intelligently with dictionaries.There are times when directing the student to a concordancer is more constructive than simply making alterationsto the student'stext. A rarge number of occurrences were taken as an indication of a common and therefore useful collocation. possibility possibility possibility possibility possibility The is of that that of is to manager fet said he off was doing issue in taxe d make good progress.and that all this can take place without a teacheron hand.As a result.Below is an extract from the concordanceoutput for possibilie rhat the studentexplored.<p> waning of the ov The most of ned by t. I referred him to his dictionary. d that refused fuR's o is was not there Lhere even action is to Money fell that of that of hands wiff a cont. Subsequentuse of a dictionary would also allow the studentto seepossibilities in mounting and. concordancing is a useful tool to employ in correction. the fiefd' then it becomes a possibility. from the lines below. What is important to recognise in this processis that the studentcan searchthis type of data and make informed decisions.rong alw a defeat finally.ions she might retaliation brough separated gove also by other a particularly worrying and r urge everyone.ers a on today ]y exist.the student ran a concordanceon cost + of and. An example of the interplay betweenthesetwo resourcesis exemplified by the samestudent. appeared an early that the breakthrough. from which he was able to understandremotepossibility as a contextual opposite for strongpossibility.

I would argue that concordancingis an essentialtool for effective independentleaming. the both loan the franchise bills. and add that the software and hardware requilements are relatively cheap. that all studentsshould exploring collocation. This means that it is possible to provide mole efficient collocation sealchesby building up banks of text which match your students' courseslike Business needs.^ U €l 1 r t U a C l n g r u. Many teachersshy away from technology in the classroom.Banks of material can also be graded for level to allow the less advanced student to concordance to good effect.It would seemessential. This is a fairly simple operationif the material is availableas computer files. Graded IeadeIS and General English coursebookmatelials are becoming increasingly available on CD-ROM and provide ideal sourcesfor the creation of appropriately graded banks of text.In particular.many also labour undel the misconceptionthat this kind of activity is an expensiveand unnecessalyluxury. It is worth adding here that a concordancercan be used to searchany bank of electronic text. from CD-ROM' or downloads from relevant sites on the World Wide Web.This is particulally useful for subject-specific English. . terms includes of developm tend trainingand up the them to Lhe Government (1) the the Eo the huge ncludes: ies increasing increasangl -lLe jnicial shoufder eao'rrr Lo and enable aeVinn if-Lced meet the mounLirg rising rising z:l 1 i no <p> The CBI fea corruption out itself to pick and trJstraced r Vl]hit "---nnami wich escape c Tha the the cni to The increasing availability of vast banks of English stored on computef. doubt over cha raised tunneflinq the railway improvingi technology. Even the very elementary studentcan develop a degreeof learner autonomy. where teacherscan build up a relevant bank of material by storing businessletters. Recently. on the hard disk of a computer. officiaf he took tunnel water in t works and decking <p> Th quality. <p> Called high level scientific research. to be trained to use a concordancerand given access the wealth of English text that technology has made so easily available. memos etc. coupled with a simple but powerful searchtool like a concordancerempowers today's student. of scanningtext into the computer. If all of this is not you can build up a lessambitiousbank by the more laboriousmeans possible. and proble computer memory chips awareness ^^m^^nl' hl:mad nrrr T r iP h vf r r ^ h u L qr ir rnv n vl vo d J + with e rPcrs the facL han:rrcc that nf ehe lLa high hlae inventory compuLer memory chips.The programs are not complex and it only takes one short induction lesson to train studentsto use them for collocationsearches. ^ the growang rho lhe reduc due to the staff <p> 'We are happy to borrowinghedge simple money.he exLra of of of of of of of of of of of of of of of of materials finanee r L r^e ui of r. research the household living. .encouraging learner independence cost cost cost cost cost cost cost cost cost cost cost cost cosL cost cost cost hioh hioh Fhar6 q=rrinos eXtrfOSUIe 1e Th6 l-o \r^a :n avccnrional f. I have started building up banks of material for elementary and intermediate students of English.42 Collocation . theseresourcesale ideal for then. as we have noted.At the time of writing. concordancerslike Wordsmith ale available for well under f100 and they run on relatively small desktop computers.

their personalrecords incorporate more of the collocates listed under the entry criticism.Furthermore. and that subsequent encounters. Many of my studentskeep notebooks organiseda$habetically. but a resource which individuals can use as an encoding .. severe.are essential.. it is now acceptedthat acquisition is facilitated by revisiting an item and recreating it in the production of language. revisit and re-activate the significant vocabulary they meet. V: receive. the notebook is not just a decoding tool..occwpatior?s.Items in the notebook are not just listed and left. More importantly. We also know that a >ilgle encounterwith a word is not enough to ensureits acquisition. such. have modified I the framework which I previously encouraged learners to use to record information about a word by adding two extra lines. functions .9 Lexical notebooks There is more to the successfullearning of vocabulary than simply noticing.add to their lists of collocates for criticism through subsequent encounterswith the word. devoting two or three pages to each letter.complaining.encouraging leanter independence 43 2. As their proficiency increases. Some pages are also devoted to situations .Collocation . One simple tool for this purpose is the vocabulary notebook. a lexical notebook mirrors an individual's uniquely developing mental lexicon. fierce. Revised format CRITICISM (pronunciation + translation) to expressdisapprovalof something or somebody The govemment has received a lot of criticism for increasingtaxes. In a very real sense.. Verb and adjective collocates are recorded in a clear and compact format which has the advantageof taking up little extra spacein the notebook.researchsuggestsa minimum of perhapsseven. as theseexamplesshow: Previous format CRITICISM (pronunciation + translation) to expressdisapprovalof something or somebody The governmenthas received a lot of criticism for increasingtaxes. It is important for both teachers and students to recognise that learning vocabulary is an ongoing and organic process. A traditional way of recording vocabulary is in small notebooks. It is important to record what is noticed in some way. A: heavy. cited earlier from the LTP Dictionary of Selected Collocations.I expectmy students As to..come in for. They are revisited and extendedin the light of the leamers' increased exposureto the language.A11this points to the need to train our studentsto record. .If these are to be helpful they need to be organisedin some way. andtopics .al the bank.

. . a has received lot of criticism over its decisionto raise taxes. adjectivesand verbs. begins with the word. ?Thegovernmenthas receiveda lot of criticism over deciding to raise taxes. and I now refer to vocabulary notebooks as lexical notebooks.However.and I think it is appropriateto retain associated that association. In the examplesI cited earlier. Traditional grammal teaching tends to operate on a slot-and-filler approach. However. students can and do notice more. it seemed appropriateto re-name it. These patteffIs are traditionally with. I was unable to find a single example of this pattern in any of the large corpora I consulted. 2.A word grammar approach. criticism fut raising /axes. However.Encouragementto use a notebook in this way should lead to fewer errors in their production. and to relations betweennouns. . In order to give the expandedfunction and format of the notebook more The last two sentences form. grammar. Consider the following combinations: The governmenthas receiveda lot of criticism for its decision to raise taxes. as noted earlier.encouraging learner independence instrument to guide their own ploduction of language. Ihey noted that criticism was followed by the prepositionpr and the -ing form of the verb.on the other hand. follow the broadpatternof nown+ preposition+ . Thegovernment The government has received a lot of criticism for deciding to raise taxes. most native speakersare uneasywith the final combination.L0 Word grammar The definition of collocation that I have adoptedin the classroomhas a clear but fairly nalrow focus.. the explorationsof the of words views andcriticism were confined mainly to searches the left co-text of occurrencesof thesewords.44 Collocation . and taught as. Our orientation is one of moving out from the word to uncover the particular syntactic patterns associated with it. Subsequent would obviously enrich the students' knowledge of other prepositions and verb patterns which occur with criticism. It is now cleal that we need to give vocabulary notebooks a far greaterpriority in languageteaching. Furthermore. I think there is a useful pedagogicdistinction to be 'grammat'and what I havecometo term 'word grammar'' The madebetween difference lies in the way we approachgrammar pattems. When I askedmy studentsto look at the right co-text of criticism in the sentenceThe government has receiyed heavy criticism for increasing taxes. and raise our students'awalenessof the dynamic role they have to play in the process of learning a language. We summarised encounters this information as . and we need to encouragefurther exploration of co-text. Lexis is a secondaryconsiderationand fills the slots in the syntacticframes that define such patterns.All this suggeststhat this particular pattern is improbable and therefore of no value to the learner. with broad syntacticpatternssuch as the tensesas the primary focus.

As with collocation.. criticism for raising taxes ...Collocation .. G: .. A personal entry for criticism in a lexical notebook might look something like this: Current format for a learner notebook entrv CRITICISM (pronunciation + translation) to express disapproval somethingor somebody of The govemment has received a lot of criticism for increasins taxes. The small but significant changesthis brings to my approachto teaching are neatly summarised Michael Lewis when he suggests: by Practiceshouldbe directedtowardshelping students collocate words and grammaticalise from words ro sentences...I suggesttwo further categoriesfor entries in thesenotebooks.. Grammar not only generalises..severe. is very much a caseof It presentingour studentswith a richer picture of languagepatteming.. . word A grammar approach complements the traditional approach to grammar by directing the students'attentionto the syntacticconstraintson the use of lexis. A: heavy. fierce.. that is.. are essentialcomponentsof grammatical competence.. as noted earlier.. come under heavy criticism for not providing .which is extremely important.. not just meaning.. However. not just collocates. The samecriticism has been levelledat .one (G) to record significant grammar patterns.the other (F) to record 'favourites'. It is precisely this kind of practice that we need to prioritise and add to the established practiceswe employ in the classroom...come in for . I now find it helpful to extendmy own and my students'perception what of words are. pattems or expressions which the individual particularly likes and will probably use. which is one reasonfor the large amount of improbable languageour students produce. then. This last categoryis important as we all have our own particular affinities for certain chunks of language. I think it useful to see them as having.but also as having their own particular grammaticalsignatures. criticism for its plan (to build . V: receive..) F: .it often over-generalises.. a lot of languagewhich is grammatically accurateis not used. it is important that elements of word grammar are recorded in lexical notebooks.encouraging learner independence 45 Traditional grammar teaching allows the student to generatea large amount of grammatically accuratelanguage. criticism over the decision(to spend.) .Both approaches. It directs the student towards probable language rather than possible language.

P. DiscussionQuestions Do you have learners who would use computer-based corpora and concordancingsoftware with confidence? Do you think it is useful to give all your studentsthis confidence?If not. and power over. LTP HilI. 2 Lewis. R. (1997) Oxford Advanced Leamers Dictionary. M (1996) Language teaching is teaching language.and as such. greaterfocus needsto be placed on developing the independent A language leaming skills that will help students develop their proficiency in theseareas. (1994) Lexical Collocation: a strategy for advancedlearners.lL Summary The growing awarenessof the rich contextual relationships in spoken and written discoursemeansthat collocation and word grammar need to become established categories of description for both the teaching and learning of languages. 3. It is probably true that the role of the languageteachertoday is moving more and more towards that of learning manager. Eds. Oxford University Press Swan. training needsto be given in the constructiveuse of dictionaries and the vast and varied sources of English that modern technology has made available. No.Vol. (1997) Implementing the Lexical Approach. LIP Crowther. ref'erredto on p 42.In Modem English Teacher. in what ways can you provide them with similar information? What sort of information do you encourageyour studentsto record in their vocabularynotebooks? References: Brown. their own leaming. J. Finally.Plenary IATEFL Concordancedata generatedby MicroConcord. OUP fContact Oxford University Pressfor details of Wordsmith. guidance in managing this learning through frameworks such as lexical notebooksneedsto be provided.encouraging learner independence z.] . Ed.46 Collocation . a primary aim of teaching must be to raise the students' awarenessof their increasing responsibility for. J. M. M. (1997) mP Dictionary of SelectedCollocations. and Lewis.

Jimmie Hill suggeststhat putting lexis rather than grammar at the centre of language teaching is more than just a modest change.We now know that languageconsists largely of prefabricatedchunks of lexis. the classroom. how tests are consffucted. it is a revolution. has all contributed to the way teacherstoday think about lexis and what it meansfor their teaching. and methodology. but which for the past 10 years. and most inhibitingly of all. manner of ideas are All still associatedwith the obsessionwith grammar: standards. Michael McCarthy. Dave Willis.materials. Michael Lewis. how textbooks are written. and many others. and suggeststhat this means greatly increasing the amount of language input provided in language courses. The more we have become aware of language as a predominantly lexical phenomenon. 3.traditional ways of doing things.I am not alone. ControversiallS he suggests that overemphasising grammar is a major factor in preventing learners from moving on from the intermediate plateau. When I first started teaching English.1. The work of John Sinclair. we were encouraged to think of grammar as the bones of the language.Language and lexis Devotion to a structural syllabus has dominated ELI for too long. and vocabulary as the flesh to be added. then to guide learners so that they can become independent collectors of collocations from input which they meet outside the classroom. with the study and practice of grammar seen as synonymous with the teaching of accuracy.the expectationsboth teachersand students bring to textbooks and courses. He stresses the size of the mental lexicon needed by even an intermediate learner. an idea that for the first 15 yearsof my careerin ELT I hardly gave a moment's thought to. and emphasises the need for the teacher to choosethe right kinds oftext for their learners. has come to play a more and more central part in my thinking about English.A central feature of lexis is collocation. He draws attention to the sheer number of collocations to be found in texts. the more we know that many of our previously cherished . That 'skeleton' image has been consigned proverbially to the cupboard.Revisingpriorities 47 Chapter3 Revising priorities: from grammatical failure to collocational success Jimmie Hill In this chapter. Ron Carter. perhaps. We are at present in one of those awkward stages in the developmentof ELT methodology when teachersare still putting into practice ideas which most theoreticianshave long abandoned.

In very different from the way they learned their L1. expressions. the first and most important fact about the nature of collocation is the sheer numberof individual collocationswhich exist in English. To deny the many similarities seemsperverse. We acquire our Ll efficiently without any explicit knowledge of grammar rules. They are also leaming the grammatical system of the Ll.but seeslanguagein larger units. And for many children the illustrated 'pail' in the nursery rhyme book willbe the closestthey everget to one in their lives. parts of speech.3 What is collocation? Many yearsago.Pastassessments of the number of individual words known by an educatednative speakerpale . 3. Firth definedcollocationas 'the companywords keep' . It could be seenas a sensiblereturn to traditional ways of learning after a rather futile trip down the dead-endroad of structuralism.poems. J. We now realise that in learning such chunks they are also acquiring the pronunciation.2 Language and learning All languageteachersknow that the way they teach. No young native speakerof English exposedto Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water is awareof concepts suchas simplepasttenseand irregular verbs. or knowing what collocation is a recognition of ways of thinking which we all knew. and expecttheir students to learn a secondlanguage. but it is also true that the human activity closestin nature toL2leaming is L1 learning. A lexical approach to language and to leaming does not break everything down into individual words and structures. songs.R. that huge area of language commonly referred to as idiomatic usage.It seemssensibleto take on board what lessonswe can from the lexical nature of languageand the lexical ways in which natives learn their mother tongue.their relationships with other words. One of the most important areas of idiomatic languageis collocation. It is true that leaming anL2 is not the sameas leaming your L1.In one sense. idioms.the numberof potentialcombinations runs into many millions.and intonation pattems which will remain with them throughout their lives. This is one of the most exciting tumaroundsin our thinking for a very long time. 3. proverbs. is clearly learned lexically. but which many teachershave denied. asmetalpails have now been largely replaced by plastic buckets. During our Ll acquisition we are happy with the idea of making 'mistakes'. So.48 Revisingpriorities structuralistideas are false. stress.nursery rhymes. We wait for the natural process of acquisition to take its course.bedtime storieswithout necessarily understanding eachword. We know that our children learn huge chunks of lexis. When we think of the number of words in English. Another definition might be 'the way words combinein predictableways'.

idioms. when we believed that grammar was the basis of all language learning. we need to add the concept but of collocational competence to our thinking. it was quite comforting to know that we had discovered all the English tenses and they could be summarised on half a dozen pages of a gtammar book.4 Collocational competence conceptof its assumedfiniteness. Grammar . is enormous. expressions. Any analysisof students' speech writing showsa-lackof this collocational or .which exist in the mental lexicon of the typical educatednative speaker.was a superficially attractivebasis for our syllabus. and collocations. on the other hand.The complete lexicon of English.Revisingpriorities 49 into insignificance when compared with the total number of items .words. This fact of the size of the mental lexicon must dominate all our methodological thinking. The mental 3.

.It is often metaphorical:He pwt the cat among the pigeons. So. We need to broadenour conceptof idiom to include much more metaphorical usage. For example.50 Revisingpriorities verb + adjective + noun collocation He has a permanent disability. however. Only now.It is two importantareasfor students.The rest we labelled only recently through the rise of corpus linguistics that the extent of the fixednessof much languagehas been more widely recognised. through the semi-fixed (What I'm saying/swggesting/proposing is .). In one senseall collocation is idiomatic and all idioms and phrasal verbs are collocations predictable combinations of different kinds. how can we use thesetetms most usefully? It seemssensibleto continue using thoseterms and categorieswhich language teachershave found useful in the past . collocation is an old problem. it is probablethat they will havea problemwith the English idiomatic use.5 Collocations. put. we were keenly aware that multiword expressionswere important. to the fairly loose yet still predictable (go on holiday). 3. . The native speaker has no problem with the idea that bolh fish and buses can be caught or that nonphysicalthings can be on fire.idioms and phrasal verbs Even during the height of structuralism. as of could think of catch the bus or fired with enthwsiasm idioms because the inherently metaphorical use of catch and fire. Not all idioms are aspictorial as thesetwo examples. I make exerciseevery morning in the gym. . Even if learners successfullynavigate the grammar. which is frequently hardly even recognised as idiomatic by native soeakers.idioms and phrasal verbs .Apart from individual words. do. Studentswith good ideas often lose marks becausethey do not know the four or five most important collocates of a key word that is central to what they are writing about. In this respect. We identified phrasal verbs and idioms as 'idiomatic usage'. Don't We cowntyour chickens. bring. L.while introducing the term collocation to name and categorisethat languagewhich has previously been ignored or undervalued. are we beginning to see it might be a new solution to many of our leamers' problems.Let us look more closely at each of thesethreecategories. we knew that the lexicon was complicated. make. what they produce often sounds 'intermediate'.Idioms An idiom is an expressionwhich is relatively fixed and allows little or no change.We know that fixed expressionsrange from the totally ftxed (An apple a day keeps the doctor away).If the sameverbs are not usedin the learners' L1. take. Analysis of students' essay writing often awkward and very 'de-lexicalised' verbs shows a seriouslack of collocational competencewith such as get.

Collocations As mentioned above. For example: adverb + verb + article + adjective+ noun + prepositioni. Again. speak your mind. The term 'collocation' shourd nerp oring ail thesechunks of languageto students'attention as single choices. others think of "onrid".they are not guessableand are non-generative.roun = seriousryaffecttheporiticat situation in Bosnia. Some may be so common that they hardly seemworth remarking upon . however. 3. native speakersmust be careful. learnersmay have no trouble with the riterarput the cat outbtt cannot relate that to put the right out. some 'sfong' collocations have the status of idioms . minirat ior"r. spring to mind. some teachers get on (in get on the bus) as a phrasal verb. in fact.) Teacherswill find it useful to draw their learners. Becauseof their Ll.shrug your shoulders . Some combinations may be very highly predictable from one of the component words foot the b. becausean item which seemsunremarkableto them might be a problem to a leamer.idioms and phrasal verbs. I suggestthat the following. Arguments aside.attention to collocations of different kinds. (As just mentioned. it as verb plus preposition. A collocation is a predictablecombination of words: get rost.all colrocations are idiomatic and all phrasar verbs and idioms are collocations or contain collocations. a nice catl have lunch. .a big Jtat.r. the category of phrasal verb is a useful one for both teachlrs and leamers to identify certain items which they are tryrng to teach and learn. wilr be of interest: adjective + noun a hugeprofit noun + noun a pocket calculator verb+adjective+noun learn a foreign language verb + adverb live dangerously adverb + verb half understand adverb + adjective completely soaked verb + preposition + noun speak through an interpreter collocations can. ELr has always recognisedtwo types of multi-wo. but rather than spendingall our time describing and sorting expressions.Jit"where the patternshave been clear .Revisingpriorities 5l a sense. in particular. Phrasal verbs Phrasalverbs contain a verb plus one or more pafticles: make up a story. put the light out' The meaning may or may not be obvious from the individual words. The distinction is not helpfur for the classroom where ttre emprrasisis on the phrase as a whole rather than any analysis of it. some learners may find eat runch or take runch a more obviouschoice thanhave tunch.make upfor rost time. the real issuefor the methodologist is to try to help teachersto make simple categorieswhich will help their studentssee some order and organisation in the lexicon. be much ronger. It is time to introduce our studentsto one more category of languageas it really is _ collocation.

Collocations. . my Secondly. cannot be divorced from the grammatical context in which they occur. . The simple collocation brush your teeth is for native speakerspredominantly used in the dentist's surgery and in the home when speakingto children or other family members. I imagine few husbands would ask their wives the question that they would ask their young children. The child is hearingthe presentperfectin a natural context. Perhapsthe inability of our studentsto acquire some important grammatical areas is based on the implausibility of many of the examples to which we expose them in current EFL grammar books and textbooks [See also pp 163-167]. Firstly. it is important that teachersare aware of this. When we know that native speakerslearn language in lexical chunks.just going to brush my teeth. [This is another plea to teachersto encouragelearners to notice and record language in a linguistic environment in which it naturally occurs. it is not unreasonableto assumethat learning certain chunks containing these structures will help learners in their acquisition of English grammar pattems as well. I'd brwshed teeth. For perhaps ten years of childhood a parent may ask the question. my I'm brushingmy teeth. What the children have been exposedto is an archetypical example of the present perfect without knowing anything explicit about grammar English tensenames. when the child hears the parent asking Have yow brushed yowr teeth?somethingelse is going on. idioms have a grammar and can be minimally variable to fit the speaker'spurpose: Don't He She'sjust If only you hadn't Why did you let the cat owt of the bag. .So. Children may never use the question themselves until they are parentsthemselves. . There are two important pedagogicalconsiderationshere.One can imaginea husbandsayingto his wife: I'll be with you in a minute. .rin question.It is clear that the acquisitionof generalisable rules must be partly related to the acquisition of lexical chunks containing the gramma.<7 priorities Revising 3. I'm .6 Collocations and grammar It is always an oversimplification to divide languageup rnto categorieswhen all the elementsof natural languageuse are interdependent. too. One of the most common structures in which it will occur is Have you brushedyowrteethyet?. .a parentteachinga child habitsofpersonal hygiene usually at bedtime.l . We can speculatethat sentences such as the following will be rarer than the presentperfect and going to usesabove: I brwshed teeth. Ed.

So. we then retrieve them from we our mental lexicon just as we pull a telephonenumber or addressfrom our memory. The role of memory we know collocations because have met them. Two. by definition. The lexicon is not arbitrary. but there would be no expectationsof engine oil. I suggestat least thesenine are important for teachers: 1.but still limited. The size of the phrasal mental lexicon collocation is important becausethis area of predictability his reputation. three. even teqwila sunrise. The latter liquids are drunk by accident. as we have seen. he may use a common verb such as have.enormous.enhance. 2.To an important extent vocabulary choice is predictable.the way words combine . Estimates vary. four and even five-word collocations make up a huge percentageof all naturally-occurring text.Looking at arater verb . but not a mistake. The listener'sexpectations predicta largenumberof possibilities: tea. places where learning is encouragedby using the most efficient means known to teachers and where leamers need to be encouraged to notice predictable patterning. eg his best.hear. linguisticallythey arenot 'probable'in the way that the but former are. Predictability The very predictability of the collocation examplesin the previous paragraph givesus anotherclue as to why collocationis an importantpedagogical issue.and classroomsare. the very definition of collocation .the choice of objectsis limited to a relatively small number of nouns or noun patterns. In a similar it a statuswhich we cannot deny.7 Why is collocation important? collocation is important from a pedagogicalpoint of view for many the choice is far greater. the honourable thing. milk. but it is possiblethat up to 70voof everything we say. 3. when a speakerthinks of drinking.lf the verb is do. sulphuric acid.Revising priorities 53 3. .There are parts of the lexicon which are organisedand patterned. or write is to be found in some form of fixed expressron. coffee. The lexicon is not arbitrary The first and most obvious reasonwhy collocation is important is because the way words combine in collocations is fundamental to all languageuse. there are patterns to collocations which can make learning easier. mineral water orange jwice. spoken or written. the standing of the company.we do not speakor write as if languagewere one huge substitution table with vocabulary items merely filling slots in grammatical structures. The presentsimple is irnportantin classrooms because can predict its use we to an extent which helps learners. shampoo. 4.

proverbs. and evenThat's the way the cookie crwmbles? may never use them.which had played an important part in language learning for centuries. were scol'nedin favour of the all-powerful grammatical model of languageleaming. but the density of unrecognised collocations. sayings. often we have made no attempt to learn theseitems. Linguists now give a much greater importance to memorised. Every native speakerparent knows how children love to hear the samerhymes and storiesnight after night to the extent that they can say the rhymes and tell the stories themselves. Good quality input should lead to good quality retrieval. is obvious that we have underestimatedthe role of memory in language learning. catchphrases. knowing them is simply part of what we mean by being a native speaker. The main difference between native and non-native speakersis that the former .I may be allergic to anyonewho doesuse them! The fact of the matter (itself a good exampleof a fixed phrase)is that every native speakerhas a vast store of these obviously fixed expressions. ranging from poetry. coughs and sneezesspread diseases. Not enough research is available to us at presentto make useful statementsabout how memory can be influenced. Indeed. ready for use when required. 5.As adults we all have a huge store of memorised text telephone numbets. Communicativemethodology mistakenly assumed that early production was all important. Fluency Collocation allows us to think more quickly and communicate more efficiently. Similarly. As language teachers.We have a much bigger store of collocations. Impoverished input will lead to impoverishedretrieval. they can listen at the speedof speechand read quickly becausethey are constantly recognising multi-word units rather than processing everything word-by-word' One of the main reasonsthe leamer finds listening or reading difficult is not becauseof the density of new words. adverlisingslogansandjokes.54 priorities Revising ELT has not given sufficient thought to this idea. and idiomatic language.flavowr of the month. that the most crucial element in a leamer's acquisition of a lexical item is the number of times it is heard or read in a context where it is at least partially understood. immediately availablefrom their mental lexicons.We also know it is more important to hear or read an item than to use it. addresses. free gratis andfor nothing. We do know. What is obvious is that what the language learners are exposed to from the earliest stages is crucial. Native speakerscan only speakat the speedthey do becausethey are calling on a vast repertoire of ready-made language. in our heads. Most idioms. however. Don't forget thefruit gums I Mum.How do I know lead on Macduff. There was a leaction against these ideas during the sixties and seventieswhen methodologistsreactedagainst any suggestionthat leaming by heart had any place in L}leaming. each and everyone of us.

As Stephen Krashen has pointedout. we needto place a much greateremphasison good-quality written and spoken input at lower and intermediatelevels than is currently the case. paradigm. 6. The more exposure studentshave to good quality input and the more awareness they develop of the lexical nature of language.the more they will recognise and eventually produce longer chunks themselves. is laboured. ie chunking it correctly.they are even more difficult to expressin simple language. one word at a time. but with enough significant differencesin vocabularyto make it only pafiially comprehensible. which enable them to process and produce languageat a much faster rate.for example. This inevitably causes problems. Try to say manipulate ideas or brainspace more efficientlyl Both are recognised verb + noun andnown+ nown collocations. on 8. Advanced studentsdo not becomemore fluent by being given lots of opportunitiesto be fluent. for so long the accepted The traditional Present-Practise-Produce 'practise' orthodoxy.frequently made of supposedly'easy' words.Complexideasare difficult to express complex of in language. Collocation we allows us to name complex ideas quickly so that we can continue to manipulate the ideas without using all our brainspaceto focus on the form of words.While it is true that you do not 'learn'new language by speaking. 7. is a safeconclusion It that collocation is an important key to fluency.the reasonwe can think new things and speak at the speedof thought is because are not using new languageall the time.a language in similar in structureto English. Any teacher who has worked in Scandinavia Holland. the audienceall laughed . They becomemore fluent when they acquire more chunks of language for instant retrieval.knows or this to be false.when in reality the 'present'and 'produce'stages the are most important.But the complexity needed here is not convoluted is only by speakingthat you can developconfidence. Complex ideas are often expressedlexically Typical intermediate student speech. It is one of the sacredcows of EFL methodology that fluency comes with practice.This doesnot meanthat practiceis unimportant. Pronunciation is integral I will always remember a lecture at TESOL France some years ago when Michael Swan askedme to read a poem to his audience Scots.tends to over-emphasise the stage. acquisitioncrucially depends the quantityandquality of input. BecauseI was able to read the poem meaningfully. where English is widely spoken. and uses simple vocabulary to express both simple and complicated ideas. Collocation makes thinking easier Paradoxically. Simple language is ideal for the expression simple ideas.Revisingpriorities 55 have met far more English and so can recogniseand producethese 'readymade chunks'. it is usually lexical complex noun phrases.

although different kinds of texts do exhibit different collocational characteristics. can be difficult for the listener. And mischunking matters. 1. Few will understand fully the nuances of Shakespeare'slanguage.56 Revisingpriorities in the coffect places.a thin.put simply.they read every word as if it were separatefrom every other word. Students cannot store items correctly in their mental lexicon if they have not identified them correctly. however. so during silent reading studentsmay be chunking totally wrongly. . Collocations which are of interest are underlined. speakthe lines meaningfully. their pronunciation. In class we should do no unseen reading aloud and less silent reading. Becauseleamers createmuch of what they say from individual words. the input will either not be stored at all or will be wrongly stored. Correctly understood and stored. It soon emergesthat collocationis an important feature of all such texts. In either caseit cannot be available for retrieval and use . and was in low spirits. lexical items should be available for immediate use. their stressand intonation will be better. from whose life pleasurehad so entirely vanishedthat shehad not even any Sundalz clothes which could give her satisfactionin Ueparug_fql_Ehulqhhad already had a misunderstandingwith her husbandsince he had come home. 9. In one sensethey 'understood'the poem while not understandinga large proportion of the individual words. a typical EFL text. The reason studentsfind unseenreading so difficult is becausethey don't recognise the chunks . making some texts more suitable than others for the EFL classroom.8 Collocation in texts It is interesting to examine written texts from different genres from a collocationalpoint of view. worn woman. Most teacherswill have had the experienceof watching and enjoying a Shakespeare play. George Eliot's Middlemarch The following short extract shows that collocation is nothing new. studentscannot learn from input which they mis-chunk. a newspaper article and finally. Recognising chunks is essential for acquisition There are immediate methodological implications. The temptationis to think that 'good writers' do not use such 'ready-made. correctly chunked for us. stress. and intonation. Let us comparefiction. but is important even in a literary text considereda classic: Overworked Mrs Dagley . 3. Teachersshould read texts aloud in class so that studentshear the text correctly chunked. The great addedbonus to knowing a large number of collocations and other longer expressionsis that if learnersleam the stresspattern of a phrase as a whole. The actors. a financial report. incorrectly chunked.expectingtheworst.

A novelist. buck the trend. Financial English is dominated by a number of predictable collocations. 2. but most readers would agreewith those underlined. to describeMrs Dagley as a 'worn woman' evokesher physicaland mentalstate.has been booked up for the .The fact that Eliot and McCourt use collocations so readily suggeststhat the other reason they are common is because they express precisely what we wish to express with or without time constraints. f.'rank McCourt's Angela's Ashes The new rich people go home after Mass on Sundaysall airs and stuff themselves with meat and polatoes. while also preparing learners for the large number of metaphorical expressionssuch as buck the trend which are common in such texts.sharesfell sharply. And it is in the breaking of the conventional that the greatnessof great literature partly resides. the insurance market. Any coursein Financial English would need to identify some of the common collocational patterns. Newspaper article The world of bullfighting has discovereda new legend in the form of a bablu-faced16-)'ear-oldcalled Julian Lopez. but known as "El Juli". My previous argumentthat we use collocations in speechto give us thinking time doesnot hold here since the writer has lots of time to think of new and original ways of expression. The phraseis Eliot's very own.which fell sharply last year after the company spoke of difficult tradingrose l4p to 263. while writing something original and creative both Eliot and McCourt rely on their store of ready-for-use expressions. Here a modern novelist usessix identifiable collocations in the spaceof a few lines of text. severalof which are used in this short extract: shares recovered. to break our expectations. Financial report Sharesin IndependentInsurancerecoveredby more than 5 per cent yesterday after the company bucked the trend in the insurance market by reporting a 22 per cent increasein underwriting profit. The shares. is free to make their own word combinations. shares rose.So. a shy and introverted teenager. 4. 3. dfficult trading.5p. who has becomethe youngestfully-fledged matadorever.but they do. There are argumentsfor more collocations in this extract. and they think nothing of drinking their tea from delicate little cuos which stand in saucersto catch the tea that overflows. by definition.but could not be guessed. El Juli.sweetsand other words.Revisingpriorities 57 'tricks off-the-shelf such as collocation.verbs which combine with share.

because there is language which might be immediately useful. ever.. namely a baby-facedl6-year-old anda 16-year-oldcalled . .The 'level' of an item will always be a subjective issue. it would be madnessto try to bring all the collocations to the attention of students.This is completely typical of such texts.Thesetexts are clearly more suitedto the EFL classroomthan the extractstaken from fiction. Quite a lot of this languageis worthy of comment. awarded the ultimate accolade. . . awarded the ultimate accolade is a very strong collocation typical of such newspapertexts. half-bird. . A collocation will be worth drawing to students' attention if it satisfiestwo conditions . .in recentweeks Intermediate: the world of .We choosetexts for classuse for different reasons:becausewe think studentswill be interested in the topic. The teenagerhas spent most of his time in Latin America since he qualified as a matadorlast Octoberwhen he was still just 15. . . ever: the youngestfully-fledged matador ever the best holiday eve4 the most expensivemotorbike ever d) There seemto be two collocations combined in: A baby-faced16-yearold more than a dozen Latin American cities in recent weeks.being carried out of the bullring on the fans' shoulders. but I suggestthe following rough divisions from the text above: Elementary: spendtime. The first and most obvious point to make about factual texts like this is the high percentageof words which occur in fixed phrasesand collocations. . theyoungest. Collocation is either so commonplacethat it is unremarkableor so inherent in text that it should have a central place in all teaching.Class time should be spent on a few useful collocations. such as the phrasequalify as a . c) the (superlative adjective) . . Advanced: a shy and introverted teenager theforthcoming season. His skill and couragehas seenhim awardedthe ultimate accolade in bullfighting .. . b) he re-appearedin the form of a creature half-human. Notice thesepatterns: a) the world of sport/art/opera/ballroom dancing etc. Over-exploitation of any one aspect will kill students' interest. .58 Revising priorities b[g bullfighting toumaments of the forthcoming season and is expectedto kill more than 200 bulls in his first full seasonin Spain. becausethe language is of a quality to which students should be exposed. still just is suitable for their level and it has some common culrency.Students should then be encouragedto study the rest themselvesat home. knownas . . qualifuas a. . e) Finally.. Looking at the bullfighting text from a teaching point of view. .

.including some relatively long ones containing important grammatical features as part of the lexical item in a text of only 200 words. 5. and encouraging them to store them in their notebooksin someretrievableway. The conclusion one must come to is that wellchosencoursebooktexts are full of collocational expressions.Examining a single two-hundred-word extract from the popular Headway series(Upper Intermediate p 77) it was easy to identify at least the following collocations which teacherscould usefully draw to learners' attention: plan afamily have a problem share interests a lovely agefor (a child) went to school a teenzgedaughter/son I told her off my best. intonation. In a structuralist approach teachers did not comment on every grammaticalpoint in a text. EFL coursebook texts In some ways.texts of the type teachersare used to dealing with every day in class.Revising priorities 59 The remaining collocations fall into the most important teaching category those which are not worth spending class time on unless studentsask about them. so in a lexical approachit would be misguided to 'milk' every text for the last drop of lexis. the most interesting texts to consider are those chosen for inclusion in popular EFL coursebooks.. . along with the L1 equivalentof the whole collocation. . for days afterwards This meansover twenty useful collocations . We should be asking students to predict collocations which are in the text by identifying and gapping them. We have to see it as being as central to language . and grammar. For studentsto get the most out of such texts. we were closest have a son they'd gone away Iseeheras.friend have the samesenseof humour completelyobse sed with s grow up suddenly grow away from (your family) an endlessstream of(people) in front of (my) friends And the following are arguablyjust as useful: have the one child by the time I'd it might have beennice to . it is intimately bound up with the ability to identify collocations. their attention has to be drawn to that wealth and densityof collocation. We should be asking studentsto notice and underline useful ones. stress. 3. There are immediate classroomimplications for how we deal with texts.9 Teaching collocation In order to teach collocation we have to give it the samekind of statusin our methodology as other aspectsof language such as pronunciation. Making sense of text involves not only understanding new words.

When teaching a new word. At a higher level. There is no point in knowing the meaning of the words impetuowsor initiative unless you also know the collocations'. Strong collocations tend to be rare. This idea that knowing the meaning of a word is uselessunlessyou also know something of how the word is used is relatively new in ELT.But you might want to choosewhich classyou 'strongest'collocations of teach beggar belief to . take the initiative.we need to teachcollocations. If the word is belief teach'.helping students composetheir own text. Here are some examples'. belief in God / the power of medicine/ yourself. teach some of its most common collocations at the sametime. 1. Until very recently. makefriends. and we do not want to replace teaching obscure words with teaching obscure collocations.impetuous behaviour. They were to not seenas encodingor 'productive'. acquisitionasthoseotheraspects language of years ago nobody in the medical world had heard of DNA.The same is true of lexis in general and collocation in particular.even if it is one of the belief. There are many pairs or groups of words such as date/appointment/meeting broad/wide where the or differencebetweenthe words is onlv clear from a knowledse of their different collocationalfields.without giving a few common collocates. Collocation is not an added bonus which we pay attention to once students have become sufficiently advanced. It is probably asking too much of any one dictionary that it does both. . designed to help studentsunderstandthe meaning of words they were not sure of.60 Revisingpriorities which we havelong recognised. dictionaries were seen only as decoding devices. need to presentthem in contextjust as we would present we have a never to teach a new word . fall in individual words. have a belief.strong beliefs.Collocation should play an important part in our teaching from lesson one. Today it is 50 central to much medical research.particularly a noun . which means knowing something about its collocational field.A good rule. when students are leaming less common vocabulary. If the word is ferryt. we must be aware that some words ale used in a very restricted number of collocations. love. teach: go on the carferry a roll-on roll-off ferry take theferry from (Liverpool) to (Belfost). Teaching individual collocations In the same way that we teach individual words * vocabulary . It 'know'or is definitely worth emphasising students to that they do not really 'own' a word unlessthey also know how that word is used.Rather than wait for studentsto meet common collocations for themselves. however.

or three-word expression.. 2. louder than words. . I was half expecting it. fixed expressions and collocations. 5. You'd better do exactly what the doctor . As I .and they are only a small selection of these three verbs clearly show that it is not possible to give a simple explanation of the difference of meaning with words of this kind.meaboutit! These examples. teacherscould encouragestudentsto think bigger than the word . It may be that actions will ..say. a normal school year of lessonswill only add 500 words to a student's vocabulary. .Revisingpriorities 6l Tnsr Which of the verbs speak. we should teach no more than 10 new words per lesson. for the rest of the staff. .given that half might be learned. It's too soon to . . I can't . me is confidential. the agreementgoes much further than any previousone. 3. .. 8. With limited class time teacherscan only teach some of the most common. .Noticing is an important stage in learning. . To . . 6. . to Mr Harrison. . Everything you . two o'clock? 12. the most significant feature of collocation is the sheer number of individual collocations needed for a mature adult lexicon. us what will happennext month. Don't wolry. 4. If. whether an agreementcan be reached. . These figures don't .please? 11. UN sources. This strongly suggests vocabulary learning techniques are more important than the teaching of individual words. Taking a common word and asking studentsto find asmany collocatesas they can will be another typical activity in awareness-raising. . 9. though. . . The same is true for idioms. . we saw above.always to look for the two. Asking students to underline all verb + noun collocations in a text will be a typical exercise. they've alreadyappointedsomebody. Making students aware of collocation As mentioned above. On the simplestlevel. What teachersmust do is make studentsaware of collocation as a vital key to languageleaming. as methodologists tell us. you the truth. Shall we . . . . 10. . tell fit best into the gaps in these authentic examples? 1. 7. As with a common verb like speak we cannot say that studentsreally know the . 2.. . . Can L .

speak eic' 3.000 words will only be able to function in a fairly limited way. make etc.000 words. As we saw in the task above' however. 4. example: for make: makea mistake/ a meal / trowble/ a complaint/ friends / space at the end of / in the end / come to an end / to the bitter end / at a end: loose end / at the end of the daY at: at once/ at first / at work / at school/ at college/ not at all As the last example shows. Grammatically:sectionssuch as noun + noun. The messagefor ELI is that more class time needsto be spent with some of 'de-lexicalised'verbs' qet.62 Revising priorities word unless they know at least the following possibilities: speakaforeign language speak(French) speakfluently speakwith a (welsh) accent speakclearly speakyour mind sPeakvolumes speakopenly speakin public Sgch a verb would have receivedscant attentionin the past and such attention 'explaining'the difference as it did receive would be likely to concentrateon betweenspeak. The simplest looseleaf binder with blank pagescan be turned into an organisedlexicon very easily.We need to manage students'notebooksin the sameway we manageother areasof their learning' It is easy to imagine a collocation section arrangedin the following ways: 1. the more common words. travel.000 words and six collocations with For each. get. adverb + adjective 2. By topic: collocations to talk about holidays. writing it down. Many native speakersfunction perfectly well using a limited vocabulary with which they are collocationally competent.know 12. A different studentwith 2. Extending what students already know Extend students'collocational competencewith words they already know as well as teaching new words. work etc' . Storing collocations An organisedlexical notebook is essentialfor all artdtell.000expressions. make.Studentswho know 2. By common key word: collocations with do. adiective+ noun. verb + noun.Deciding where to put an item. do. in particular the take. the words with least content are closest to traditional grammaf. and looking at iL againalong with other similar items is all part of the constant revisiting of language which is part of the learning process. will also be far more communicatively competent. supposed 3. up. A studentwith a vocabulary of 2. put. The discriminating exploration of word-grammar is more likely to help learners than either the more exotic parts of traditional grammaror teaching'difficuit' words. but collocationally competent with thosewords. Students' lexical notebooks do not need to be glossy professionally-producedproducts.exploring the collocational field is far more helpful than any explanation of the differences.

Avoid the temptation to teach every collocation which comes up in class. or tears u'ould be seriously incomplete without some knowledge of these strong collocates. 1. As we shall see. is very easyto go overboard. Unique collocations It is useful to think of collocations on a cline or spectrum from those which are probably uniquefixed/strong to those which are flexible/weak. Choosing which collocations teachand which onesto ignore.Similarly. cheap or expensive. rancid.or footing the coffee. Several commentatorshave pointed out the uniquenessof foot used as a verb in the collocation/ootthe bill. Storing lexis in an organisedway in a notebook so that it can be revised and retrieved quickly must be better than not storing it. motive.If collocationis an idea you may not have been very consciousof in your pastteaching. but for most teaching purposeswe pretend that it is. Strong collocations A large number of collocations. . We cannotimaginefooting the invoice. we shrug our shoulders. grwdge. the picture is not as simple as that. the most important for the classroom are what we may call medium-strength collocations. Predictably. red car elc. although not unique. it They areeverywhere.10 Choosing which collocations to teach Justasimportantas choosingwhich collocations teachis decidingwhat not to to teach. We often have ulterior motivesor harbowr grwdgeswhile being redwced or evenmovedto tears.confuse rare and obscure collocations with important ones. 3. one of the advantages this is of that this makes learning less 'materials-dependent'.given limited classroom to time. but it is clear ihat any knowledge of the words trenchant. Such strong collocationsare not unique. they can apply the coiours in English in a similar way to their own language. In resource-poor countriesmost students often have access a simple notebookwhen glossy to UK-producedcoursebooks financially beyondthem.but no other part of our anatomy.In fact. good or bad. 2. Weak collocations \{any things can be long or short. are strong or very strong. are 3. involves understanding collocational strength. however. Draw students'attention to irnportant ones and let them find and record others for themselves. or simply listing new items without organising them.Revisingpriorities 63 We do not know how we store languagein our mental lexicons.we may talk of trenchant criticism or rancid butter although tlris does not mean that other things cannot be trenchant or rancid. Texts of all kinds are packed with them. Students can make combinations such as blue shirt.Do not. We do know that we store it in patterns of different kinds which allow us to retrieve it instantly.

they are part of many weak collocations. 4.but in the middle .l This. explains why learnerswith even 'good vocabularies'still have problems.he's getting better. a blue film. They are more likely to build the idea phraseby phrase:My father . They may know a lot of words. Each individual word may be known to students. most teacherswould agree that the adjective good is not very interesting from a teaching point of view.6-+ Reisirtgpriorities However.but He's recoveringfrom a major operation is a complex medium-strength collocation. . while stressingto them the need to acquire more new words on their own through independentreading. [Remember the key point about lexical items is precisely that they representsingle choices of meaning. then. but their collocational competence with those words is very limited. Most intermediatestudentswill know the words hold andconversation. a joumey.but they probably do not know the whole collocation. a big .flat is a weak collocation and of little interest to teachers.Ed. I have come to the view that the main thrust of classroomvocabulary teaching at intermediate level and above should be to increasestudents'collocationalcompetence with their basic vocabulary. He'll do it in his own good time. It can be applied to anything . and are recognised and stored as single items. It is this area of medium-strength collocations which is of prime importance in expanding leamers' mental lexicons.he had a big operation.but may not know that you can hold a conversation They know the words make and mistake.those many thousandsof collocations which make up a large parl of what we say and write. red wine. white wine. about these examples:a white shirt.there is something'more predictable'. we need to recognisethat easy words have many uses. he's a good age. but have not stored make a mistake in their mental lexicons as a single item.a meal. but more of an effort for both speaker and listener. A nomadic tribe is a sftong collocation becausenomadic collocateswith a very limited number of nouns. Full marks for communicating meaning. Similarly. Medium-strength collocations The main leaming load for all languageusersis not at the sffong or weak ends of the collocational spectrum. red hair a black mood. a government. but may also be a componentof many fixed or semi-fixed expressions.and so more collocational. But notice what happenswith some slightly larger multi -word expressions containinggood : It'll takeyou a good hour Oh. students need to be made aware of their more predictable collocations.

Revising priorities 65 3. If learners have not mastered these features.11 Pedagogicalimplications Although I meet many teacherswho are trying to incorporate lexical ideas into their teaching.An item may be highly frequent in one genre. raisesimportant issuesfor everyone involved in languageteaching. newspaper. unfortunately. b.'they risk being misunderstood. The sheer size of the learning road makes change inevitable. listening. Although very important. we also have a more horistic view of how secondlanguagesare learned.Increasingly. Accuracy must be rreated as a late-acquired skill. Another item may be highly frequent in native-speaker English but may be unsuitablefbr learners. We are readier to accept that the best leaming probably happensoutside the crassroomwhen studenis are reading. suitability for foreign and secondranguageuse.000 items but nearer 400. Accepting that the learning load is not 40. In ELT we now have a more comprehensivemodel of language.The dividing line is muchless clear_cut than teachersand textbooks often pretend.t"y do not intend. many leamers interact with the language. Theories of language and theories of language learning are inextricably linked. Experienced teachers are aware that some common native-speakeritems will sound silly or inappropriate if used by learners.recognising and adopting collocation as a major element in our teaching has severalimportant implicaiions: l. basedon four parameters: a' Frequency of occurrence in spoken and written text. c. frequency arone should not be the over-riding parameter. Greater emphasis on 'larger chunks' of ranguage also means that grammar and vocabulary merge into one another. and collocation in particular.000 (and probably greater) means that the sylrabus must be reviewed. pronunciation and context.with both native und non-native speakers. on radio or TV or with a native speaker. watching and interacting with the languagein a book. In this environment.on the seemsthat what we now know about the nature of which gives at least equal importance to the lexicon as to the grammar. in classrooms. Review the language content of courses It is clear that lexis should be one of the central organising principres of our syllabus. In class we may adhereloosely to a present-practise-produce model. gtammar still tends to rule. Level: the lexical learning needs of elementary students are very different . but important parameter. and criteria for what to teachagreed.but not in another. and sentence grammar atthat! Greateremphasison lexis must mean less emphasis on grammar. too. but we are also acutely aware of its limitations. giving offence or at least giving an impression. This is a subjective. Such items often depend on subtle features of intonation.

the sheer size of the mental lexicon has implications for vocabulary teachingstrategies all levels. The classroomshouldbe a language-rich environmentwith interestingEnglish on the walls. Nobody would deny the importanceof output. For example.The quantity. While recognisingthe need for expert direction and monitoring by the teacher.and internet-access possible. Review strategies at different levels Again. appropriate input.One of the major failings of the communicative approachwas that one leamer's deficient output became another'sdeficient intake. the teacher should be first and foremost a languageprovider and the expert who helps studentsnotice useful and interesting language.horror of horrors .while important. providing the talk is controlled to provide good secondary.mean increased teacher talking time.At elementary level the priority is to increase at the number of individual words learners know.In short.they focus very much on student output. The role of the teacher. Intermediate studentsneed more new words with more collocateswhile also increasingtheir collocational competencewith words they already know. a library of graded readers. 3. This means maximising the amount of appropriate quality input available to the learners. Type of course:it is clearthat items typical in business English or any form of ESP may have little or no place in a generalEnglish course.Publishedmaterials should if contain more natural languagewith more activities focussedon the language and on individual learning.while for general English it may be possible to predict a certain number of basic collocationsfor someof the commonest words of the lansuase. The main implication is that learners need a great deal more input than they received in most traditional languagecourses. but the main thrust of language teaching must be to create opportunities for students to acquire more and more language. This might even .66 Revisingpriorities from those of the advanced student. and quality of input need to be reviewed. and materials a1l need to be changed. These are best learned along with a small number of collocates. but they will probably be intermediate before they learn a package/ beach/adventureholiday. Instead of being a language practice facilitator. Different kinds of item and different learning strategiesare appropriateat different stages" d.there is no point in learners knowing the word holiday unless they also know that you go on holiday. 2. Increase language input If languagesare to an extent learned lexically. this should be reflected in our methodology. Languagepractice.the emphasis shouldbe on activitiesand strategies which aid acquisition. . the classroom. type. Modem task-based approaches in danger of are falling into the sameffap. student performance.

rearn. or at least very inefficient.all For advancedstudentsare familiar with the words book.12 Summary . the communication of meaning and the learner's current intergrammar shouldbe the decisivefactors. 4. 3. Advanced students will always be adding to their store of collocates evenof words they learnedaselementary students. holiday andright farnity. but how many would be familiar with the following collocations: a coffee-table book the nuclearfamily a bwsman's holiday a blinding light we also need to develop techniquesto help studentsto record lexis in helpful waIS.Iessgrammar.corpus hnguisticsis . Translation 5. By this stage studentsshould be autonomousleamers and have understood that learning a new word without some of its collocatesis a waste of time.As usual.ways which reveal patterns and which are easily accessible for correspondingly of limited use to the learner. more lexis It is accepted that recentdevelopments corpuslinguisticshaveforced us in to change our view of language. example.This means it is time for a re-evaluationof many of our accepted ideasaboutlearningand teaching.The main thrust of vocabulary work in most classes should be to make students more collocationally competentwith the words with which they are already partly familiar.Revisingpriorities 67 At levels above intermediate.studentsneed to read widely and it is virtually impossible to predict what items a student 'should. . Language model every collocation mistake than they should correct every grammar mistake.

restricted to a small rangeof traditionalEFL 'structures'. we would acquire the language.even for native speakers . which allows students to read more widely.the content of what we teach. learning must reflect the nature of what it is we are leaming. These ideas on collocation are only the first rumblings.The largest learning load and the one which is never complete . It is lexis in general. Languageis proven to be a mixture of the totally novel.but on meeting a rule-govemed systemand if we couldjust leam the rules. The fact masteringthe lexicon. Competencedependson being able to decodeand take part in discourse. in different conlexls. there is little point in spendinga lot of class time presentingindividual items of vocabulary. and subsequent. and trying to set up situationsfor studentsto use them. The answermust be to spendless time on formal grammar work.l Discussion Questions Different texts contain different kinds of collocations.practising them. and all held togetherwith fairly simple structureswhich we call grammar. regularlyrevisited. and speakmore fluently.68 Revisingpriorities going to change the content of what we teach radically. In ELT we have grown accustomedto the idea that language. the absolutelyfixed. many current coursebooks ministry syllabuses seriouslyflawed.time is limited.whether spokenor written. Similarly. What kinds of texts do you think will be of most use to your learners? Are there kinds of texts which you think will not be particularly useful? How doesyour choice comparewith . Within the lexicon. second A fact is that most students are intermediate. understand more quickly. Spending a lot of class time on traditional EFL grammar condemns learners to remaining on the intermediate plateau. By taking a finite list of grammatical structuresas their basis. the relatively fixed. perhaps10 times. languagesare learnedthat there is no point in hanging on to it as any kind of model for leaming. [Parts of this article ffust appeared in Issue 11 of English Teaching Professional.We now know that this idea is so at odds with the way both first. If we are to start teachingcollocation. language courses are finite . Insistenceon accuracyinhibits production and makes studentsconcentrateon language at or below sentencelevel. of which collocationis the singlemost importantelement.The acquisitionof individual items depends on students'using not them 20 times in one lesson. Helping learnersto become 'advanced'needs huge a injection of lexis. and collocational competencein particular. we must stop teaching somethingelse to make room. collocation is one of the biggest definable areasto which all learnersneed to be introduced from lesson one.Progress English and are in for all post-elementaryleamers dependson sufficient lexical input. To be efficient. different at times.

Revisingpriorities 69 the texts you find in coursebooks? How many items do you think you should presentin a singre lesson.a matter of the size of the learner's mental lexicon? Do you agree that over-emphasisinggrammar can actively prevent learners from developing beyond the intermediateplateau? . as Jimmie Hill suggests.or on a single day of teaching? How many of those do you expect your learners to really master so that they can use them themselves? How would you explain the difference between an intermediate and an advancedleamer? Is it.

how this came about. Jane writes from the perspective of an American Intensive English Program. and guided her towards teaching strategies that she finds more effective.1 Background As an instructor in an Intensive English Program (IEP) in the United States. She emphasisesthe importance of both context and collocation in presenting new words. She describes how her reading and writing classeshave changed as a result of her dissatisfaction with the way she was reacting to errors in her students' written assignments.Students in classan average 18 to 25 to are of hours per week. The approachto curriculum is frequently content-based. but many of her experiences and conclusions parallel those of George Woolard and Morgan Lewis described earlier. a brief outline of a typical American IEP may be helpful for readers familiar with suchprograms. she found that some theoretical reading helped her understand the problem better.the latter becausethe Test of English as a Foreign Languageis the proficiency test most often required by American universities for admission degree programs. and they complete severalhours of homework outside of classeachday. Many programs offer electives such as pronunciation. or listening/speaking. or TOEFL preparation. my discovery and understandingof collocation actually resultedfrom my own Before I describe frustrationwith vocabularystudy in the classroom. despite careful. not The goal of most IEPs is to improve purposes. Like Morgan Lewis.70 Integratingcollocation Chapter4 Integrating collocationinto a readingand writing course Jane Conzett Jane Conzett works on a typical Intensive English Program in the United States. 4. students'abilityto use English for academicand professional most often in preparationfor academicwork in American collegesand universities. class size averagesabout 12. contextualized study of vocabulary in my reading and writing classes. studentsoften used my .or they may be taught as single-skill courses. My frustration as a teachercame about when. computer skills. and core coursesmay be integrated so that students enroll in combined skills courses such as reading/writing. Term length ranges from 8-16 weeks. Non-American readers need to be aware that language teaching in the US may vary from what is usual in the British and European tradition.

downplayedexplicit vocabularyinstruction. I headed to the library for some help and stumbled almost serendipitously upon the notion of collocation. How can teachers help their students feel lesslike sisyphuspushinghis stone up the hill as they study vocabulary? current approachesreflect a shift in thinking.with the notion that students could learn vocabulary implicitly. I have changed my approach to teaching vocabularyin my readingand writing classes.Integrating collocation 7l their new vocabulary incorrectly when they moved from receptive to productivelanguage. The communicative approach to languageteaching.L2leamers are at a tremendousdisadvantage when one comparestheir vocabulary to that of nativespeakers.a word I had previouslynever heard of. As my knowledge and understanding collocationhas grown.When thesereading and writing tasks are given to non-nativespeakers. and then respond to the readings in writing.This approach mimics the typical interactionwith the English language that future graduate or undergraduatestudents will encounterat the university.that this was preciselywhere I and my studentswere stumbling. popular in the uS in the 1970sand 1980s. using a variety of discourse types. often grouped thematicallyaround a particular content area such as .Nation If and othersestimate sizeof a native-speaker the undergraduate student's active vocabulary (words used in speech and writing) at 20.I would like to describe how this gradualchangecameabout. crow estimates much greaterpassivevocabulary 60. we aredefiningvocabularyasjust individual words. Teachingand Leaming vocabulary. The proverbial light bulb went on.can certainly seetheir point. the inaccuracy of some of the 'guesses'.or 'society and aging'. its disregard for .work and careers. I struggledto remedy what wasn't working in my As classes. 4. I recognized from a description of collocations that was included as part of Nation's book. testingand trying methodsthat haveresultedin more accurate language productionby my students.and sharesomepracticalways to implementpracticeand training in collocationswithin existing cunicula. a typical one in the united States. In fact.even to thosewhoselanguageis quite 'advanced'. our program teachesreading and writing as an integrated course. Students read articles or texts.2 The need to build vocabulary As do many American IEPs today..000words _ for a this sameaverage student.and we teachers most of us secondlanguagelearnersat some point in our own lives . to in In the context of our IEP.but importantways as well. naturalresponse for students bemoantheir lack of a is to vocabulary. Sokmen has describedhow this approachmet with several problems relating the slowness rhe merhod to of and the raleof acquisition. my overall of approach teachinghas changed somesubtle. Since that time.000to 100.000 words.but eventhe most conservative estimateof nativespeaker vocabularyis enoughto be discouraging every ESL student. guessing and inferring from rich context.

I felt destined for success.while not advocating total abandonmentof inferring from context. others study vocabulary in context in teacher-createdlists based on the readingsthe students in class. booksbasedon roots and affixescan help students makeeducated guessesat the meaningsof new words. Some teacherschoose vocabulary builder books basedon word-lists. supporlsthe notion that some systematic.72 Integratingcollocatton individual abilities and learning styles. with the added benefit of helping students who strugglewith English spelling patterns.explicit study of vocabulary is vital to gaining language proficiency. do With limited time one can see the efficiency of studying high-frequency vocabulary. In-contextstudy of vocabularyencountered in reading has the well-known advantagesof point-of-need relevance to the student.evenif the students scoredwell on passiveskills exams. our IEP has in recent years made it an explicit part of the reading and writing curriculum. Instead. dependingon the teachers'preferences and the students'proficiency levels. fill-in-the-blank.It can. when they tried to actually use the new vocabulary. With good books.real-life examplesof usage. Interestingly. Recent research. laudably. but how to go aboutit. etc.back to the middle: implicit and explicit learning.the lack of retention of the new vocabulary. which is a valuable reading skill in its own reassuringto studentsto know that medicine and medical have the sameroot spelling of medic. some choosebooks basedon roots and affixes. 4. and especially. Here are some sentences that were produced by studentsin our IEP after they had received explicit vocabulary instruction for the underlined words: .As Sokmenconcludes: The pendulum has swung from direct teaching of vocabulary (the grammar-translationmethod) to incidental (the communicative approach)and now. perhapsbecauseit has the initial appearance being somethingreassuringly of concretein the complex world of secondlanguageacquisition. something often went disappointinglywrong. with ample opportunities for studentsto practice the vocabulary through incontext cloze exercises.3 Explicit vocabulary study Recognizing the imporlance of explicit vocabulary study. The meansof achievingthis vary.and natural.the students have always been enthusiastic about explicit vocabulary study. for example. even though one would not be able to guessthis from the way the words arepronounced. motivated students. The vocabularybooks I have used have been for the most part well-written. All of thesechoiceshave their advantages.matching.and plenty of practice. The question today is no longer whether or not to teach vocabulary explicitly.

andmay learn that 'the meaning'of toxic is poisonous.4 The missing link: collocation The reasonthat 'we don't usuaily use it that way. weil. and u -or" theoretical perspective. and in that regard was successfulin language production. discussed more detail. to avoid the non-standard/unacce ptabretoxic explainedwith the idea of collocation.t toxic meanpoisonous?I wourd give a response along the lines of. which left both of us feering fiustrated and dissatisfied. and certainlya goal of the college-bound students themselves.word choice.nor.with Ferrari and the other does not.But croesn. A Ferrari is a verTW[e]xt:car My usual response production elrors of this type was to to give the student partial or half credit because they had obviously understoodlhemeaningof the words despitethe awkward sentences. and the sentencesproduced by our IEp studentsare good examplesof the probrem. or how it might be preciserydefined. However. and both are adjectives. Sometimes wrote . . I on their paper. Elsewherein this book different kinds of collocations. equaily is easyto seeimmediately that collocations may be ol several differenttypes: verb + object disputefindings adjective + noun wnuccompanied mino. and in this regard we were not always successful.Integrating collocation 73 Be careful. one of the objectives of the course. That snake is toxic. The same is true for the potent Ferrari. 4. when a student asked. Wewill sever this class becauseit is too larpe.what is collocation? you might get a different definition from everylinguist you askedbecause terminologyis not yet fixed. was to increase the accuracy of their production. but we don't usually use it that way. I should point out that the student obviously had communicatedthe intendedmeaning.all of that informationneitherhelps the studentto produce the expected poisonows snake. one meaning of potent is powerful. I have found it easier to work with this very simple definition: Two or more words that tend to occur together(collocate). severecr c/ass is another coilocation enor. hear oUorl adverb + adjective + noun highly irregular situation Smadja points out that why these words occur together cannot easily be explained on semantic grounds.but one does go collocate . Similarry. Retuming to the toxic snake we can see that although the student may learn the grammatical collocation of adjective+noun.indicating the error type. are in Even with my simpledefinition. The three student-produced sentences incorrect because are they containcollocationerrors. verb + preposition engagein. but don't at this stagewo''y too much about what collocation is. yes.

5 The need for guidance from the teacher For the study of collocations to be successful. When one realizes that native speakersnot only know an enormous number of individual words. for amorous and suggestive. Not all vocabulary effors are collocation errors. I have found it helpful to conceptualize collocations on a continuum like the one below. This is demonstrated the way most native speakerswould automatically add exactly the samewords to complete thesephrases: sibling . I treat as collocations those items that appearin the middle of this continuum. when the collocatescan vary a great deal. teachersneed to make a pedagogical.btrtto . I hope I will be vetj amorowswith them. or strong ones which are very unusual. knowledge of acceptable and unacceptable by collocations is largely instinctive.or weak. When I have children.rather than theoretical decision.It may have seemeddifficult enough for our studentsto learn the word sibling. those which hold high priority in the context of the curriculum. the burden of theL2leamer suddenly seemseven greater. nor would fixed expressions idioms llke throw in the towel. Some are substitutionor contextual errors. friendly dog oM car strongcffie weaker heavysmoker sibling ivalry stronge Starsand Stripes mitigatingcircumstances throw inthe towel 'treatsas'collocations. Ed] 4. and correspondingly probably not appropriate for most learners (reducedto penury). and recording every collocation they meet. but they also know much more about how thesecombine. and Owr trainers are vety helpful and suggestlve. the teacher has the responsibility to direct leamers' attention to the most useful collocations. This is wise.In 'obvious' answerswhich fact. using the wrong word with the wrong meaning. and weakercollocationsto the left. or collocate. units made of freelycombining words llke friendly dog or old car would not be treated as and collocations.the presenceof one word means you strongly expect the other word to be there too . tt is quite difficult to think of alternativesto the are plausible and likely. or the wrong context.74 Integrating collocation For the native speaker. Some examples of vocabulary effors of this type produced by our students are. We should also discourage students from going overboard. Collocations may be strong . ratherthan getting [Janetalks of what she involved in long discussionsof what exactly is and is not a collocation. mitigating You almostcertainlyselected sibling rivalry andmitigating circumstances. with stronsercollocationsto the risht.These students simply learned the wrong meaning. On such a continuum. This means they must be discouragedfrom recording very weak items (nice house.good vacation).

is evidence that ESL students need additional. Once explained. collocation has often been a source of student e[or. combinedwith the 'word choice. if not more.000-word vocabulary forms onry the rudimentary base of the native speaker's mentallexicon.collocation' Collocationsexist in the students'L1. so. and recycling high-priority vocabulary into classroom materials and activities.. explicit instruction in collocations. few textbooks for ESL students address collocations .will not take care of itself . Bzl why don't Americans say 'mitigating situations'? I can answer with ways classroom teachers assisttheir students taking control of this part can in of theirlanguage learning. some teaching suggestionsfollow that can help students understand the idea of collocationand enablethem to use collocations their advantage buildins to in their mental lexiconsin a systematic way.This. just like their native language. it really is not difficult for them to understand the concept. incorporating. l.errorsthe L2 leamers make. and some that do not. Teach students the word .6 Nlake students aware of collocation In someways. more researchand resourcesthan ever are available help the classroom to teacherspecificallyaddress collocation the 'problem'. you can save a great deal of class time by using the term when appropriate. 4. in part due to technological advances. except for studentsof extremely limited proficiency. and points out the pedagogic necessity of deliberately selecting.we suddenly realize the 20. to collocations which students lesslikely to notice unlessguidedtowardsthe are importanceof collocationby their teachers. Adapt books to include collocations currently.Swan reminds us that vocabulary .Today.Integrating c ollocation t3 learn also that native speakerstrsesibling rivalryt and do not generally use sibling competitiottmakesthe task even more daunting. It is helpful to remind them that. it is a relief to bring collocationsout of the closet. Instead of feeling frustrated and a bit ineffectual when a studentasks me. despite contextualizedpresentationof new vocabulary.the classroom teacher has to consider the questionofjust how to go about the explicit teachingof collocation. This point applies just as much.the English language has some words that go together. After the intrial Aha!feeling one has when realizing how much collocations come to bear upon language. to speak.

He handledthe private matter with completediscretion.] It's a portable size for recording vocabulary.76 Integratingcollocatnn Modifying and adaptingexisting books is a good solution. [used for taking US but if desired. authority. Ed. scrupulous (adj) (relatingto honesty. exactness) John deals with the accountsand he's's also possibleto check someof the corpus-based references mentionedbelow. and then for the remainder of the course. Context and Collocation.whenever we work specifically on vocabulary. and this can be accomplished fairly easily.. handle sth with -. What works especiallywell for this purposeis a stenographer's notebook. Word discretion (n) Special context? (caution/privacy.the following is a sampleof somecontext and collocation information I gave to some students using Goodman's Advancing VocabularrySkills. and also comes ready-made with two columns thal are ideally suited to record context and collocation in their respectiveplaces. on the blackboard.When I first stafiedpresentingnew words with only the collocations. noun: . I have found it useful to presentto the students'the two C's' of context and collocaflon. have students adapt them. use -. leaveto sb's show adj: complete/total/utmost- Thereare no servicechargesaddedto the bill. Students can make notationsabout frequentcollocationsnext to the word lists.For example. During one of the first class meetings. Thejob applicantswere hired at the discretionof the hiring committee. I model how to record the context and collocation of each word.attention fairness. Context and collocation notebooks Within the specific area of vocabulary building. following the initial word entry and definition. Tip at your discretion.this did not always help them avoid pitfalls with new vocabulary becauseindividual words and multi-word items can operate within a restricted context as well as with particularcollocates.. a book for native speakersand leamers which we have at times used in our advancedreading and writing class.remark I wish Bill wowldstop makingfacetiowsremarks. and write the relevantnotations under eachheadins as we work down the list. 3. For .I write the two headings.often negative) noun: . facetious (adj) (flippant . judgment) Collocations at your/someone'sdiscretion verbs: exercise.If using vocabulary-builder booksbasedon wordlists or roots and affixes. Teachers should feel confident in supplying frequent collocations from their own knowledge of the English lexicon.

economic ties. treasure. If you say the latter. othergood ESL corpus_ or based dictionaries in which the example sentences. In ever heard.what kinds of things are .Integrating collocation 77 somewords I might only note a restrictivecontextand no collocations. sob. students will see . (a vicarious thrill. there is every chancea studentwill hear or read it the next day!) 4. cherish. Sometimes.for two reasons. haveno notationin either column. students come to understandthat the English lexicon is not an open system. while the HATE domain might include detest.for exampiethe LovE domain might include adore.the gruesome limbs. tvhimpe4 howl. despise. heads). suggestedby Hollisky and including weep. and.basedon a 'parent'domain.(A word of advice: it is much saferfor a teacherto tell students:I rJon't think I.what kinctsoJ things are (severed)? (the connectionwith. shed tears. Information about collocations can be obtained from a collocation dictionary like the LTp Dictionarv of seleited Collocations. books basedon domain vocabularyprovide a good basisfor training and practicein collocation.loathe. my notation under the collocation column may be as simple as the preposition that follows an adjective (adept at). Add a question when first presentinga new vocabulary item.this is becausethe particular word might combine freely with other words. or from examples in the vocabulary book. automatic routine for studentsand teachersthat is effective in helping studentstransfer itemsto theirlong-term memories. For other words. bellow. which I usedherefor manyentries. 5.and teachers should point out explicitly .sometimes slightly modified (rather than the definitions) can be ideal for this purpose.experience). . or it may be severalcommon phrases frequently associatedwith that particular word.when they learn a domain such as cRY. First.that than No.This simple questioning is especially effective as a reinforcing technique in subsequent lessons. teacherscan ask. pleasure. Though probably not intendedto.what kind of things are (potent)?(drinks.All it tat<es to durins subsequent encounterswith the vocabulary item is a quick repeat of thl question . ? rt can become an easy.I can also use my own knowledge of English to provide collocation information to the students. . chemicals. you can't say that when the classencounters questionable a collocation.thaLwords with similar meanings are frequently not . like any other teacher. I where do I get my information? context I can suppry myself.and ensuresthat the studentshave the repeatedexposure to the collocations necessary fix them in their memories.a mixture) collocations can be elicited from the studentsor provided by the teacher. Select vocabulary textbooks that use domain vocabulary By domain vocabulary I mean the study of different vocabulary items with looselythe samemeaning. by observing the lexical variety related to a single concept.

the authorspresentthem in context. Amble. They like to have moderufurniture or read about current events. This domainprovidesan ideal opportunity to point out that we don't say old histoty or antique history. events old antique ancrent new recent cuffent modem T T furniture T T history ideas movles T + T ? T ? T T T T + T ) + + + T . This is also an excellent way to review and practice. Ihe standardexpression ancient historlt. the way that domain vocabulary books are arrangedaround a particular concept provides an ideal set-up for adding studyof collocalion. I haveaddedthe italics to showthe collocations.the teachercan simply point out the collocations. class. verbs and objects. Thesecan be by done for many groups of words with similar or related meanings. Stroll (Levels 1 and 2. Second. Hollisky et al. we say cwrrenteventsand is recentevents. Using the OLD-NEW domain from the previous example. which is crucial to retention.Do you prefer old or new movies? Are you interested ancientor modern history? in The underlined words are those selected for presentationby the authors. etc. Some of them like to buy expensive antique fwmiture and others enjoy reading books about Julius Caesarand other leaders from ancient history.Some of them only go to the most recent movies. and for different kinds of grammatical pairs such as subjects and verbs. a One series I particularly admire is Walk. One such activity. the grid might look like the one below.the teacherneedsonly supply the blank grids after modelling the first unit. often with collocations: Many people are interested in old things and events which happeneda long time ago. In thesebooks.78 Integrttting colloctttion collocationally interchangeable. we do not saynew events Dependingupon the goalsof the but . Similarly.). suggested Channell.or createadditional exercises and activities specifically geared to practicing and retaining the a collocationgrid.when the words relatedto basicconcepts such as the OLD-NEW domain are introduced. Other people are more interested in new things and new ideas. and the studentscan complete the grids with the collocations they discover in each chapter. adjectivesand nouns. If using a domain vocabularybook in class.

(manwfactured. I would pull out the 'vocabulary' that was important to that particular subject.thowghtup. was . Later.the Two C's of contextand collocationoperatein domain vocabularybooks.Srrollbooks follow the introductionof each domain with sentencecompletion practice that frequently reinforces collocation. .or as a class.useful vocabularyfor the students'reading and writing.) of Again. rather than use a vocabulary builder textbook.too. but in nearly every case had lists of expressions ..However. leamer autonomy.Integrating collocation 79 The Walk.At this juncture. If it is important. and an interesting thing happened. in China.the oldestuniversityin the US. Some examplesfrom the BUILD domain: Paperwas first . For some words (whimpea sob. I include it. Because ESL reading and writing books are commonly organized thematically aroundsubjects such as'the workplace'. constructed) Harvard. the teachercan model the kind of list neededby making a list of vocabularyand collocations for a thematic unit.manufactwred.Amble. I soon noticed that I was not generatinglists of important words. (fuunded. Again. in 1636.multiword units that I cameto recognizewere often collocations. weep).Working through each unit. and make lists for the students.collocation is not the only area of interest. 6. the components the collocationoccur quite widely separated. we must remember. or analyzeir any other way. Here are two examplesof the lists I made using the ideasof 'prisons'and'the workplace': . Train students to observe and note collocations in reading One semester choseto study vocabulary'words' in context in my reading I and writing class. I do not for woffy whether a phrasefits a particular definition of collocation. produced) Teachers can mimic this techniqueof forced-choice practiceof collocations with any words the class might be studying. . from their BUILD domain: When was your country establishedas an independentcountry? Did a personor group of people/oundyour countryT Has your country'ssystemof governmentchanged very much sinceit was first organiled? (Italics mine. and to note and use these expressionsin their writing.or'prisons'this can present an ideal opportunity to train studentsto observecollocations in their reading.on this occasion. and note particularlythe last examplewhere. Hollisky et al take this reinforcement one step further in their questions for discussion or writing. . context is much more important than collocation. students can generate the lists themselves. . At first.

described below. These chunks improve the fluency and accuracy of the English students produce. 7.but by simply calling students' attention to the collocations in the readings. This can be accomplished without changingtextbooksor even modifying the course.80 Integratingcollocation Prisons prrsonsentence corections officer prison-issue clothing self-helpcourses kill time re-entryinto society doing time alternative sentence prison capacity The workplace mental challenge prospective employees job autonomy hourly wage straight salary employee turnover incentiveschemes unskilledworkers extemal recognition The single most important thing for teachers. you might first want to do a pre-writing exercise and in this context.quality time. studying them as a paft of a vocabulary list. so the above-mentioned technique is easily adapted to reinforcing collocations writing.working outsidethe home. and repeating and reinforcing them in writing assignments. for a writing assignmentwhich doesn't follow a reading selection. note on the board and discuss the meaning of expressions llke: physicalwell-being.etc.where students will haveto use the expressions order to answerthe question: in Are alternative sentences a good idea when prison capacity has reached its maximwm? Are self-help coursesofferedto prisoners in your counttj before their re-entry into society? Alternatively. Collocations in writing Writing is frequently taught as an integrated course with reading in many IEPs. When teachers in give writing assignments basedon the readings.more than worrying whether or not somethingis a collocation. this can be discussed with students before they begin writing.1 For example. family. Teachers also ensure can that students thesenew expressions use by giving short 'forced choice' writing and discussion assignments. womenin the workforce. to shift their and their students'focusaway from individual words to chunks of language.emotionalwell-being.teacher-child . high turnoverof pre-schoolteachers. child-careworkers. [Morgan Lewis makesthe samesuggestion. double-income ratios. they can review with their students a list of collocations and expressionsthat are important to accurately expressingthe ideas relevant to the topic.teacherscan quickly preparea short list of common collocations and phrases used in the context relevant to that assignment.if you were going to haveyour students write an essayaboutthe pros and cons of child day care.

perhaps tiom their bilingual dictionary . put off by his word .the pragmatic and functional notions previously referred to .though. and The teachingsuggestions et the end of their book provide recommendations having stuJentspractice for 'useful invariablephrases'commonly used in written discourse. I assuredhim that was not at all asound way to approach improving his English. of a student_ tiiendly phrase that is another version of Lewis' decoding and encoding. Interestingry. one particular traineeaskedif I could give him 'a list of expressions can memorize I and use.Those who teach academic English in an IEP can benefit their students in the same way.memorize. w o u r d y o u m i n d i f g ? r. ..puts collocations at the forefront of its language work.telephoningfor information. certainly the relevant books and training materials emphasize lexical phrasesas a matter of course.Though I remain primarily a teacher of academicEnglish in an IEF. ". A writing lesson from ESp/Business English when our IEP firsr branched out to include ESp (English for Specific Purposes)programs for corporate clients. my first experiencewith businesstraineeswas an eye-openingone. patterns . as we worked throughour language units on negotiating. Relatedto this. . etc. The market Jirst e-rperienced sharp drophlight decline/remainedstable. at the appropriateplace and time.Students and can improve the accuracy their writing if they are taughtto . Perhapsthe very nature of ESp and businesstraining . Typical examples were: I'll get back to yow thing tomorrow. by calling :tudents' attention to the 'useful expressions'of academic writing and speaking.a dictionary or ref'erencethat includes collocation information such as those given below is necessary to find out how to use it accurately. .[ntegrating collocation 81 8.? He's tied up at the moment. to emphasizingthe functional and pragmatic nature of English to a much greater degree. 'Look it up twice.and teachers can attest to the mangled constructions confusingmeaningsthat often result.describingtrends. Students writing in or translating a second language rely heavily on dictionaries and thesauruses. as my institution employs specialized trainersfor corporateclients. Hoey's book.some with ''ariableslots that students can fill in. once they have found the basic word they want to use in writing .clarifying.rreaTizedthat we were in fact presenting lexical phrases collocations.The traineewho askedfor usefulexpressions was not so far off the mark. and envisioningsome sort of mechanicaltraveler'sphrasebook that would build no actual languageproficiency.look it up twice'. the academicEngrish we were accustomed teachinghad to be modified to meet the needsof the trainees.and asking our traineesto practiceand retain them. 9.Nattinger and Decarrico have written about exactly this concept in :heir book Lexical Phrctses LanguageTeaching. Is that everything? a C o u l d w e o o v e r t h a t a g a i nL e t m e c o n f i t m .

. along with instruction in the general conventionsof summary writing. . . classifiescollocation as the second of two types of lexical cohesion (the first being various types of reiteration). which requires internal citations. . they fell out of favor with many teachersduring the era of the communicative approach to teaching. demonstratesthe cenfal role lexis plays in cohesion. . Cohesionin English. When we address the importance of objectivity in research papers. Though concerned at first that these approaches might soundtoo 'canned'or formulaic. Similarity/comparison strikingly similar in like manner Difference/contrast: Conclusion in marked contrast draw a conclusion a fundamental difference jump to a conclusion the logical conclusion on the contrary a hasty conclusion ln summarv . John Doe disputes (that) suggests (+ phrase) discwsses nown points out that (+ clawse) These same verbs prove useful later on when we introduce the documented research paper. arepresented the students for to practice. I have my studentspractice with a list of commonly-used phrases and verbs: that (+ clause) contends maintainsthat (+ clause) the addresses issueof (+ noun phrase) (+ noun phrase) In his/her article/book etc.and an earlierbook by Halliday and Hasan. I have beenpleasedwith the resultsin the students'writing. How could this work in the IEP classroom?Teacherscan give their students shortcutsto more fluent and natural academicwriting by having them practice the 'collocationsof writing'. Recentfindings support . .. even acrosssentence boundaries and over distances with texts. . These ideas are certainly not new... and pleasantlysurprisedat how well they are able to adapt the phrases their own writing topics. .A few examples follow. but... etc. To make a point. Theyhad a craly idea that. much like the explicit teaching of vocabulary. h has beendetermined . . to I have also successfully incorporatedcollocationsand lexical phrasesin the writing curriculum by introducing and having students practice the multiword items that indicaterelationships betweenideas. When teachingthe common academictask of summary writing for example. teacherscan emphasize any such phrases as appropriate for their students' proficiency.82 Integrating collocation of Lexis in Text. . neutral phrases such as: Evidencesuggests . . we also light-heaftedly compare them to biased phrases suchasEverybodyknowsthat. by . Supportfor this point existsin .

I by so systematic testingof vocabularyshouldinclude collocations. teachers know from experiencethat there must first be systematic. Fortunately. 1. Estimates of the number of times a student needsto meaningfully encountera new word range in the researchfrom 5 to 7. 2. or the new information will not be retained. Listed here are some of the review and testing exercisesI have used in my classroom. meaningful contact with them.meaningful practice.mentioned above. The brightest of studentswill not be able to recall and use new words without repeated. a race. Where . they need to be held accountablefor knowing how it is used. or as either competitive or collaborative teams working for both speedand accuracy. tests and practice exercises. Convincingstudents that they don't really 'know'a word until they know how job. Additions to tests for vocabulary-builder textbooks Vocabularytests often only ask studentsto know a word's definition.and many resources exist to help teachersproduce qluizzes. and students can complete them again. and consider in which ways their review work complements their students'various leaming styles. either as an individual review. is especially good for review when a class has already completed a grid once. It it operates with other words and contextsis also part of the teacher's can be difficult to wean studentsfrom the idea that Ll word = L2 word and word = definition. though classroomteachersare probably not sulprised by this. they might also want to consider current researchon learning styles. to make a studentacceptthe notion that there is more to knowing a word than knowing its basic definition. with the twin goal of giving students additional. These can also be enjoyable and game-like . Whether teaching the multiplication tables or collocations.this is not difficult to accomplish.Integratingcollocation 83 Agree/disagree Listing/enumeration generalconsensus another/yetanother unanlmous agreement in a number of wavs out of the question Cause/effect leadsto resultsin unexpected result or finding 4. meaningful contact with the words. particularly in this instant-gratification age of computers and electronic dictionaries. Collocation grid This technique.and can be accomplishedwithout overly stressingstudent or teacher. teachers As adaptand createtheir own techniques. Telling a student that something is important is not enough.7 Review and testing As our understanding of the human memory grows.A new grid can be supplied. the importance of repetition and reinforcement can't be over-emphasized.Teachers hold students accountable testingthem.many of them matching exercises.

collocation error can causegreat difficulty. The student must provide the correct collocationor multi-word unit. (Wewill severthis classbecawse is too large. Crossout the word which doesnot belong in the group: potent caf potent drink. Backwards vocabulary test Use this technique in a reading class where a list of expressionsand collocations has been generatedby the class for a thematic or content-based unit. virtual reality. This is especiallyvaluablein helping students retain their reading vocabulary. . This is a fine task for native speakers. usually arrangedas an annual contract? (a straight salary) What collocation means competition between brothers and sisters? (sibling rivahlt) 4... For matching For all levels:matchingcolumnsof collocations(passive exercises other than those designed to test material already learned. potent drwg.. askingthem to supply collocations: the For the following words.. 3.. and doesnot eam commission.. skill). Putting the most ambiguousexamplesfirst makes the whole activity more like a frustrating guessinggame than useful review and testing. so that the whole practice gets easieras students work through it.84 Integrating collocation applicable.potentdrwg.Again..we as native speakers havebeenaskedto the following vocabulary words in sentenceswhich demonstratetheir meaning'.but is paid a fixed wage..potent weapon Advancedlearners: more activetask. potent .)The teacherpreparesa set of longer descriptions or explanations. harsh reality. this is where the teacher'srole in selectinghigh priority. which may actually be above.) it . 'use Sincechildhood.. Producing example sentences 'vocabulary sentences' Require only more advancedlearnersto write and then hold them accountablefor using correct collocations.. it is usually best to have the strongestcollocationsfirst. useful collocations ls lmportant. The more ambiguous examplesshould come later.For example: What collocation or phrasemeansa method of payment in which a worker is not paid by the hour. 'Odd one out': Intermediate leamersor above.... with the added dangerof reinforcingenors. reality -face reality. (See number 6 in the section Make students aware of collocations 'definitions'.potent weapon.. add one or more words with which it might be expected occur: to . but when teachers require this of second languagelearners.add questions that elicit collocationsthe classhas studied.

Advanced level students who are askedto write sentences with vocabulary that hasbeenstudiedshould be expected use it correctly. Edl Finally.cobuild.when studentsuse databases search or engines on the I haveusedis Cobuild Direct which on is an on-line service for accessinglanguage data based on the Bank of English.suggests that collocationalknowledge increases along with language proficiency. The differences between British and American English. and regional variations of certain expressionsmight also be more easily explained by a local native speaker. cross-outand fill-in the blanks. Much of the collocation information that studentsneed in the classroom is readily available from the teacher's own mental lexicon. Therefore. . collocations.Integrating colloccttion 85 Preliminary research.their own personal databases. they have a greatdeal ofknowledge about collocations . 5. Thoseinterestedcan try a which containsone are part of a useful collocation. for lower-level students. like traditional dominoes. when explaining collocations in the classroom. After learning about Expensive computer programs and well-stocked reference libraries are nice.8 Concordancesfor teachersand students computer technologyhasprovidedlanguage learnersand teachers with some excellentresources collocations. is betterto testpassive it vocabularyand collocationskills with tasks such as matching.and word frequency are available from the corpus. but not vital to the introduction of collocation in the classroom. The cards can be re-used and presented again to the same studentsfor more review. they may discover on their own some frequent collocations related to a particular topic. Encouragethem to observeand note those collocations. 4.though to match the two parts. searching tools are point and click.The relevant arlicles are an extremely useful resource for leamers to find the particular collocations they need. produced by one of our studentsis: 11lsLong Island lced rea [a cocktail] was vetj potent. Collocations Dominoes Teamsor pairs of students given setsof cards. Extraction of concordances. The information is available [at the time of writing] on the Cobuild website at http://www.teachersshouldn't forget that.I no longer give my to advancedstudentshalf-credit for a potent Ferrari.particularly if they will be writing about these subjects. [Michael Hoey explains on p 238 how an informational text is a kind of disguised concordance. not potent. car. as fluent speakers ofEnglish. A successfulsentence.collins.You don't need a computer program to tell your studentsto say that a Ferrari is a powerful.If we have studiedpotent.

My primary coursegoals of helping students improve to their reading. by incorporating the study of collocation into their traditional vocabulary work.but I have found it more than anything to be a change of attitude. Reading. writing and vocabulary have not changed significantly. and. authentic sources of collocations. I no longer disparage'useful phrases'and collocationsas shortcutsunworthy of'real' languageteaching. teacherscan emphasize. they are able to produce language that is more natural and accurate. in particular.chunks .of contextand collocation. strong collocations can be highlighted everywherewe find them both in plannedreading and in language which comes into the classroom serendipitously. It is up to the teacherto call students' attention to these useful collocations. Part of teaching collocation includes training students to use available resourceswhen they move from receptiveto productive language. Teachersin IEPs can apply the ideas in modest ways. and notebooks can be kept by studentsto record context and collocation information.86 Integ rating c ollocation 4. useful. practice them in a regular.more than they .9 Conclusion The English lexicon is not an open system. and hold students accountablefor them through testing and in their written language production.If teachers present collocations in a matter-of-fact. Existing vocabulary-builder books can be modified to include information about collocations. adding the study of collocation to the curriculum does require a little extra effort on the part of already-busy teachers. are rich.Realizing this through my own frustrations in the classroomhas changedmy overall approachto teaching in some subtle ways. listening and speaking materials. particularly those used by IEPs which follow a thematic or content-basedapproach. this attitude is picked up by the students.and work to help them leam and retain them. In the context of ordinary lessons.In larger ways. systematic manner. Teachers'attitudesin presentingcollocations can affect whether their students perceivethem as useful.particularly writing.It has been my impressionas an ordinary classroomteacherthat thosestudents often dubbed'good at learninglanguages' in fact unusually are good observersof language.They are also correspondinglybetter able to expresswhat they wish to. Until textbook writers addressit explicitly. and by providing training in the use of collocation references to improve their students' productive language.I call my students' whenever attentionto multi-word units . necessary information or as just one more thing to learn in their seeminglyendless tasksas language leamers. but possible.but recognizehow much they come to bear on language production.of language. When studentsleam that it does indeed matter 'what word goes with what' and have the tools to discover this information on their own.positive way. which is itself a satisfying achievement. as if they were no more unusual than parts of speechor word forms.

cambridge University Press.1998. J. (1994). M. does collocationform part If of that feedback ? To what extentdo you think faults in your learners'written work are caused by: . Teaching & leaming vocabulary. New york: Newbury House. (1993).). Hollisky et al. (1995). Cro% J.MA: Heinle & Heinle. Schmitt In and M.R. (1990). particularly essays? so. Nattinger. R. ambie.38. M.s. Hove. (1997). EA.with an eye toward their 'big picture' effect on the English language. T. England:LanguageTeachingpublications. stroll.Walk. I. amble. & Hasan. (1989).A. A. M. N. (1986). Swan. Nation. Ievel 2 Bosron. Regardlessof the approach to collocation. not knowing the correct collocation? ' writing long.Seattle.P. (Eds. Nation. not knowing a (single)word that they need? . I. level 1. perhapsincluding grammarmistakes. to IAIEFL Conference Report. M. & Decarrico. Literary and linguistic computing.S. England. (Ed.our goal as teachers remainsthe same:to empowerour students as languagelearners. Lewis.K. England: Language Teaching Pubiications. grammaticallycomplicatedexpressions. NJ: PrenticeHall Regents. current trendsin teachingsecondlanguagevocabulary. Lewis.London & New york: Longman. Oxford: Oxford University press.s.163-168. (1992).New ways in teachingvocabulary.Walk. Cohesionin English. (1996) Languageteachingis teachinglanguage plenary address IATEFL.Cambridge. EnglewoodCliffs. Hoey. Hove. Halliday.). J' (1981) Applying semantictheory to vocabularyteaching.MA: Heinle & Heinle.. M.4(3). (1991). (1997) Implementing the lexical approach: putting theory into practice. the collocations and multi-word units encountered naturally in all of their courses.Integrat ing collocation 87 might have previously done.1 DiscussionQuestions Do you see any advantages disadvantages separating or in vocabularyfrom other aspects language of leaming? Do you use a code indicating the type of error when providing feedback on learners'written work.vA: TESoL. .P. vocabulary: description. Hollisky et al. TESOL Convention.oxford: Oxford University Press smadja.English Language TeachingJoumal 35(2) lI5-122. (1976).Pattemsof Lexis in Text. J. Mccarthy. Boston. [This chapter is based on a presentation given at the 32nd.Lexical co-occulrence: The missing link.stroil. Vocabulary for advancedreading comprehension:the keyword approach.The lexical approach. Siikmen. acquisition and pedagogy. (1992) Lexical phrasesand languageteaching.because they do not know the appropriate multi-word expression? References channel. Alexandria. 34.

There is a detailed description of how one teacher.Here are a few.and then adopt classroomstrategies which constantlyremind learnersof the importanceof thesemulti-word items.The phrasalnatureof language can initially seemstrangeto learners. Many of the activities and exercises are particularly helpful in preparing learners for any more adyanced examination.the person who travels on the sametrain to and from work. The second. five days a week. Morgan Lewis and Michael Lewis This chapter begins by describing ways teachers have introduced collocation to their learners.The chapter then presents sample activities and exercises which can be taken into the classroom immediately. even if relatively infrequent.1 Introducing collocation to learners Learnersnaturally assume that the word is the basic unit of language. activitiesand exercises Jimmie Hill. Readerscan no doubt extend the metaphor and use it in different ways. But we also have relationshipswhich are frequent but unimportant . which have been usedsuccessfully teachers. and teachers need a number of different strategiesto introduce the idea to different kinds of leamers. bv 1. intense relationships which. the immediate one of practising new collocations and building learners'rnenfal lexicons.firstly.but. appropriatefor different groups of learners. . for example. some single words. not part of everyday life. activ ities and exercises s Chapter5 Classroorn strategies. creative encounter. There is also the one-nightstand .then. We all feel comfortable when we are sunounded by friends and acquaintances. however sadly. are the most important in our lives . It is essential.88 CLas room stratep ies. more long-term purpose is to make learners more aware of collocation as a powerful way of improving their ability to write precisely and well. Deborah PettS has introduced more collocational work for different kinds of classes. It discusses some general strategies for making your classroom approach more lexical.We have friendships of different kinds . 5.close. anxious in unfamiliar situations when we are surrounded but by strangers. which may be more exciting than any regular encounter. Words are like people Leamers may find it easy to understand the parallel between words and people. that teachersintroduce the idea of multi-word units to their learners. All the activities and exercises suggested have two purposes . The relationshipsbetween words closely resemble the relationships between people.loved ones who live abroad.a serendipitous one-off. but also a vast number of multi-word items. this but book is basedon a differentassumption that language storedin our mental is lexicons in different ways.

. who initially wanted to understandevery individual word and resisted the idea of translatingphrases.actiyities and exercise s 89 2. with examples. ' The same. the learner knew the collocation bear market and had no doubt that he could use it when speakingto other is enormouslyhelpful to have a view.As a result. and pointed out.himself a trained chemist . realisedthat if he knew a coilocation. of once he had beenpersuaded. like many students. such as an aeroplane.Classroom strategies.suggested Graham smith . A familiar example DeborahPetty reports on how a single examplepersuadedan adult one-to-one leamer. however..but with many of the smaller pieces already pre-assembled into recognisable chunks. Molecules An analogywith basic chemistry. The samebut with verbal and diagrammatic instructions. . he was not concernedto analysethe item. and the most helpful of all is unquestionably having recognisable pre-assembled chunks. feeling that it improved his ability to communicate." 3. Model aeroplanes Most learnerswill be familiar with the kits you can buy which provide all the small parts needed to build a complete and complex model. albeit rather imperfect.theyjust do. I had alreadyexplainedthat . or ask for an explanation. he initially wanted to know why particular words went togetherand othersdid not.he accepted othermulti-word items as 'that is what you say'much more readily. For once.he no He longer had to paraphrase as much.we did more collocationwork to which he responded very positively. the benefitsof a phrasalview of language. After this example.suchas wings. of the finished whole.may appealto older leamers with a scientific . soonrecognised benefits. improvement he noticedhimself. George woolard has suggested asking learners which of the following methodsthey would prefer to use if they had such a kit. was an example to which he could relate directly: he did not need. he made fewer surface effors .but with verbal instructions. The same. The parallel with producinglanguageis easyto see.needless by to say.but no instructionsand no picture of the finishedplane. that the same was true in German" Here. This was important because. The verbal instructions('grammarrules') areprobablylesshelpful than diagramsof how to assemble certainbits. I noticed that when he used collocations. and had to build the plane as quickly as possible: ' All the shereports: he the 'As a banker. simply accepting that it was the corect term.

learners are more likely to acquire new language so that it is availablefor spontaneous if it is incorporatedinto their mental lexicons as use an element of some comparatively large frame. Breaking things down too far and concentratingon the brand new rather than the relatively new. rather oversimplistically. are made of atoms. moleculesare of different kinds and if we imagine a molecule as a string of atoms. as it in no way mirrors what we now know about the organisation of the mental lexicon. situation or schema. of is 5. Researchevidence shows that both of these proceduresrepresentmissed . [See chapters and 8.and then the classmoves on to a new topic and a new talk. The analogy with words. and at worst actively unhelpful.while we moved on to a new essay. many learners are asked to make a short oral presentationto their the value of what we might call. at the ends of the string are different combinations which form potential 'hooks' which can connect the molecule to others which have appropriate'hooks'.or doing practices basedon individual decontextualised sentences at is best inefficient. have characteristicswhich make it possible for them to combine into larger stretches language.90 Classroom strategies. most of them spendtheir existence components molecules. 'doing the same activity more than once'.but most atoms do not wander around looking to make more complex as compounds.More interestingstill. Many of us rememberwriting essays school.2 General strategies It is increasingly clear that the tradition of presenting lexis as individual words. which combine in standardcollocations which. better ways of saying something.when the write-mark-file pattern was repeated. such as an episode of a soap opera. of recognisable combinations of atoms. closeand revealing.1 7 1.the teacher may provide correction. activities and exercises background.Al1 chemical substances. Similarly. however complicated. in turn.only for them to be retumed 'marked'and at for them then to be filed. 'The same thing twice' activates collocations One of the most interestingmethodologicalinsights of recent researchinto secondlanguageacquisition.Using larger units in class. Larger frameworks In general. 2. both contradict what we now know about the nature of language and acquisition. increasesthe possibility of leamers transferring items to their mental lexicon within these global organisingschemata. Grouping those sentences according to some arbitrary linguistic feature seems also to be counterproductive. possibly even discarded.

can produce real improvements in the lexical .with more advanced classes. and that the final version shows both grammatical and lexical improvement. this time restrictedto two minutes.Too often.This activity deliberately puts learnersin a situationwhere they are likely to producea lot of defectivelanguage. 2. 3. 4. 3. versionsof the same content.languageconsistsof grammaticalised lexis . In particular. The same studentthen gives the same talk to a different student in the particula-r collocational. The classroom is not the safe place where you do not make mistakes. teachersand learnersenter a kind of 'conspiracyof safety' where learners producesimple. ctctiv itie s and exerc is es 91 opportunities. but very simple. the studentgives the same talk a third time. Learners work in groups: one student in each group gives a short talk for four minutes to one of the others in the group. when so much of their attention was devoted to deciding the content of what they wish to say. this time restrictedto three minutes. that you will perform better. The researchevidenceshows conclusivelythat for most learnersthere is a measurable (statistically significant) improvement in fluency. Again with a new pafiner.and feel more confidentlater so in the real-worldsituation. leamersfind and recycle collocationsin the later versionswhich they could not retrieve from their memories at the first attempt. is It essential that teachers explainthe rationalefor this to learners.C las sroom strate Ri Reducingthe time limit has a similar effect. Repeating meanslearners havemore time to processthe language leadingto better collocationaluse and increasingthe chanceof the improved language being turnedinto long-termintake. Graham Smith has devised a powerful.4-3-2 minute talks In the case of spokenlanguage. Here is the basicprocedure: . changing partnersis important becausethe speakeris less inclined to add new information than they would be if talking to the same 'audience' again.quality of learners'production.tidy lessonbut get in such safety little may be either writing or speech. way of using the centralidea of the Lexical Approach. Rehearsal in safety This activity reverseswhat so often happens in classrooms.corect language and teachers a neat.encouraging speaker focus the to on better.the following procedurecan be extremely helpful in developinglearners'fluency: is safebecause is it the place where you can rehearse and make mistakes without serious consequences. changeof classroom a procedure giving feedbackthen asking learners to repeat the same task . more fluent.

and it must be made clear to the learner that a real description of what they would like to (be able to) say is all that . With pafiicular learners. This may be done as can help by providing input directlv relevantto learners'needs.but to try to write what they really want to say. The purpose is to require more and more detail which the learner cannot express. Expand the event PeterWilberg has suggested similar activity. then four and so askedto describe a singie sentencesomething(s)hedid recently.Graham reports his learners often produce what is. Finally learnerswrite a good copy.can havea major role the to play in converting input into intake. 5. least for most learners . The sentenceshould be as long as possible. and the focus is exclusivelyon the language usedto express content. although perhaps worth pointing out. help if generate extrabits of information. What they say must. 3.but emphasise to leamersthat mistakesin what they produce do not matter and encouragethem not to play safe. the correction of some surface srammar elTors. The learner then describesthe sameevent in two sentences. are . linking expressionsto arrangeand order the information naturally.research evidenceshowsthat redoing the activity when the content is already decided. 2. activities and exercis es 1.Thesevary accordingto the basicsentence. however. Allow time for this stageof the activity. If they find this difficult. Explain that the longer the sentence. a short paragraph. Then in event in that (s)he would like to be able to talk about.identify something they genuinely wish to talk or write about. to write a sentence containing the collocation. working alone or in small groups. 6. a It should not be necessaryto remind ourselvesthat these last.92 C las sroom English. or even in classa day or two later. in effect. 5. this is usually averb + (adjective)+ nowncollocation. and the bigger the mess they seemto get true. This often involves: more collocationswhich express ideasmore conciselythan the the often over-grammaticalised expressions leamershaveproduced. Once they have produced their sentences.As we saw above.the centralpulposeof which is a to diagnoselanguageneededby the leamerswhich they do not know.the least importantpart of the editing process. and then identify a single central collocation which expresses the basic topic.Wilberg originally devisedthe activity for one-to-one teaching. the more you will be able to help them with language they actuallyneed. The leamer. ask them to use a series of Wh-questions. but might be somethinglike: Who is it for? When did/will it happen?How often did it happen?Why was it a problem? etc. Ask learners. containing as much true and relevant extra information as they can add.or at least cannotexpress easily.

the unmarked. Much less amenable to classroom practice.are the most preciseand economicalway of expressing particular 'idea'.way of expressing idea. and sufficiently phrasal. many teachers brainstorrn suitable vocabulary as part of the preparation.or at leastof precise. then look for verbs and adjectives which collocate with the noun.This is because theseare rarely alternativeor better ways of expressing single both He ambled dotvn the street an:d ambled slowly down the street are He possible. however.mental lexicon.It should be immediately obvious that this process would generate more ideas.First collect nouns strongly associated with the main topic of the essay.ready-made. so that lack of a sufficientlylarge collocational a lexicon is the samething as a lack of ideas. Collocations are of different kinds. In preparing learners to write relativelycompletelexical form.activities and exercises 93 6. but more important for learners. if the brainstormingprocessincluded an explicit collocationalelement.ideas' it ls very closely associated with lack of a sufficiently large. In . the exploration of possiblecollocatesis also an explorationof ideascentralto the essaytopic. Adiective+ noun andadverb + verb collocations add meaning. are verb + noun collocations. then for adverbs which collocatewith the verbs. example for verb + noun (accept the owtcome. Instead. and not all are equally accessiblein the classroom. predict the fwture) or verb + adverb (struggleunceasinglyagainst).A learnerwho doesnot the know the expression will be unable to expressthe idea easily in English. -t|hile it may be true that many learnerscould not write well on similar topics in their own language. easily expressible is importantto realisethat many lexical collocations.This processshould produce a much largel and more phrasal preparatory list.Classroomstrategies.they are typically the firsta choice. is alsoimportantto rememberthat this lack of . the latter is merely more descriptive than the first. Equally importantly. In addition to the formal definition of collocation as words which frequently co-occur. Essaypreparation r:achers who prepare studentsto write essaysoften compl ain thatthe single :iost difficult problem is that learnerssimply lack ideasaboutwhich to write.

to this is simple and quick to do.If you have access the intemet. you needto go well beyondadjective+ noun combinations. for example. and some continued to feel threatened by extensivewriting tasks. The resulting product was stil1 unnatural.verb+ noun collocationsare central.actiyities and exercis es class this means leamers frequently say nothing. If you download a text. Many Cambridge course students. Many learners avoided rewriting the longer sentencesor paragraphs which we had talked about. although designed to encourage them. of while faithfully doing everythingelse requested them. This also applies to the kind of feedback you give learners after they have produceda pieceof writing. in other cases several alternatives. There may only be one natural choice. providing more collocationally-orientated suggestions. without even attempting to say what they would like to if they had the same linguistic resourcesin English as they have in their mother tongue. but to encourage learnersto seethat expandingtheir mental lexicons is at least as much to do with acquiringnew combinationsof words as it is with learning words which they have not met before. I returned their papers and gave them a moment to look at my comments while I listed selected errors on the board. stilted English and sometimesstill difficult to follow. before askins for corrections improvements.94 Clnssroom strategies. or say something they can say. The most effective way to do this is by deletingverbs from verb + noun collocationsand asking learners working in groups to think of as many words as they can which could go in the gaps. DeborahPettyexplainshow shechanged way the essays: sheprovidedfeedbackon her First Certificatestudents' "Writing is a difficult task and however well-motivated learnersare. failed to provide concrete practical help in actually improving their writing by. 7. I used a marking code and brief notes for error identification. possiblychangingthe meaningof the original text. In the past.the importanceof the teacher of this type. may be grammaticallyand lexically possible. combined with an encouraginggeneral comment at the end of a piece of writing. whrle at the same time introducing lexis which they may needfor their own essay. proactivelyproviding more collocations Hence. or This procedure concentrated too much on surface errors. One way of doing this is to find a text on the topic of the essayand use it to introduceuseful collocationsto the class. The idea is not to recreate the original text. knew about processwriting but had I . they find the idea of writing an extensivepiece daunting. postpone their first extensive for writing assignment many weeks. Essay feedback If you wish to build your learners'collocationallexicon. I realised that many of my comments. it takes only a few moments to create a cloze-type text by gapping the text.

the faster they become at writing.The more they write -a this way. which in turn providesthem with more communicative power.If there is a collocationwhich replaces learner'soften clumsy phrase. When I explained this. With this symbol I give the stronger member of the collocation. partly because practiceis lessstressful. . These have the exam-related bonus that the :iocedure producesa perfect final version.e-ricons. provide in full any collocationswhich they were If I unableto producecotrectly. of \lore effective. but now focus on meaning-basedrather than surface errors. learnersare no longer intimidated by the writing process. which is a useful revision tool j-tore the exams. all agreedto try the following procedure: Step 1 Studentswrite an initial draft which I read for meaning alone.I expected the procedure to reduce the number of written -issignments they produced. by being directed towards the stronger part of collocations. necessary. reading enlargestheir mental . noting anything which I don't understandor which puts a strain on the reader. They take away this first draft and reformulateit. Step 4 They take it away and write a third and final version. Step 2 I return their papers. A third substantialbenefit is that. more enthusiastic the they . This approach has severalbenefits.their first drafts quickly begin ro improve. ctctivities and ererc is es 95 hesitated use it because didn't want to overloadlearnerswho alreadvhad to I extensive English homework.I also give concretesuggestions ratherthan hints for any remainingsupra-sentential problems.The . . Any positive commentsrelateto specificlexical items. improves their ability to recognise chunks. alsobecause any but going throughall the stages more thoroughly acquaints them with how a more extendedpiece of writing is constructed. again for meaning and textual coherence. My studentswere generally positive to collocation work. Dri_qinally. and many of them actually ::quest additional increasesthe relevanceand memorability of any reformulation. so I decided to reduce the overall number of written assignments and introduce process writing with a collocational emphasis as a potential solution. they develop better nonolingual dictionary habits. .This has not been the case. I add a symbol they know means:Do you know a collocationto replace the wnderlinedwords? For a more difficult collocation I have a symbol which means:Simplify with collocation including .and I think the they know it.hole processis cyclical and improvementis self-perpetuating.The more we use the procedure..'. and therefore more enjoyable. Becausethe feedback is meaning-driven.Clas sroom strategie s.while the increased awareness chunksaidstheir reading.They become more aware of collocation as an essentialcarrier of meaning.Secondly. This in turn.Firstly. Step 3 I read the reformulated version.

This endorses other contributors to this book who report learners 'looking straight through' the text in front of them.the more I noticed how collocationally and lexically rich this contentlanguageis.recordingexactlywhat leamerslistenedagainfor the exact expressions they thought they heard. based business on 'useful She began using listening materials. even when they have used it is motivatingto be told you did something but also studentsare often unsure that somethingreally is correct.leamersheld the meeting. forms the basis of language. But still she remained convinced that something more was needed.while simultaneously following a transcriptof what was said.functions are often realisedby fixed expressions. and in a radical departnrefrom her previous practice. she asked the learners to listen balanced and collocations. activ ities and exercise s become. I experienceda certain amount of resistancefrom some students.Also noted were phrasesused correctly. she addedtwo stepsto her procedure. with the name of the well. Many times learners confirmed that they needed and appreciatedthis confirmatory feedback.or reformulating those they had misheard.however.ESP studentsneed their own content language as much in a rneeting as in any other situation. not grammar.95 Cla. which were used becauseof a missing and paraphrases misunderstanding. by most often represented adjective+ noun + verb collocations. she soon concluded that it representeda real methodological improvement. Many report that they believe it not only benefits their writing.which I recorded items which may result in on video. Secondly." 8.firstly leamers called out what they (thought they) had heard. without hearingexactly what was said. and the longer I worked with the idea that creating their own simulations. The classbrainstormed a topic and agendawere agreed. Once topics for a meetingand made a rough agenda. or understandingwhat was meant. Collocational feedback in businessEnglish whoseprincipal objective students with business She useda similar technique of a short. To aid exact noticing. personwho usedeachone. even though they understoodthe aim was to .intensivecourse is to make their English more effectiveas a result meelings.however. Within the framework of the content is lexical approach.vsroont strategie s. used. Doubtful at first of the value of this herself. Then I made notes of mis-collocations. but also their English overall.She lexical input involves both (semi-)fixed expressions and her describes dissatisfaction her new procedureas follows: the "spending time on expressions alonefails to address key problem . Many students. collocation. with the teachereither echoing their correct examples. After listening for content. who had little difficulty in understandingwhat had been said. had real difficulty in noticing the exact words. concentratingon the kind of expressions' with which teachers are familiar.

experimental. I've heard /hal. when I provide the correct must caffy the class rr.and to engagein and evaluate simple iorms of action research. or her students'dissatisfaction with the current procedure. erperimentation lead her to the conclusionthat feedbackshouldprobably has concentratenot on the entirely new. made me a more effective languageteacher.Many readers rLmost certainly do this already. All in all.however theoretically sound. who then create frameworks as before. I believe.concentrating largely on correct versions of language which I think they will already have met. theory. it does not always follow that they have fully internalised it.Their resistanceprompted me to make an important changeto the way the topics for the meetingswere chosen. they do the preparation for the other group.she involved the learners. rather than the more :raditional focus on grammar. however. If every teacher behaved in this a result of her own. These procedures are easily adapted to any exam or ESp group in which improved writing is one of the aims. it is surprising how often someone says oh.Classroom strategie activities and exercis s s. Thirdly. They also understoodthat I was trying to introduce the exact lexis they actually needed in those situations.explaining why she thought one approachor activity was better than another. in many different teaching situations. Resistancefrom the learners can invalidate. the -'hangesshe made were gradual.ith you. I follow up with a handout listing items containing wrong or cumbersome expressions.As every teacherknows.Now I divide even small classesinto two groups. or at least greatly diminish. '. the effect of any change. Now. . but on the half-known. Finally. but which has not yet been incorporatedinto their productive lexicon. Stress and pronunciation follow I finish by putting up a ffansparencywhich contains all the successful lexis. e 97 have meetings similar to those they participated in in real life.process writing with the emphasis on collocational input has proved a very effective addition to my range of skills. instead of having them prepare a meeting which they conduct themselves.many leamerswould feel the benefits. Developing a product for someone else engaged their interest both in preparing the task and while watchingthe othersholding their meetings. in introducingany changeof contentor methodology.Secondly.Just because learnersget somethingright. This was the psychologicalkey to the problem of resistance.''illing to incorporate small changes." Several points of interest arise: firstly.and basedon an explicit. one of the purposes of this book is to 3ncouragethem to do it with the focus on collocations. even ii at times rather uncertain. It has. and a simple ionfirmation of the kind described above can be the critical intervention needed to turn the half-known into fully internalised intake. her procedure has changed several times. Confirming what '*'ascorrect was valuable.

As leamersbecomemore proficient with chunks. rather than trying to draw attention to all.or 3-word collocations. studentsread a (relatively short) text and then write exactly 15 words which occur in the original text on a sheet of paper.chunks which help the reader through the text (discourse markers). rather than 15 individual words. This is the lexical extension of traditional vocabulary teaching where. Remember. it is better to draw attention to a particular kind of chunk. into individual words.underline the whole phrase in which the collocation is used. Finding collocationsin a text Ask learnersto underline all the nouns (words used as nouns if you wish to be strictly acculatewith advancedlearners. Reconstructing the content Working in small groups.activities and exercises 5.Second meaning. 2. verb + noun lexical collocations and so on. and perhapsonly three or four individual words.98 Classroom strategies. task is to encourage teacher's Near the beginning of a coutse. Groups exchangepapers and try to expand the notes to recover the main content of the original text. blut love is not) in a text they have studied. Now. as every The simple teacherknows. if there is one. take a relatively short text and show all the chunks of different kinds on one occasion. they can be asked as a class which collocations they think are of interest to the group. This explicit focus on form. Certain types of text contain huge numbersof collocations. if appropriate. is message to do with collocationswhat you previouslydid with words.may be a necessary to have a natural tendencyto break the input down too languageleamers seem far. that they will be much more useful with factual rather than narrative texts. after the language has been exploited for preconditionfor input to becomeintake. asking about every new word is counterproductive. so teachers must learn to select some.howevet. Now underline the verb which is used before the in love letter the wotd letter is underlined. check a third time and.exploiting a text Here are two activities which exploit the collocational content of any text. such as prepositional phrases.Later.3 Activities . . Guide studentsby reminding them that. 1. choosing the words and order carefully. They should choosethe words so that another group has the best possible chance of reconstructing the main content of the original text. using only the 15 words as a framework. A recurrent theme of this book is that part of the noticing of larger chunks. the most helpful notes will usually be some 2.

apply fbr a beoutofa Irnda hunt for a resign from a I I I I I . of half-known. then reduce their notes to 15 words. that using a collocationdictionary will be a great help. and it is often more effective to work not on brand new. activiti es and. In using a collocation dictionary. and such a dictionary is essentialfor some of the activities.tob a one-man a historical a tounng a retrospective a contemporary I I I exhibition 4. but on relatively new vocabulary if words which are known passively are to become available for learners'active use. for example: prrcon criminal crtme sentence Have learnerslook up the nouns in their collocation dictionariesand choose adjectivesand verbs which they need to expresstheir ideas. 3. example. Encourage leamersto record new nouns you may want to leave in boxessuch as these. Recording collocations Encouragestudents record words in a 5-1 box.Altr of theseactivities are suitable for use in class with intermediate or more advancedlearners. words. one or two spaces leamers for to add other words which they meet later. ignoring unknown words in the collocates as they use the entry to remind themserves known.Emphasisethat they must not wony if there are some words they do not know.Do you agree? Ask learnersto write down four or five nouns you think they will need to write about the topic. teachersneed to train learners to scan or browsethe entry.exe i ses rc 99 The sameactivity canbe donewith a broadcast newsitem. Teachers wilr find.sintuition or by using the standard EFL dictionaries. we wourd have fewer criminars.using a collocation dictionary Many of the following activities work on the basisof the teacher. The to single most important kind are verb + noun corocations which representthe standard. however. then exchaneeand reconstructas before. Encourase .Classroom strategies. for IJ we had moreprisons.trrst-choice way of expressing certainconcepts. Some of the activities can be easily adaptedfor use with corpora and concordances these if are available to you and suitablefor your class. groupsmakenotes while listening. 5. and most importantly.4 Activities . Essay preparation Choose topic for a discursive a essay. Learnersneed to meet a word severaltimes before they acquire it.

5. Collocation is particularly important in texts about opinions and ideas. guided towards more interesting alternatives. problem a very very small problem the real problem a problem that happensoften a problem that nobody expected a big effect an effect nobody expected an effect that put things right a very small change a changethat upset people a changethat pleasedeverybody the basic problem the most urgent problem a problem that can't be solved a problem that makes you feel bad When learnersare writing.100 Classroom strategies. it is and nowherenear as commonin the sort of short (120/180word) descriptions First Certificate narratives which ale common in. striking. Find a better word Using a collocation dictionary. to their look up the noun they want to use to find an adjective which expresses or which they idea more preciselythan the most common adjectives phrases. will tend to use if not .Now do the samewith thesewords: 1. Help them to choose useful phraseswhich will help them to write a good essay: somebodyto (7) yearsin prison go to / sendsomebodyto / sentence bom / dangerous/ hardenedcriminal prevent I crack down on I petty lviolent crime death lheavy I lite I severe Q)-year sentence I Exploring collocations of key words with the classbefore they write will help them to avoid mistakes and to express their idea better when they write. imaginative. bizarre. encouragethem to use a collocation dictionary. look up the word idea and try to find a better eachof these: way of expressing a new idea an unwswal idea a silly idea a nice idea a vetl interesting idea 0 very good idea Here are some possible choices: innovative. ridiculous. change a very big change a very very small change a changethat made you happy 3. bright.activities and exerctses them to look quickly through the dictionary entry and notice the words they do recognise. for example. effect a bad effect an effect which helps a very funny effect 2. Cambridge essays.

. approach. It's an isswewhich tenclsto divide. effect. programnxe. view. situation. . is likely to be retained. tell a. idea. issue.ll only. system. . . This.Classroom. vision. Really useful words has a very long entry in a collocation dictionary is suitable for this activitv. scheme. or one reasonthese words are so common is becausethey are used in many different contexts. stotj. policy. Take six adjective collocations from a collocation dictionary and write them on the board. information. argument.project. position. use. you may want to sort examples first (see Activity 7). . This activity rerninds us that teachers should keep language in the largest possible context or frame. Specific examples suggestcontexts. The larger the frame. As a simple five-minute activity. question. strategies. choose one of these words.manner.funny story run afront poge stoty . action. change. problem.activities and exercises 101 6. sele. method.such as: If you want to . one of the most controversial issues which is being d. state. performance. rather than trying to break it down. . for example: an ernbarrassing situation a bewildering situation a triclq sitwation n uniquesitwation an extraordinary situation a tensesituation Ask leamers to think of a real example of each from their own lives and write a sentence tell a paftner about someof the situations. yoLr're more rikeryto swcceecr yowadopt a logicar/ if flexible/cawtious approach. result. circumstances. . then put some of the collocationsinto sentenceframes which provide a context. If yow aclopt a more . you. theory. the more useful information. . solution. move. condition. consequences. including grammatical collocations. interest. clffirence. work. what context does eachof theseexamplessuggest: concoctan implawsible storlt believesomebody's sob storlt with many of the nouns above. plan. .decision.feature. rn turn.iscussed my (in country) at the moment is . suchas: account. . answet approach. relationship. . . behaviour. way.theme. means learners are more likely to store larger chunks and that they will make fewer mistakes when re-usins the Ianguage themselves. . discussion. reason.

conclusion. measures. If you choose words of similar meaning. p erverse. fault. style. pattern. design. verbsor adjectives which seempositive or negative .report. hope. task. which they write on a from the entries.look up the verb changeand find collocates entry using a 'quickly'. Searchfor: . size. eror. Near synonyms Take two or more words with similar meaning. solution 1. instructions. aptitude 5.Or look which suggest which are negative in different ways. Rapid sorting Give leamers two nouns from a collocation dictionary. 3. article. More advancedlearnerscan use groups of words of similar meaning. Ask leamers to translate some of the collocations into their own language. defect directives rules. view.explanation. adjectives which meansmall / slight / minor .shape.friv olous. this will help learners build an understanding of how the English words are used. story. answer.fotm. verbs which mean somethingchangedin a certain way 'rules' work well with thesewords: Many of these crisis.regulations. of pieceofpaper. Remember that collocation is about probabilities.job. For example.102 Classroom strategies. half-known words. Try to choose relatively new. 2. image. account profession 7.not . Sorting Ask learnersto work in groups and selectitems from a collocation dictionary 'rule'. work. number. overnight. document.activities and exercises 7. The difference in the way similar words are used is often largely the difference in their collocational fields. gift. for example: result. reform. 'rules'which you can use with many different Here are some more general words. dimensions. quantity. skill. search. solution. rules. role. verbs which mean something started/ stopped . up the word reason and find adjectives for example: far-fetched. talent. sinister. 8. 8. marriage. must be preparedto discusspossibilitiesand sort out possible confusion.occupation. amount. file. risk scheme.proportions 9. adjectiveswhich mean big / strong / serious . abllity.guidelines. problem. such as: abruptly. strike. For example: iniutlt wound Ask learners to look carefully at the adjective and verb collocates of both words in a collocation dictionary.structure 6. 4.Readout a selection about 10/12collocates Studentswrite the collocatesin one or both lists as appropriate. immediately. mistake.

Find five verbs for eachwhich suggesta 'story' if they are in a particularorder like this: place. perhapsin a 5-1 box. research. 11. audible detailed. take. It also provides an opportunity to remind learnersof words they often overusesuch as do.againa collocationdictionarywill provide you with a helpful list .system. attention and ask them to translate them into their own language as single receivean order enter for.or with a specialistgroup economy. process. use sevenor eight correct words.insist on have. change. and. expand. particularly halffamiliar words .pointed If you want to wake up a sleepy class. Collecting collocations Learnersoften do not realise how many words collocatewith a word they already know. out a list of about 10 verbs which may collocate with it and ask learners to note all the correct collocatesas you read. with a generalcourseyou might choosemoney. the right hand wall if it collocates with reply.and add two or three others which do not make correct collocations. Doing this regularly will help students become more aware of collocationand lessinclined to translateword-for-word.Classroom strategies. take. re-sit an examination You can do the samewith any noun which suggests extended an processsuch as:problem. *do. *break. REPLY expect. 10. you can tum this activity into real activity by having learners point to the left hand wall if the verb collocates wirh answer. have. This activity reminds us of the importance of negative evidence. Five-word stories Look up order andexaminationin a collocation dictionary.send. when an interestingnoun comesup in relationship. This means they do not get full value from the words they know.stimulate 12. product. take regular exercise.Here is an example: ANSWER expect. then use the following lists where the non-collocates marked *: are *gain.insist on appropriate. .activities and exercises 103 black and white choices. Translating collocations when you are browsing a dictionary or reading a text with a class. job. choose the words you practisefor particular classes. economy: modifi the original will often noticeverb + adjective+ noun collocationssuchas eanxa proper wage.Draw these to students. revise for. steer. fail.lette4 wa4 negotiations.kick start. make. invest. Make sure they note any relatively new words.make.complete detailed.spend money: bot:row. *reduce. both walls if the verb collocateswith both nouns.

TeamA scores5 points. minimise. take language: foreign. Notice the game is constructed so that the team which uses the strongest and/or most frequent collocatesis likely to win. As easy as possible Learners work in small teams. taking into account the class level. white. Each group has about 10 minutes to prepare.gather. definitely 14.stick to. 4. Team A then say these one at a time for each headword to Team B who have to write the words down and try to guessthe noun. seriously. extremely.bracket. When they think they know the noun.calculate. moving from more general words to stronger collocates. The collocation game Choosea noun with a lot of verb or adjectivecollocates again. re-sit. profitable.a collocation dictionary is a big help. explain.awful. advance. strong job: apply for.104 Classroom strategies. Continue till everyoneis standing. amortise cover. Repeatwith a new word. meet.withhold test. 10 nouns which are headwordsin a collocation dictionary.written.if they need two collocates. bitter. Give each team a list of. words met recently etc. volunteer. The interest lies in the fact that collocatesshouldbe chosenso that Team B's task is as easy as possible.haven. outline.vaguely. put forward.activities and exercises are some examples: 1. 5. get.horrible interested: not remotely. chocolate information a theory market tax the cost of .conceal. terrible. Make sure before you start that there is one word that means everyone will recognise the noun.change smell: delicious.recover. 6.domestic. Team B does the same. corroborate huge. say. Tell the leamers that all the words you read out collocate with the same noun. so that the activity does not become unnecessarily frustrating for learners.Check guesses. bend.provide. 2. using the dictionary.loss. lose.export. sign. spoken. When Team A has gone though its 10 words. plain. This activity only works properly if you choose the order of the words carefully. which they must try to write down the collocatesyou read out. so there is a systematic elementbuilt into the designof the game. dark. they stand up. growing. allowance.pass. Choose these carefully. 'guess')the headwordwhen they haveall five collocates.evasion cut. 3. we hope. bar of collect. If they guessa noun from one collocate. TeamA scores for 0 that word.4 points and so on. look for. two teams competing against another. If they do not work out (not. milk.hold down rules: obey.disgusting. They list 5 collocates from the dictionary for each year.Here are somewords which you can useto demonstrate how to choosewords: examination: revisefor.

reasonably.chequebook . closely. replacing them with the belief that a lexical approachbasedon teaching chunks of language is of greatervalue to student and teacher' correspondingly. An advanced class want to be able to use words other than shine. relatively. carefully. Noun + noun combinations English word classesare unusuallyflexible. in minute detail examine After you have played this game several times. thoroughly.activities anrJexercises 10S Example 3 is suitabre for an English for Academic purposes group. studentscan do the activity independently in small groups. and may need to be reassured that theseare standardEnglish. upstairs. gleam etc but have little idea of the distinguishing uses' Traditionaily.board room _ room servtce_ service charge_ chargecard table top . as a wet. real chunks of language. there have been four ways of distinguishing uses: 1. Even advanced leamers do not arways feel comfortabre using noun + noun combinations. superbly. fairly.quality rime time manasemenr _ managementcourse _ course work _ workshop _ shop assistant_ asslstant manager 16. and Examples4-6 for a business English group. extremely. properly.apt into a collocation game such as collocation dominoes. Issue 19) describes the advantagesof exproring a group of examplesrather than looking for distinctions of J" a ripe old age live 10. ridiculously. Exploring examples Peter sunderland (Arena. if you have a number of dictionaries. blank cheque. refrecting a point made by GeorgeWoolard in his quality . You can do the samething with adverbsand adjectlvesor verbs: 7.sandwich board . They recognisegritte4 grow. the end product of my lessonsis maximising the students'communicative power by exposingthem to useful.Classroomstrategies.beyondyour means. fighting fit 9. so verbs can be used as club club sandwich. Here are two sequences such combinations of which teacherscan easily ad.remarkably. Traditional standarddictionary definitions: glitter: sparkle with light gleam: glow or shine not very brightly glisten: gleam or shimmer. dead easy luxury. oily surfacedoes shimmer: gleam tremulouslyor glisten . comparatively. 15. "I am increasingly coming to see no distinction between vocabulary and grammar lessons in my mind. alone. nouns as adjectives and so on.

the typical and the frequent.5 Exercises L.106 Classroom strategies. skin/complexion with health. eyes(with tears). looking up the word in bold in a collocation dictionary. praise/tribute/ report/terms This last approachis of greatestuse. Correcting common mistakes Correct them by There is a collocation mistake in each of these sentences. wet or oily shimmer: shine with a fairly unsteadylight Theseare slightly more helpful as all the definitions revolve around variations of shine. the probable. 4.This procedurerecognisesthat it is often collocational field which distinguishes thesegroupsof words which have similar meanings. Typical EFL dictionary distinguishing information: glitter: many little flashes gleam: reflect/clean glisten: wet/oily shimmer: unsteady. .the definitions are interchangeable and rely on each light Better still.The basisof teachingand leaming is observation used language." 5. actual combinations of words as the starting phrases. eyes. diamonds. Typical EFL dictionary examples: glitter: star.and may or may not work back point. (gold/black) glisten: sweaton the face.dew drops on grass glimmer: lights (in the distance). We go sffaight to the real. As with native knowledge of the collocations may be enoughto provide an instinct speakers. (eyes) with excitement. like those in 3 above. All the mistakes are similar to those made by candidatesin the First Certificate exam. a little over-simplified. Studentslearn native-speaker towards distinguishing definitions. 3.activities and exerctses Theseare of practically no useto EFL learners. success/hope/interest of shimmer: moonlight on water glow: embers/ashes. Typical EFL dictionary definitions: glitter: shine in a sparkling way gleam: shine brightly as reflecting light or as very clean glisten: shimmer brightly as smooth. a sanitisedversion of the truth but more user-friendly.As can be seen. career. of for what is correct.prize. car (new). anay gleam: white teeth. 2.

2. . 4. 9.activities and exercises 107 1. What happenednext was a really disaster. 4. you won't have the result you want. If you are too fat. . you needto miss someweight. . admit I did not expect things to change so quickly. She can .refusedtohelp. categorically legitimately confidently hardly completely flatly readily strongly fulb tentatively 1. . deny that it was anything to do with me. .. 2. 7.that activities and exerciseswhich introduce collocations which identify or name a concept. . Getting on a diet will help you. . . 11. . He. I'm afraid I would like to do a seriouscomplaint. . you need to make a diet. . 5. . check the verb in a collocation dictionary. for example. . expect to make as much profit this year as last. 2. when you decide what to study. We . The holiday I went on last year was a full disaster.I . Oh it's you! I . . . recommendwe wait until we have more information. Could I . . When I did badly in the exam it was a strong disappointment. 6. These exercises are useful and comparatively easy to write. . To improve your health you need to do some sacrifices. If you want to lose weight. you must make a planned choice.Classroom strategies. . . I . 3. It is imporlant to remember. recognised you with your new haircut. . 12. claim that she had the idea before anyone else. I was completely disappointed when I failed my exam. The following six exercisesall focus on collocations where one of the words modifies the other. .Use each adverb once to complete these sentences. If you don't keep to your diet. 8. . you need to make more exercise. This type of exercise is parlicularly useful as feedback after learners have done a piece of written work. 10. suggestit might be beuer to wait? 5. 10. verb + adverb. verb + noun collocations such as make a mistake ot propose a toast are perhaps more important if leamers are to build their lexicons in a way which is both systematic and balanced. .If in doubt. for example. forgot to passyour message on. I . I . 8. . . 7. . Verb + adverb Some verbs collocate strongly with particular adverbs. I'm sorry. If you want to be really fit. appreciatehow seriousthe situation is.. . arlverb + adjective. . I don't think you . 3. 6. 9.however.

You need to use each of theseverbs once: accept reject change search live sign prove spread refuse think . example: with a similarmeaning highly qualified bitterly disappointed encouraged unexpected recommended prepared Use a collocation dictionarv to add a word which meansvery to eachof these: 1. . grateful impractical offensive ruthless sure unacceptable When you put an adjective in your notebook. to a ripe old age. slightly inaccurate. When the news got out.. . . . If in doubt. . . try to record a word with it which meansvery. 2... ...activities and exercises 3. . .but I can't find it. exhausted disorganised handicapped disillusioned greedy honest inaccurate remarkable sceptical theoretical 5. . .. Alternativesto very you With manyadjectives wantto usevery.. like wildfire. 8. .... for example... . 4. . 12. 10. Can you add the verb (in the correct form) to each of these?The clue is in the adverb phrase. .. 3. .. 2.7 .. . low. . Now do the samewith these: 1.. out of hand the possibility of 2. 5 . beyond all shadow of doubt that he did it.somewhat sceptical. dotted line.. .. . 8. .. 5. 4. This . . 6. Have you seenmy briefcase anywhere?I've . .. 7. 11... The government legislation.. Often you can also find a word which means a bit. . Verb + adverb phrase Some adverb phrasessffongly suggestone particular verb. . it . . changing the law. point-blankto consider iritroducing new 1. 7. . . look up the verbs in a collocation dictionary... 4.. 9. . The governmenthas . IhopeIwill.108 Classroom strategies.we're just waiting for them to . . 6. on the 4.bluttherearelots of otherwords For or which aresffonger moreprecise. high and J . Everything's agreed. 6 .

S h e ' so o . An exerciselike this can be used to encouragelearnersto seethat it is better to learn language in chunks.. Match each adverb in List 1 with an adjectivein List 2.. . .. different sectionsof the audience. dangerously List 2 a. . 10 It was years since I'd been there and the town had . in triumph witha sell_out concertin Tokyo. received h. 5. I seewhat you mean.. at the moment. balanced c. you're 6.Thediscowas lready a . .Classroom strategies.. ideally 7. .. 3 . . The band's tour of Japan . mistaken e. . whenthefirestarted. the first night audience. . The houseis . t someonewith a degree. In this exercise. We're obviously . . 9. . badly 8. 5.. Adverb + adjective some adverb + adjective collocations are often fairly strong.. . . Either .you should find allihe answers in a collocation dictionary by looking up the adjectives. associatedwith b.activities and exercises 109 8. delicately 2. chosen d. f o r t h ej o b _ w e d o n ' tw a n t ' ' ' ' ten minutes from the sea' 4. If you think I'm going to agreeto that.. . . carefully 6. . highly 5. . out of all recognition. . they need to leam the whole phrase. List I 1.. 7. closely 3. 8. The Presidenthas been so he's very anxiousthat it is a success. . 2.Thenewproductionof'Hamlet'was. the idea from the start. situated Now complete each of thesesentences with one of the expressions: 1. . . His words were . The election is very party could win.i. and ten minutes to trr" -ounr.. .. . qualified g. ..complete with the verb. enthusiastically . . overcrowded f. alonR the same lines. to ensurethey appealedto .

. . Oasis'snew tour was . . . . disappointed e. .limited h. . 5. absolutely heavily richly densely hopelessly severely fatally ideally sorely generally narrowly strictly to 1 . populated parts of 4. I was . widely 7. Diana hasjust 2. . anticipated b.been . You should find all the answersin a collocation dictionary by looking up the adjectives. 6. There are some new. . limited. . seemsto have been . bitterly 2. . Famouspeople often don't realise their . Central California is one of the most the United States. The house is . situated. .activities and exercises 6.110 Classroom strategies. Adverb + adjective Match the adverbsin List 1 with the adjectivesin List 2. generously 6. It personalphotos. strictly 3. 3. supposedto be . heavily 8. . . illustrated f. supplied by in America. z. influenced by g. tempted to keep the money . 7. Adverb + adjective Use eachof theseadverbsonce to complete the examples. A new .near the citv and surroundedby beautiful mountains. eagerly 5.I'm reputationcan be glad I'm not famous. Suppliesat this low price are . by so-calledfriends. extensively 1. look up the verbs in a collocation dictionary. List 1 1. . that I couldn't get any tickets all.on the coast. I'm .If in doubt. . available c. damaged d. rewarded Now complete thesetexts using each of the expressionsonce: and ticketswere .I could do with some extra at the moment. by interest appeared. . . biographyof Princess .no doubt.I was . considered be Goldine's most successful book. List2 a. . rather so-calledfriends ofhers who have. for supplying personaldetails. . . but in fact they were to two per person. lavishly 4. . 'Lord of the Flies' is still . appalled to hear they were discussingbringing back the death penalty. .

. . If somebodyis stealing things at work. . 7. . is only suitable for advancedlearners. . . . . . 3. . John is the perfect guest. an embargoon a counfy. def-eated in the referendum. Rumours are rife trr . . flawed. . a guess. . 2. . . The polls suggestthat the govemment will be . . . . certainminimum qualifications. .. 8. censored. public opinion. which was . you can instigate an investigation and then it if it is causing too much troubre.Classroomstrategies. . Yotcan get into a row or get. 9. . I had an accident in my car rast week. 9. You can see something clearly or . but the damageto the back was .Iwas. . . instructions? 6. . . I realisedI'd taken the wrong road. . . . . 4. Everyonewas delightedat her success. . . . The theory tumed out to be . . 7. . . . . . . in one. . You grow up in a neighbourhoodor are . 2. Exporters who do not have foreign languageskills are handicapped. deserved. All the newscomingfrom the regionis. . 5. but it turned out to be quite . up in it. . 12. . and when I cameto the second roundabout. . 10. You can dismissor. . . . 8. . employees. . There was some sright damage to the front of the car. . You can galvaniseor. . . . You can make a guess or. . . 8. . . . ll. .but Tony is one of the most guestsI have ever entertained. . 8. out. 3. 5. we thought that crossing the Kalahari would be a fairly dangerous joumey. 4. it. Opposites use a collocationdictionary to find a word which is oppositein meaning to the one in bold: 1. . . News can slip out or . You can demand or.confused. This type of exercise. which gives leamers altemative ways of saying the samething. . . . . 6. Synonyms use a collocation dictionary to find another word similar in meanins to the word in bold: l. Are you the sort of person who follows or . . . Yolcan impose or . . You can either Ioosen your grip on something or .activities and exercises 1ll 7. .. .

. . .L Complete the sentences using each of theseadjectivesonce.. 8 . It was a. coincidence. . If you're seriousabout losing weight.but four out of five membersof the team come from the samevillage. . . In each caseone ofthe adjectivesis the fairly obvious choice. .112 Classroom str(ttegies. panic a problem smbarrassment 2.activities and exercises Sometimesthe oppositeof weak ts strong. . . He has a. . . I 5 . 10. . .. amistake a statement an observatiofl 4.You'd be wise to listen . . . . weaUstrong teabutthe opposite of strong cheeseis mild cheesenot *weak cheese. The team won the championshipby a very . . Our holiday in Iceland was an minute of it. you need to go on a . . 9 . . . ..If in doubt. . . . assumptionthat he will passthe exam easily. . to them. Notice how important it is to learn words in phrasesrather than single words. . 3. position of having to apologise 2. I found myself in the . It's a . . giftforhelping otherpeople. . . . .. The missing verb What are the missing verbs in the following collocations? The same verb completes all three examples. The old part ofthe town suffered . . 1. advice. . We enjoyed every 6 . Your parentsgave you very . . check the nouns in a collocation dictionary. Interesting adjectives . the biggest ever.. . margin. . 1 0 . . diet. .so once again remind learners of the need to learn words in collocations or larser chunks. . again. ... .. damagein the war. It's a embarrassing remarkable extensive genuine sound strict inspired wide powerful wild . t . . choice. .. 4. 5 to a complete standstill 5. . disappointment when I couldn't get onto the course liked most. . . . bitter safe 1. danger to an understanding an accident toadecision aquestion concem embarrassment fear 11. . .

..make. set up. Add one or more of these adjectivesto each of the nouns below.. it is always a good idea to leam at least one adjective which you can use to make the noun stronger. 9.._reject 6... examine. 11.. argumentfor spendinga yeur at work before you go to university. require. close .. accept. 12. arrange... enjoy.. get. deal with.go to. accept. .. AN EXPERIENCE 7.. make.. 4 5 6.. describe.. trace AN ACHIEVEMENT AN AGREEMENT THE CAUSE . interestingjob/person/book. recall.establish. put off. start. acclaim. make. check in your dictionary. disparage.2 You don't want to use the same few adjectives all the time: a big house/problem. build up. There is a . solicit.. hire. 14. ... reach. ignore.. praise.. wind up 4.. 10. defeat doubts emphasis example feature flavour Exercises like this. 12. Odd verb out one verb in each line does not collocate with the noun.answer. If you are in doubt. disregard.. service. do. come to...complaint . have.confusion 8. endorse. throw A Now try thesemore difficult words: 1.... park...agreement ban career .. 'correct' answersneed to be used carefully so that they help rather than confuse leamers... reduce 2.. accident . 13. cross out the one which does not fit...come in for.. do. complete heavy special great serrcus strong excellent total successful .. Interesting adjectives . 1. sign 3. come up with. 2. The performancewas absolutely wonderful and greetedwith enthusiasmby a large audience. reject. Sometimes more than one is possible.advantage .determine... ignore. give rise to. analyse. write off A CAR pARTy 8.implement. gatecrash..Classroom strategies.follow. takebver.consequences .exaggerate. have. repair.When you leam a noun. crash. which do not have unique.. 12.act on. decide. . 7. finish... supply 3. respond to 5. 13.activities and exercises 113 11. take 2. run. expect. share ADVICE AN ANSWER A BUSINESS A COMPLAINT CRITICISM 1.

. . . collate. Short paragraphs 1. and which suggest more generalplan? a Notice that some of the most useful nouns are rather generalwords which do not caffy very much meaning: answer. emergencies happen all the time and cannot be . . When they take . .cause. . . . . moderate. establish.provide. . . 2. Look up emergency. . deny. move. .put. . even with the best planning. .But it grew back. for an emergencyso that when one . In No 8. acknowledge. . introduce radical changes. announce.the same. 3. . . No matter what they do t o s t o p i t.compensate outweigh.start from scratch.endorse. . news. Then ffy to complete this shorl text: A hundred years ago news was slow to in. Look tp hair.Unfortunately. .It is almost impossible for govemmentsto . . hair. adopt.activities and exercises 4. .test. . . To prepare students to write an essay.Shehadeven. answer. . . . .cteate. . itpure white just like Annie Lennox. . sign a provisional agreement. Look vp news in a collocation dictionary. . Eventually. she had it all . and often with an adjective too in phrases llke act on professional advice. cause. .apply. . respondto 7. .changes.realise for. Today as soon as news . . which verbs suggesla chemicctl/mathematical formwla. . relax out 8. Words like this are often used with a verb with a very precise meaning. .policy. gather. . withhold 6. stragglyhair shehad she hated even from childhood. 14. Then try to completethis short text: Sandrahad dull .ll4 Classroom strategies. . . they . .first ask them to write a paragraph similar to those aboveusing five or six collocations of an important noun they will needfor the essay.. . it a differentcolour. the emergencyservicesswing into action. As part of their everyday work. . Then try to completethis short text: Emergencies can never be . . condemn. o u t .She hadtried. . off . THE DISADVANTAGE(S) MATERIAL A NEED A POLICY A FORMULA 5. . i t w i l l a l w a y s . .. it is flashedacrossthe world by satellite. She had tried every kind of shampoo. meet. they are ready for all eventualities. .do. . classify. withhold sensitivematerial. said.

activities and exercises 115 15. reduced Group B: harsh. The destructionof the rain forestsis a disaster. get into.heavy. slack.Wordsinto groups Matcheachof thesenounsto oneof the groups of verbs. be vulnerableto.brutal. join.get involved in. win Group F: aggravate. Sentenceadverbs Put the following sentenceadverbsinto the sentences below.poor. we have no choice.severe. the all verbs thegroupmustcollocate in with thenoun. pick. go into. lose. I decidedto leave school at sixteen. caffy out.are one kind of collocation which is frequently under-represented in teachingmaterials. launch. although.face. declare. . Leamers need practice of this kind of languageif they are to develop an adequatelexicon for writing. There are many problems with the presentHealth Service. wage. token Group D: effective. excessive Group E: appropriate. intervene in. resolve Now do the samewith these: fin" penalty punishment sentence discipline Group A: heavy.go to. there are simply not enough hospital but it will neverwork 2.step up Group E: fight.phraseswhich help the reader through the text .stiff. attack battle dispute fiSht struggle war be engaged continue. capital. give up.Remember. fit. . huge Group C: heavy. take up in. provoke. harsh 16.things haveto changeand changesoon! Remember. politicians are starting to take it more seriously.suspended. force. hefty.start. life.discourse markers . immediate.mount. death. resist. 5. lenient. It's a good idea in theoryt in other words in practice in particwlar Group A: Group B: Group C: Group D: avoid.firm. 4. The situationis getting worse and worse. lead to. I should have stayed on and gone to university. in fairness m retrospect 1.Classroom strategies.stiff. it was the wrong decision. long. strict. 3. on-the-spot.lenient. put an end to.

They need to learn both which can be used with a particular noun. This involves an important change of perspective for many teachers. and sometimeseither position is possible with very similar meanings.activities and exerctses 5.put. sometimesit must come after.We now recognisethat it is noticing the input . which cannot be used with a parlicular noun (xdo a complaint.The single most important kind of multi-word item is collocation. p 101]. it is one of the best ways you can yourself develop a clearer understanding of collocation and in tum help your leamers to notice. get. 5. which are common and useful. have.particularly those used to emphasising the languagethat studentsproduce. Finally. The single most important kind of collocationis the type which names a concept.many of the 45 Activities and 30 Exercise-types discussedin Chapters 6 and 7 of Implementing the Lexical Approach focus on collocations. keep. make.that is how real languageworks. two wamings. which have little meaning on their own. or can easily be adaptedto have.6 Your own exercises If you write your own exercises using a collocationdictionary and copying one of the above formats. Finally. the single most important contribution the teacher can make to ensuring that input becomes intake. be wamed that collocation is never as simple as it seems. one use tends to overlap and merge into another. In addition to the activities and exercisesdiscussedin this chapter. De-lexicalised verbs such as do. but very wide collocationfields [See activity 6.perhapssome of the verbs are used with the headword mostly when it is literal. a collocational focus.sometimesthe adverb must come in front of the verb. perhaps more importantly. but they are a source of many mistakeswhen leamers(mis-)usethem in speech and writing. Learners think they 'know' thesewords.116 Classroom strategies. others mostly when it is 'diffetent'uses of more metaphorical. Generalnouns.7 Surnmary All of the contributors to this book stressthe importance of making leamers more aware of the phrasalnature of language. is ensuring that learners notice the collocations and other phrases in the input language. Some adjective + noun or verb + noun combinations are much more common if they are used in the negative. and. record and leam language from the texts they read in a way which builds their mental lexicons efficiently and systematically.usually verb + noun (move house)or verb + adjective + noun (take the wrong turning). which learners overusewhen they do not know the appropriateverb collocate. You need to pay special attention to: . Very rarely are the lines betweentwo this kind clear. and many familiar activities either already have. . *make a hard diet). Although writing exercisescan be very frustrating.

Teachersshould remember. and any successfulmethodology needs to maintain involvement and motivation.however.At the same time.activities and exercises ll7 language which is crucial to expandinglearners'mental lexicons. A balanced leaming programme also involves quiet reflection and homework which helps to reinforce input. teachers and learners expect to produce language in class.Classroomstrategies. productive activities and exercises are important. that all activities and exercisesshould be designedto support the central activity of encouragingleamers to notice languagein ways which maximise the chance of input being retained as long-term intake. For these reasons alone. Discussion questions Think of a vocabulary activity you use regularly in class. How can you adapt it so that it focusses collocationsratherthan singlewords? on Do you think your learnersleam most of their vocabulary in class or outside the classroom? what do you do in class to ensure that they can acquire collocations and phrasesfrom the languagethey meet outside the classroom? How would you introduce the idea of collocation to a classwho had never met the idea before? .

the vocabularyand style seemvery dated.let it be understoodthat the Japanese commanderprohibited a nearer view.The correspondents were forbidden to send out any news whatever of his plans. they put fixed collocations highly creatiyeuse. B. Calloway was one of these. whose accountwas absolutelyincorect and untrue. anyway he wasn't earning the salary that his paper was paying him. readersmay enjoy this short story.but initially readers are invited to enjoy the linguistic skills of two journalists. and every messagethat was allowed on the wires was censoredwith rigid severity. that's something you ride in. Henryt As a light interlude before the more theoreticalpart of this book.oh no. That has been told in detail by the corespondents who gazed at the shrapnel smoke rings from a distanceof three miles. But that was not Calloway's fault. shaking dice with other conespondentsfor drinks of rickshaws . But. Now. Calloway's feat was accomplishedbefore the battle. Betweenthem.118 Calloway's code Chapter6 Calloway's code O. What he did was to furnish the Enterprlse with the biggest beat of the war. except a London paper. There is a short commentaryat the end of the chapter. The little brown men who held the strings of Fate between their fingers were not ready for the readers of the Enterprise to seasontheir breakfast bacon and eggs with the battles of the descendants the gods.Surprisingly. For two months Calloway hung about Yokohama and Tokyo. That paper published exclusively and in detail the news of the attack on the lines of the Russian generalZassulitch on the sameday that it was made. to The New York Enterprlse sent H. It is about a hundred years old and. but as it was wrong from beginning to end the censorgrinned and let it go through. this is no history of the battle of the Yalu River.however. . it touchesdirectly on the content of this book. Calloway as special correspondent the to Russo-Japanese-Portsmouth war. printed here in its original form. Calloway did this in face of the fact that General Kuroki was making his moves and laying his plans with the profoundest secrecy as far as the world outsidehis campswas concerned. The correspondentfor the London paper handed in a cablegram describing Kuroki's plans. for justice's sake. Calloway (the encoder) and Vesey (the de-coder). No other paper printed a word about it for two days afterwards. of But soon the column of correspondentsthat were to go out with the First Army tightened their field-glass belts and went down to theYalu with Kuroki.

Calloway's code ltg So there they were . And calloway had got hold of some important inside information that he knew would bring the Enterprise stafr around a cablegramas thick as flies around a park Row lemonadestand. so Scott knew a little about cipher-writing. we transposethe letters. who had held his desk for only two years. the most frequently used letter.. ..must have an underground wire. for the rest of the story belongs to vesey. five thousandcavalry. My first is a Russiangeneral. 'but the beginning letters containedonlv four vowels. 'Ever hear of anything like a code in the office . And there we must leave him.'he said.' said Boyd.' Boyd read it twice.'said he. 'It may be what is called an invertedalphabetcipher. "Muffled rumour mine" . calloway's cablegramwas handed to the managing editor at four o'clock in the aftemoon. 'It's a charade. He lit his pipe and sat down on a gun cariage to think it over..Go on.' Scott worked rapidly with his pencil for two minutes. with the exception of . I'll call Scott.. and thesewere the words of it: 'Foregone preconcertedrash witching goes muffled rumour mine dark silent unfortunate richmond existing great hotly brute select mooted parlous beggarsye angel incontrovertible. He read it three times.' The messagewas dated at'suggested Boyd. A city editor must know something about everything. 'It's from Calloway. Assuming "r" to mean "e".so.-not with me it doesn't.It must be a code of somesor1. "R" seemsto be the oftenest used initial letter. 'See what you make of it. a sixteen-dollar-a-weekreporter on the Enterprise. that doesn'tpan out. 'It's either a cipher or a sunstroke. If he could only get that message past the censor. 'Let's see. 'None except the vernacular that the lady specials write in.the new censorwho had arrived and taken his post that day. Scott. and with a long stretch of river to guard.. on the other side. and then drew a pocket mirror from a pigeon-hole in his desk.a secretcode?' askedthe ME. calloway did the obviously proper reason why he should knock that town so hard. 'Try 'em in groups.m. and then showed the first word accordingto his reading.' .Kuroki on one side of the yalu with forty-two thousand infantry. .I'll try that. Then he went over to the desk of Boyd. and looked at his reflection carefully. and laid the cablegrambefore him.' The city editor came in a hurry. Managing editors come and go.' said he. "Existing greathotly" . his assistant was usually called Boyd when (he he wanted him).the word 'scejtzez.could it?' 'I thought of that. "Dark silent unfortunate richmond" . and a hundred and twenty-four guns.' said the ME. and tried his luck. Zassulitch waited for him with only twenty-three thousand men.Great!'criedBoyd."Rash witching goes. 'Couldn't be an acrostic..

or he wouldn't have cabledin a lot of chop sueylike this.' said Boyd.' said the ME. 'Try old Heffelbauer. convinced that 'No. Vesey was the youngest reporter. and the censorhas put the screwson. or length of reason of their wisdom. He was half janitor. We must get at it some way. but his bright Scotch plaid suit gave him a presence and conferred no obscurity upon his whereabouts. 'dey keep it in der little room behind der library room..' 'Can you find it?'asked the ME eagerly.' said Heffelbauer.' Throughout the office of the Enterprise a drag-netwas sent.'Do you know where it is?' 'Mein Gott!' said Heffelbauer. information. Has the office ever useda cipher code?' 'Just what I was asking.' Heffelbauer was an institution.that is a cipher code. Heffelbauer? What do you know aboutit?' 'Somedimes.. anyhow .consideringits mysteriouswords in vain.'Oh. They got together in a group in the city abbreviation.He wore his hat in such a position that people followed him about to seehim take it off.120 Calloway's code that won't work. Where was it kept. All began to explain to the head investigatorthat newspapers never use a code. Calloway had beenon the papertwelve years. Calloway has evidently got hold of somethingbig. radiating his nationality. half handy-man about the office. He asked each man how long he had worked on the paper. Der rebortersin der city-room haf it here. he came. 'Hustle everybodyup that ought to know.'We're getting on the trail now.rather -but. Then Veseycame in.' said the retainer. and said so.'How long do you dink a code live? Der reborterscall him a maskeet. he's talking about a goat. the concertedwit and resourcesof the Enterprise huddled aroundCalloway'spuzzle. 'It's undoubtedly a code.thus becoming the peer of thirteen and one-half tailors.. and half watchman . Heffelbauer. The ME knew all that. apout dwelf or fifteen year ago der office had a code. don't you?' 'Yah.' said the ME. Sent for. It's impossibleto readit without the key. 'Sure I know vat a code is. No one had heard of a code. und . . 'Get out. 'did you ever hear a code belonging to the office a long time ago .' Again discomfited. with the ME in the centre.a privatecode?You know what a code is. Not one of them had drawn pay from an Enterprise envelopefor longer than six years.' said the city editor. hauling in such membersof staff as would be likely to know of a code. He had a thirty-two-inch chest and wore a number fourteen collar.' 'Ah!'said the ME. natural intelligence. past or present.But von day he butt mit his head der editor. Yah. of coursethe AssociatedPressstuff is a sort of code .'said ME. 'Heffelbauer. 'He was herewhen Park Row was a potato the patch.

too.witching" _ h. rash. say .s 'code'would havedone.' said he.' Thus had Vesey set forth the reading of the code: Foregone.conclusion Preconcerled. Add to this fact that among all the inhabitants.hour of midnight Goes. 'I felt the swing of it as soonasI sawit.he was always doing appalting things like that. temples.' 'I believeI've got a line on it.Hurrahfor old calloway! He's done the Japs and every paper in town that prints literature instead of news.We. spreadout flat on his chest like a gorgeous lizard. 'It's .m.vegot to get to work on it.'saidthe ME.s up to us. It took vesey exactly fifteen minutes. He was never without an immense. .without saying Muffled ..act Witching . veseyheld to Rumour ..vesey was the bestphotographhustler in the office. vesey reached out and took the cablegram from the ME's hand.nodding their headstoward vesey. under the protection of some special Providence. a code. . and groves of this earth nothins existed that could abashVesey.'Anybody got the key?' 'The office hasno code. hard-wood cane with a German-silvertip on its crooked handle.and askedwhat was up. Take a look atthat. "Foregone. and coming off unscathed.knotted.'saidvesey. Scott said it was becauseno living human being could resist the personaltriumph it was to hand his picture over to vesey. He walked up to his desk. He brought to the ME a pad with the code-key written on it. Someone explained. with the touch of half-familiar condescensionthat they always used towards him. vesey always wrote his own news stories. exceptthe big ones.hath it . 'Let's haveit.we can't afford to fall down on our end of it.He's up a tree.' saidVesey. threw his hat into a wastebasket. reachingfor the message.It. preconcerted.Give me ten minutes. and started his pencil going.Calloway's code l2l it must be hung upon a peg driven into the back of his head.'saidVesey. The wit and wisdom of the Enterprise remained in a loose group.. Gee! I wish they had sent me. and smiled at one another. Then they beganto exchangetheir theories about the cipher.arrangement Rash . .'saidBoyd.which were sent to the re-write men. 'Then old calloway expectsus to read it anyhow. frowning at the cablegram. please. vesey sat down on a table comer and beganto whistle softly.and his dim sketch is concluded. or somethingand he's made this up so as to get it by the censor. vesey butted into the circle of cipher readers very much as Heffelbauer.

He saw attempted murder in the pains of green-apple colic. real estate transfers. the snowy-petalledmarguerite. Old Calloway gives us the cue word.'explainedVesey. the correct following word is now 'pedestrians'.times Beggars.question Parlous. since the automobile became so popular. with his jollying-which-you-should-regard-a-favour manner. to Report hath it that a large body of cavalry and an overwhelming force of infantry will be thrown into the field. Concludedaffangement act at hour of midnight without saying.' or Ames was the king-pin.' he Veseyhanded out another sheetof Dark .fact 'It's simply newspaper English. Read it over.White Way Hotly .'said the ME. 'Great stuff!'cried Boyd excitedly.pedestrians Richmond .force Select. here'sthe message intendedus to get. Its correspondentis unawareof the the field Existing .SomebodysendAmes to me. cyclones in the summer zephyr. 'you have cast a seriousreflection upon the literary standardsof the paper that employs you. and we use the word that naturally follows it just as we use 'em in the paper.unawares Incontrovertible .conditions Great .majority Unfortunate . 'Kuroki crossesthe Yalu tonight and Calloway'scode it meant 'infantry'.description Ye . and you'll seehow pat they drop into their places.correspondents Angel .horse Silent . we won't do a thing to the sheetsthat make up with Addison's essays. But. 'Mr Vesey. Way contested by only a small force. Question the Times description.few Mooted . and bowling scores!' FOOTNOTE Mr Veseyafterwardsexplainedthat the logical journalistic complementof the word 'unfortunate' was once the word 'victim'. Conditions white. You have also assistedmaterially in giving us the biggest "beat" of the year.lost children in every top-spinning .Of course.the star-bright looloo of the re-write men.122 Calloway's code Mine .contested Brute . I will let you know in a day or two whether you are to be discharged retainedat alarger salary.'I've beenreporting on the Enterprise long enough to know it by heart.

Ames sat on the porch of his Brooklyn villa playing checkerswith his ten-year-old son. The word 'great' in his code shouldhavebeen 'gauge'.Ames having failed to find a murder motive in it. But it made no difference to the Enterpris e. on the secondday following.being oft associated.' said Scott. I1 was wonderful. until not even obituary notices them do pafi..when not rewriting. the 'conditions white'. and of course he took that to mean snow.Calloway's code 123 urchin. His description of the Japanese army struggling through the snow-storm. as the attack was made on the first day of May. The arlists tumed out some effective illustrations that made a hit as pictures of the artillery dragging their guns through the drifts. he gleefully scoredthe most profound and ponderouspaper in England for the false and misleading accountof the intendedmovementsof the Japanese First Army printed in its issue of the samedate. And the battle! . anyway.well.s brief message into a front-page masterpiecethat set the world talking. whose troops were widely scatteredalong the river. was thrillingly vivid. Ames and the 'war editor' shut themselvesin a room. counted the cavalry and infantry to a man and a horse. 'The old man says your salary is to be raised to twenty a week. They did so now. and its complemental word 'battle'. He told of the secret councils of the Japanese officers. only one effor was made. But it went to 'conditions Ames white'. gave Kuroki's flaming speechesin full.blinded by the whirling flakes. excited some amusement. across which the Mikado's legions were hurled upon the surprisedZussulitch.' said vesey. 'Al1 right. And in the same story. And calloway was wonderful in having made the-new censorbelieve that his jargon of words meant no more than a complaint at the dearth of news and a petition for more expense money. described the quick and silent building of a bridge at Suikauchen. and that was the fault of the cable operator in wiju.Mr Scott. with seemingly supematuralknowledge."we can state without fear of successful contradiction". and in words of fire Ames translatedcalloway. or . calloway pointed it out after he came back. the city editor halted at vesey's desk where the reporter was writing the story of a man who had broken his leg by falling into a coal-hole . and how they make friends with one another. There was a map in there stuck full of little pins that representedarmies and divisions. Say . And most wonderful of all are words. an uprising of the down-troddenmassesin every hurling of a derelict potato at a passingautomobile. But. you know what Ames can do with a battle if you give him just one smell of smoke for a foundation. which would you say . Their fingers had been itching for days to move thosepins along the crooked line of the Yalu. 'Every little helps. And vesey was wonderful.on the whole it can be safely asserted"?' .

Journalism some interesting commentson languageemerge: 1. Apparently. Ames.they are told: that's not the way we say in lr. There is a message here for any teacherhelping studentsprepareto write essays. riddled with its own particular lexis and collocations. There is still an in-built prejudice against what is. 3. but rather a few essential collocations provided by Calloway. while otherssimply do not 'soundright'for us.124 Calloway's code Commentary I am indebted to Jon Wright for drawing my attention to this splendid tale. 2. but if non-native speakers write essays non-standardlanguage. Someof thoseusedin the story havestoodthe testof time. more clich6s. and always was. while some of us need to learn to avoid clich6. not ideas.a word drawn directly from the world of newspapers was bad 'literary style'. The brilliantly creative're-writer'.it is not enough to have some ideas. in certain contexts. in other words. .The managing editor is quite clear thatVesey has 'cast a seriousreflection on the literary standardsof the paper that employs you'.So.What fires his account of the Japanese attack is a few central ideas . called clich6. others need to acquire alarger phrasal lexicon. Despite the laboured prose. Like other educated people he had been taught that clich6 . needs'just one smell of smoke for a foundation'before he can write a graphic description of something he has not seen. what is essential is a few collocations central to the main themes.once his message has been decoded. maybethe fixed elementsof languageare not as fixed as we might like to think. perhaps in your own language.This reminds us of suggestions made by Deborah Petty and Graham Smith in the previous chapter. a centurylater.

so that they can be sure the changesthey make really are of benefit to their learners. While PalrI 2 is more theoretical. provides frameworks within which they can evaluatethe results of It their observations. Finally.both the authorsof complete chaptersand the many teachersquoted in Chapter 5 . Chapter 9 extendsthe comments on texts. Chapter 8 on acquisition. its primary purpose is to help teachers develop their own understanding so they can initiate their own action research. The first two chaptersofthe secondpart of this book provide a summary of recent research on language and acquisition .Background theory 125 Part 2 Background theory All the contributorsto the first part of this book . Background theory is essentialfor such teachers. and then increasingly radical changesin their day-today classroom practice. the distinguished descriptive linguist Michael Hoey provides teacherswith a glimpse into the way research'may soontake us 'beyond collocation'.Chapter 7 on language.repeatedly emphasise how their own understanding of collocation has developed step-by-stepas they have made small. corpora and concordances Part 1. in Chapter 11. a deeper understanding of collocation has encouraged them to extend and refine the modest changes they first introduced.Part 2 . Many other teacherswho have already begun to emphasisevocabulary rather than grammar would like to take their understanding further. Again. . Chapter in 10 takesup the questionof how examsmay changein the light of our changed understandingof the mental lexicon.

conversingand so on.we have better descriptionsof English availableto us than ever before. of corpus linguists involved in this work sometimesconfirm our intuitions. and that they each speakfor a total of only 60 minutes at a normal speedof about 120 words a minute .Their work is essentiallydescriptive.The . Although intuition has an important role to play. and the pattems which are typical of by The repofts sometypes of text can now be supported empirical evidence.126 Language in the lexical approttch Chapter7 Language in the lexical approach Michael Lewis This chapter looks at the way descriptions of English have improved as a result of analysis of large amounts of natural spoken and written text on computers. there are considerable implications for practice.but it is selfevident that if their descriptions show that English is not used in the way traditional teaching has claimed.collections of natural written and spoken text .which have been statisticallyanalysed. It clarifies the terminology which is used in the other chapters of the book to discuss different kinds of rnulti-word phrasesl in particular. it explores the many different kinds of collocations.that is 220billion words spoken every day in Britain by its adult population. watching TV. it rerninds us that the improved descriptions of English now available have radical implications for the language classroom. since the widespread availability of large computer-based corpora . classroom 7. Supposethere are 30 million native-speaker adults entity we call using English in Britain every day.2 lnttition and evidence Every teacherhas said I've never heard that. Now pause to considerthe number of words of English producedworldwide every year. But although every competent speaker Englishhasmet many millions of words of the language of while reading. many statementsabout how words are used. the sampleof the language you personallyhave met is an absolutelyminute fraction of the ever-changing 'English'. It explains the breakdown of the old distinction between vocabulary and grammar. Finally. but frequently provide overwhelming evidence contradicting some belief which is widespread. and emphasises how much of the language we use consists of multi-word phrases. 7.1 Descriptions of English In recent years. which is usually interpretedto mean something very close to Nobody says that. It will help readers new to the idea to develop their understanding of the different kinds of chunks of which lexis is composed.

the way words co-occur . How frequent do you think it is? If it occurs once in every x words. The number of words used every day is immense. so a 300-page book is around100. I have probably heard or spoken welr over half a billion words of conversationalEnglish. 1000 c.The editors of the new Longman Grammar of spoken and written Engrish (LGSWE) give some figures which provide a perspective:a typical page of printed text is around 3001400 words. 5000 is helpful to think about how individual words occur. .000words.but relatively rare. To make a mistakeis a dictionary-style generalisationfrom examplesyou may have heard such as I think we probably made a mistake when we. much rarer than you think.Language in the lexical approach 127 numbers are almost unimaginable. you could easily take parl in 15 million words of conversationa year. . Although this book is about collocation . Despite thesehuge numbers. check your intuitions by answering these questionsabout a large corpus . a or the? (you can think this out logically. Think of any one of the most common 250 words in English. do you think x is closestto: a. . so it is usefui to ask what we mean by expressions like 'they frequently occur together'. collocations are . At my age.We needto ask what we mean by a 'common.common. .phraseor word. In their recordings of conversation. I am inclined to think that I rememberwhat I have and have not met before. are you sure the person said an the everyoneelse. 50.) 2. 100 b. combinations of fact. .but unfortunately the empirical evidencesometimesshows that our intuitions are seriously flawed. a million words is 10 books.say 10 million words of English including spoken and written language and representing many different geffes.common' to combination of words? If you answered res this time.000 e. so a million words of informal spoken English correspondsto about 140 hours of conversationalinteraction. you are yourself making a mistake. we all tend to have confidencein our intuitions about things you think are common are. The exactwords to makea mistakeare possible. the number of words and phrasesyou know is probably far greater than you would guess. Do you recogniseToo many cooks spoil the broth as a'common'proverb? when do you think you last used it yourself? when did you last hear it? And if you did hear it. which is more common.First. collocation is about words which occur together more often than might be expected if words were produced randomly. 100. 7 Do you recognise makea mistakeas a . 1.000 .speakers typically speakat a little under 120 words per minute. yet each of us believes we have a good idea of what is and is not possible in the language. WhaI are the 10 most common words used in English? 3. or did they only sayTbomany cooks.

.25Vo d. LGSWE suggests that words which occur once in every thousandoccur about once every 8.are very rarely used! 5.25Vo c.and the non-nativeleamer'stask in mastering a sufficiently large lexicon correspondinglymore difficult.Collocation. Words which we think of as common may only occur once in a million words. so they are even less frequent. 3. l0% d" 57a e. this familiar expressionoccurred only about once in one-andhalf-rnillion words. was according to Cobuild's published list.57o How confidentare you of your answers? Here are the answers: 1. We say that word A collocateswith word B if the two words co-occur 'frequently'. I. an . it.combined. and. occur onlv about once every 4000 contained 13 examplesof the phrasered herring in the then total of 20 million words in other words. The definite article . that. the proportions fall very fast. 2.50Va c. in.. collocations involve two relatively rare things happening together. Here are the relative frequencies related to every 100 occurrencesof the most frequentword the: of a I 50 4 2 2 t i i n r and 50 3 2 2 1 to 44 that 22 was 18 The 100th most common word. Chitra Fernando reports that when she consultedthe Birmingham Collection of English Texts in 1990. less than 57o 5. The top ten are the. 4.has a relative frequencyof less than 2. while a word which is only used once in every 100. such as set.the .10Vo e. commoncollocations much rarer eventhan that. given as an example by John Sinclair in Corpus. By now. do you think word B of co-occurswith word A? Is it: a.Our intuitions are very unreliable. you may have guessedthat the answer is less than 57o.000words will be heard once every fourteen hours(of non-stopconversation!). a. maturelanguage-user's A mentallexicon is much larger than we previousiy thought.90Vo b. of. What do you think 'frequently' means here? On what percentage occasionsof occurrenceof word A. Interestingly. to. Words which we think are common. and commonexpressions are such as proverbs are rarer still.occurs about twice as often as the indefinite articles* a.50Vo b. What percentage the words in the l0-million-word corpusdo you think of would occur only once in the corpus? a. About half the words in a corpus of 10 million words will only occur once. Even very common words have relatively low frequencies. however.To quote Sinclair again: The languagelooks rather dffirent when you look at a lot of it at once.5 minutesin speech.In a million-word corpusit would occur about 800 times.Words which we think of as rare or unusual.128 Language in the lexical approach 4. Concordance.

Language in the lexical approach 129 limited duration. proverb.which is more appropriateon a given occasion depends on your purpose in talking about me at all. that learners "nrrr" understand them. Linguistic terms with which the reader will certainly be familiar arephrase.perhapsinevitably. this is as true for linguistic description as it is for any other. In The problem of terminology arises as soon as we recognise that a large part of the immediatelyaccessible lexicon which we storeconsistsof multi_word of theseis 'really' me. adverb. and then use thoseterms consistently. teachers need to choose a limited range of terms. a fixed expression. corpora and concordances [discussed in chapter 9f are a great help in testing your intuitions against the evidence of real languageuse. The samepiece of languagemay. To do idiom. we describe and categorisewith a particular purpose in mind. for different purposes. But it is essential to . in different circumstances. or how I am 'best' classified.All of theseare coffect descriptionsof me. From the classroompoint of view. this realisation has produced a proliferation of terms. is now generally acceptedthat the phrasal elementis much larger than was previously recognised. usefully be described as an utterance. idiom. fixed expression. collocation. 7. phrasal verb. teachersneed to develop their understanding of which language really is useful.3 Terminology Although it has long beenrecognisedthat the mental lexicon had an important phrasalelement. unfortunately. with the resulting potential for confusion. in the context of this book. a responseetc. all theseterms are used with more than one meaning by people writing about vocabulary and the mental lexicon.

describing the language is not itself language teaching. not of idioms. Some of the larger phrasal units are relatively uncontentious and familiar: quotations (A rose by any other name). They are languagelearners. but not quite.they are different writers use them in different ways.a cerlain degreeof fixednessand a certain degreeof nonliteralness.phrasal verbs (The high cost put me off the idea). a close shave are less opaque: in addition to their non-literal meaning. fixed. and . at a 'collocation'ate often seenas similar. they are also still used in their literal sense. Figurative idioms such as catch fire. so readers need to be constantly on guard against possible misunderstanding. they are almost invariant and have lost any literal are semantically opaqueyou cannot guess the meaning of the whole from a knowledge of the meaningsof the individual words. The sole purpose of description in the classroomis to ensure that leamers can notice featuresof the languagethey meet in ways which facilitate acquisition. Some familiar terms do. but of the wider concept of idiomaticity.need discussion. even if they are in some doubt about how the term 'collocation' is used. In order for us to get a clear idea of collocation. proverbs (Too many cooks spoil the broth). most linguistsrecogniseat leasttwo factors. with each element having its literal sense.its position 'invariant' and 'variable' as its end points. The compilers of The Oxford Dictionary of Current ldiomatic English use the following categoriesto describe a cline of idiomaticity from most to least fixed: Pure idioms such as blow the gaff are at the most fixed end. These examplesmake clear that two factors are involved in what we loosely think of as idioms . Many may be surprised thar. 'idiom'and overlapping. and a on a spectrumwith 'fixed' or secondspectrum rangedbetweensemantic'opacity' and'transparency'. Restricted collocations such as jog someone'smemot! have one element used in a non-literal senseand the other used in its normal meaning. however. Whether somethingis regardedas idiomatic or not is not decided by a single factor. not information about language.not amateurapplied linguists.providing we avoid the argument about prepositions and particles .terms. we need first to consider it as part.leading to more or less difficulty in understandingthe meaning of the whole expressionfrom an understandingof its component words.130 l-tnqunqe in the lexical approach remember that leamers are learning a language. 7.4 From idioms to idiomaticity Most teachersprobably think they have a clear idea of what an idiom is (Uncle George hasfinally kicked the bucket). What . Open collocations involve elements which are (more or less) freely combinable.even more theoretical level.

even though they might appear to be analysableinto segments. collocation is part of the overall specftum of idiomaticity..chunks which have some degree of fixedness.once we understandidiomaticity in its wider meaning is clear that idioms are a central part of the lexicon and important for leamers at all levels. take the opportunity to show. with a narrow definition like that. on some occasions words appear to be chosen in pairs or groups and these are not necessarilyadjacent.exhibit some degreeof idiomaticity: That's neither here nor there. John sinclair. .Just as it is misleading and unrevealing to subject of course to grammatical analysis..Language in the lexical approach 131 most teachersand studentsthink of as idioms are those which are both fairly fixed and non-literal. . Thkeil or leave it. it is unhelpful to attempt to analyse grammatically any portion of text which appearsto be constructedon the idiom principle. all of the following. a heavy-handedapproach to the problem heavy rain As examples such as a cool reception. Well. states: "collocations are at the lower end of the idiomaticity scalebeing only weak realisationsof the idiom . compared with grammar. whose book ldioms and ldiomaticity is perhaps the best academic survey of this area of language. heavy rain. As Sinclair observes: collocation illustrates the idiom principle. playing for time signed. idioms are a fairly small part of the total lexicon. while not idioms in the traditional sense. . I seewhat you mean. describing the early work by the team constructing the Cobuild dictionaries. and perhaps some degree of non-literalness. chitra Femando. to being at least as important as grammar in the explanation of how meaning arisesin text.sealedand delivered going bachuard and forwards a very cool reception take the earliest possible opportunity to . within this wider definition. and from a languageteachingperspectivethey can safely be left to more advancedleamers... wrrtes: The principle of idiom is that a languageuser has available to him or her a large number of semi-preconstructedphrases that constitute single choices.The overwhelming natureof [the corpus] evidenceleadsus to elevate the principle of idiom from being a rather minor feature.I mustn't keepyou.

be treated as both an idiom and a collocation but the focus of the two descriptionsis rather different.and words which we.[the] significance[of the data] lies in the way in which specific collocations might be predicted by . Separatingcollocations into their component words is easy. Peter Howarth has pointed out that knowing which words do go with which.but this is part of the necessaryartificiality of language teaching. therefore.a single choice . It sounds an innocent definition. also learn a third item. If you learn initial reaction (one item) it is easyto split the chunk apart. 'wotds This distinction is used in this book.they the first place. 7./argumenf. the first task of the language teacher is to ensure that they are not unnecessarilytaken apafi in the classroom. Collocations are not in what David Brazll brilliantly called 'put together'. two more items. and acquire initial you must andreaction.. In most classeslearnerswill already know many individual words. r i c a la p p r o a c h prrinciple. are a kind of idiom: We had a blazing rov.131 L . and the slots in a collocation can each be filled in many different ways. Idioms focus mainly on the meaning of the whole. but one very imporlant point needsto be made:collocationis aboutthe way wordsnaturallyco-occur 'used language'. . it is considerablymore difficult to put words together to form natural collocations.Partner-wordsoften combine freely with many other words.." Very strongcollocations.It would unquestionablybe better if learnershad acquiredthe words together as a single chunk . the words should be recordedtogether. if they are to be recorded in a vocabularybook. are not so restricted. the correct collocation. while collocation is concerned with combinations of words which do or do not occur. We look now at how the term 'collocation' covers many different kinds of multi-word items. The same group of words may. . they may need to learn about standardcollocations.a point already made by severalcontributors. so in these 'putting them together' in circumstances. Some collocations permit very limited choice: The whole (and not much else).5 Collocation Collocation is the way in which words co-occur in natural text in statistically significant ways. but our main focus is firmly on and the company they keep'. althoughpart of the spectrumof idiomaticity. If you learn the two words separately. although it is helpful to remember that this is part of the wider question of idiomaticity. . : t t i c s e i r t t l t e I e . .If words occur togethet. leanters need to notice that co-occuffence and. in some sense. and which do not is a major problem for learners: It may be claimed that the problem facing the non-native writer or speakeris knowing which of a range of collocational options are restrictedand which are free.But the vast storlevent was tinged with sadness/regret majority of collocations. where you can hardly imagine any other use of one of the parlner-words.

hook. even if successfulin the short rerm. submit a report (verb + noun) 3.t to break language down too far in the false hope of simplifying.A sort of . .it is easyto seethat the definition is very wide. bachnards and forwards (binomial) 14.ay (discourse marker) 9. line and sinker (trinomial) 15. Different kinds of collocation If we define collocation as the way words occur together.It is the gaps in collocability that are arbitrary. all of the following are colrocations in the sensethat we readily recognisethat thesegroups of words are regularly found together: l. your efforts. thefog closed in (noun + verb) escape(compoundnoun) 73. revise the original plan (verb + adjective + noun) 7.the easierthe task of re-producing natural languagelater. and will cover many different kinds of item. examinethoroughly (verb + adverb) 5. but are arbitrarily brocked by usage.them. The message teachersis clear: don. extremelyinconvenienr(adverb + adjective) 6. certainly. On the other hand (fixedphrase) 76.and clearly they are the kind of phenomenonlikely to confound leamers. a few years ago (multi-word prepositional phrase) I0. a dfficult decision(adjective+ noun) 2.cancelling. aware of (adjeclive + preposition) 72. (incomplete fixed phrase) .and encouraging them to note such 'impossible'combinationsby asking them to record and then indicatetheir non-acceptability crossingthrough or . by The larger the chunks are which learnersoriginally acquire.. Toput it anotherlr.Language in the lexical approach 133 analogy. ate almost certainly counterproductivein lermsoI long-term acquisition. . . radio station (noun + noun) 4. introducingthe term 'blocked collocation'to leamers. turn in (phrasalverb) ll..

an evasiveanswer. step into. Within this framework. typical of the target the window. vetb or adjective. The main focus in this book is on lexical collocations. many of theseare familiar and have formed a regular part of classroomteachingmaterials. In this terminology.. To be or not to be .but in their most natural.Linguistics and Lift) is typical: Foreign leamers must keep in mind that they should learn words not through translationsof their meanings(that is. play . . and grammatical collocations such as aware of. habitual contexts. so they include both lexical words and grammatical words which are often used together. (semi-fixed expression) 19.] Lexical and grammatical collocations Some writers distinguish between lexical collocations such as suggeston alternative. phrasal verbs are neither more nor less than grammatical collocations.134 Language in the lexical approach 77.The contributorsto this book focus almost exclusively on those kinds of collocations which are relatively new in languageteaching and which are only now finding their way into materials. There is extensivediscussionof types I to 7 in the above list. . Collocations are often idiomatic Some collocations appear superficially 'logical' . but relatively little mention of the older. A comment of Svetlana TerMinasova's (Language. referenceto bits of reality and concepts). Seeyou later/tomorrow/on Monday. . so it makesmore (collocational) senseto teachcombinationssuch as awore of the problems. lexical collocations combine two equal lexical components (open class words). (part of a quotation) From the languageteachingpoint of view. Throughout this book teachers are repeatedly urged to encourage students to record language in larger chunks. familiar types of multi-word item. interestedinfootball. and to keep at least part of the context in which the word actually occurred as part of what is recorded. recording grammatical collocations such as aware of. typically a noun. Too many cooks. Not half! (fixed expression) 18. while grammatical collocations combine a lexical word. (part of a proverb) 20. George Woolard earlier suggested 'collocation' reasons for restricting the use of the term for leamers to the newer kinds. [Seep 29. . with a grammatical word (one open class word and one closed class word). Similarly. . though it is worth noting that learnerswould often be well advisedto record more than It simple two-word combinations. with some referencesto types 8 and 9. is better to record phrasessuch asput the meeting off until. interestedin is unsatisfactory as these combinations are never used without at least one more word. choosing typical examplesof how the words are used in a slightly larger context.

though even here she's expectinga baby is closer to the Swedish. open the door. it may present learners with considerable problems from a productive point of view. with strong opinions. although baru is closer to the English word child.? rt is easy to seethat the translationsof theseexpressionsinto another language could very well involve a different verb in each expression. Note first the difference between she has a baby and she's having a baby. there is a partially non-literal. In an article on phraseology. but she comments: . Grammar and words are in complex interplay. Becausesomecollocations are so familiar. so that apparentlytransparentcollocations hold many potential pitfalls for the leamer. play some music (why not make). . break the silence (why not interrupt or explode). it is easyto think they are obvious when they are. in fact. Notice how the meanings of the verbs in the following differ considerably from the three earlier examples:open a meeting (why not start).Language in the lexical approach 135 tennis.This meansthat. allowing substitutions such as lock the gate. a lette4 a meeting. wind. for example. bil the secondis Hon vcintabarn. coffee.In fact. If you consider the expressionfrom the perspectiveof a Swedish leamer. like other idioms. breakyour leg -butmany. Think of three nouns which can be used with the adjective strong but where the meaning of strong is quite different in each case.Similarly. highly idiomatic.or opening a bottle. the first is Hon har ett barn mircoring the structure of the English exactly.the door the chargethat . How many things can yor open where the opening is not like opening a door? Did you think of answeran enquiry. . changing the grammar changesthe meaning of the verb.a letter. are conventional. etc which should cause few problems for leamers. metaphoricalor idiomatic element to most collocations.literally she is waiting for (a) child.peter Howarlh refers in passing to 'completely transparent collocations such as have children' but although there may be little difficulty guessingwhat this combination of words means. they are not fully predictable from their componentwords. although very familiar and which we easily think of as 'obvious' or 'sounding right'. TEsr Think of three nouns which can follow the verb answer which intermediate leamers are unlikely to know and which they probably would not guess. Ter-Minasovagives anotherexamplefrom the perspectiveof Russianleamers of English: the introduction to the BBI Combinatory Dictionary sees open the gate as a free collocation.cheese. very few collocations are truly self-evident or literal. closer to English she's expectinga child.

whether or not they are adjacent. and the Russian word for gate has only the plural form. may be necessary. The point for teachers that even the simplestof collocationsmay contain is difficulties for learners. Howeverit looks much lessfree in the eyesof a Russian meaning. towards the ultimate goal of establishingthe most frequent collocatesof specific items. including the 'blocked' collocations discussedearlier.English cleat bare.not teachingsince the idiomatic nature of many collocationsmeans they cannot be predicted with confidence from knowledge of the individual who forget this risk frustrating learnersby asking componentwords. reveal .. The immediate proximity): 'job' and 'application' application was in too late. by the way. . . George Woolard makes the point that it is helpful to ask leamers which words they are surprisedto find used together. who is. Teachers questions which the learnercan only answerby guessing.. with information about the co-occurrenceprobabilities of words.TheRussian the learnerwho tries to express equivalent equivalent of to open is presentedby quite a variety of verbs in Russian-English dictionariesopen. and some comment to make leamers aware of problems. variable open the gate is.' The words collocate quite strongly. indeed free and variable within its own . may even be that unexpectedcombinationsof familiar words are It some of the most important and useful collocations from a pedagogicalpoint of view. One final potential source of confusion should be mentioned. JeanHudsondescribes as follows: of In corpuslinguisticsit is more often usedin the abstractsense a in generaltendencyfor linguistic items to co-occur(not necessarily 'I didn't get that job. In corpus linguisticsthe term 'collocation'tendsto be usedin a different way from the it way it is usedin this book. ..6 Colligation Although many teachers are just beginning to incorporate the explicit is with the research also concerned teachingof collocationinto their teaching.a co{puslinguist. 7. This more abstractdefinition is used in this book onlv bv Michael Hoev. We note in passing that this has one very important classroomimplication 'know' a particular collocation is quite definitely asking leamers if they testing.Teachersneed to keep in mind that they may be surprisedat what surprisestheir leamers.The free. of course.and their non-freedom only becomesobvious when they have to be translatedinto anotherlanguage. Much corpus work to date has in fact focused on reporting collocability and patterning.136 Language in the lexical approaclt Many word-combinations look deceptively free within their own language.

. . they are. Such terminology and researchmay seema long way from the classroom. there are different ways of using the term. Again. rather than an article (pass my/your driving test. hurry down etc. we commit (crimes).logical' explanation. .It is this insight .for description is not pedagogy. . The whole grammar/vocabularydichotomy is invalid.big' structures with slots which are filled with individual words. It's my/your/our responsibility . . and maintaining it causesa greatdeal of confusion the collocation commit suicide has become an exceptionto the colligation commit (crime). but for the more generalpattern + pattern. so generatea bunch of roses/daffodils/(anyother kind offlower). An example is (verb of motion) + (directional particle). but the last one can be generalisedto a bunch of (flowers). any more than the fullyexplicit scientific descriptionsprovided by relativity and quantum mechanics .It is just this kind of fossilisation which produces idioms which. which covers all combinations such as run away. most accuratedescriptionof English. and. we now recognise that language consists many smallerpatterns.that languageconsistsof grammaticalised lexis. All language lies on a specrrum between what is fixed and what is variable. collocation is the way one word co-occurs with another word.but it has a serious.rather thanjust 'what they mean'. over long periods. and until quite recently suicide was a crime in Britain. different degreesof generalisation are possible. to for Sornedescriptivelinguists use the term 'colligation'not for word + pattern. eachword has its own grammar. of which exhibit varying degrees of fixedness generalisability. colligation generalises beyond the level of individual collocations. so a bunch of grapes/bananas/flowers ate three separate collocations. or eachbasedon a word. corespondingly. will be the most pedagogicallyusefur. so. not lexicalised grammar .Language in the lexical approach 137 more generalidea of colligation. in a sense. It is now generally acceptedthat languagedoes not consist of a few .which is the single most fundamental principle of the Lexical Approach. the more useful.classroom-orientated purpose. more importantly. colligation is the way one word regularly co-occurs with a particular (grammar) pattem.are overlooked. seem to defy . obviously. rush out. It is within this framework that researchers are trying to find accurate descriptions of English.It is now generallyaccepted that the separationof vocabulary from grammar was an artificial one. In general. or a noun might typically appear preceded by a personal pronoun.). But teachersare right to be a little suspicious. the more generalisablethe patterns they find are.It is not self-evidentthat the best. means many interesting and helpful featuresof how words are actually used. and there are many different degreesof fixednessand. Instead of a few big structures and many words. Now the law has changed. for example some verbs typically occur with a particular tense. bil I'il take the responsibility . at least in principle.

science On teachersneed to be aware of these great theories.). he just managedto scrape through.It also meansmaking collocation a centralpart of languageteaching for all learners now. I don't give a damn. what David Brazll neatly called 'talk about talk'. my dear. From adverbs to adverbials In traditional grammar 'adverb' was (with noun.the grammar of words. . there is a significant saving with the older model. That means taking colligation seriously as a real attempt to provide insights. content of their classesrepresents Language teachersneed to accept and fully intemalise the idea that dividing the language into a lot of individual words and a few big structuressuch as the presentperfect and the passiverepresentsa discrediteddescription of any language.especially as they have clearly different functions in examplessuch as: Frankly. pronoun. Observationof real languageshows our mental lexicons are particularly rich in multi-word sentence adverbialsthat areusedfor structuring what we say or write. I'll get it in thepost as soon &spossible. He expectedto pass easily. as in theseexamples: . Here. initially at least for the teacher.seep 233. 1. in the end. . or qualifying a whole sentence(Frankly."It is difficult to seewhy all of frankly. carefully all belong in the sameclass. and he did pass but only by the skin of his teeth. neve4 classes. The emphasisof classroommaterials should move flrmly onto the middle ground of language. verb. adjective. [For more on colligation. the other hand. . we look at some which may be new to readers but we begin with a simple extensionto a familiar term. I never did anything more carefally in my lfe. and a dangerous distortion of the true nature of language. and of how and why the particular simplifications of them. almost. intensifying an adjective (extremely pleased). When we think of multi-word phrases.7 Other multi-word expressions There are many kinds of fixed and semi-fixed expressionsin addition to collocations. extremely. Adverbs were recognised as having different functions such as qualifying a verb (do it carefwlly). He almost failed. so he was extremely pleased that. neater classes. Even then it was the most problematical class as it was used as the dustbin for all the words which did not seem to fit into the other. preposition.conjunction)one of the word classes.138 Language in the lexical approach would be appropriateto school scienceclasses.] 7.we need to have different uses in mind in a similar way: On the other hand.adverbialsrather than adverbs.As Stig Johansson puts it: 'Adverbs are no doubt the most heterogeneousof the traditional word just.

. . . Negotiating Ianguage Anne williams (Arena. somethingthat we.Language in the lexical approach l3g The above examplesall seemto suggest. teaching learners 'new words' too often meansignoring the adverbial lexicon almost completely. we immediately notice that the first seemsto be usable in both (academic) speech and writing. This may itself have a high percentageof standardcollocations which servea similar purpose. . Teachers need to be aware that unless they consciouJy avoid the trap. . therefore. .as they are largely pragmatic in character producedasprefabricated and wholes. there are very few prepositionsof place and time. and often more restrictions. would be prepared to . . but the point I particularly want to emphasise/stress/remind yow oJ . thereis the possibility of one or more . That may be so.whichlay ue filled by a limited number of alternativewords or phrases. secondly.slots. . with more possibilities. . the importance of developing their multi-word adverbial lexicon cannot be over-emphasised. context.If leamers are to have the ability to structure what they say and write. she points out. while the second two are typical of speech and not appropriate for writing. reinforce the view expressedthroughout this book that separatmggrammar from vocabulary violates the nature of language.t in 2. and a . becausewe are dealing with multi_word items. shehas noted that speakers regularly rely on a large repertoire of fixed and semi-fixed expressions.Seecommentsbelow. These last.Again. but an enormousnumber of multi_word items such as immediately opposite the . The chunks can be divided into three catesories: functional stems such as If we were to .l ' semi-lexicalchunkssuch as what sort of. are frequently used with interesting notns: what sort of p ercentage/time care/benefit/dis ownt/mov s c p ement/re io.Issue 19) has analyseda substantial corpusof native speakers doing simulations of negotiations. lexical chunks linked to the specific subject matter [which she describes as 'of little interest'. . Such prefabricated language is frequently used by native speakerswho are in relatively complex situations. and secondly. Tb go back to the point I made earlie4 . .These have two main advantages:firstly their meanings are largely conventionalisedso they ensureall parties to the negotiation know the 'state of play' at any moment. The multi-word lexicon is more complex. than traditional vocabulary teaching has recognised. teachersneed to draw thesemulti-word items to reaniers'attention.Ed. . . earry in the New year.unsurprisingly. Her data. passing we may note that (In leamers need a similar extension to their prepositional rexicon. someof which have a strongtendencyto collocate with particular verbs.they free processing-space in the user's brain so (s)he can concentrateon the content of the negotiation.

. lexical chunks which all language users.rely on to provide fluency. .seebelow . eIc). so lexicon of this kind too. however.] 3. what sort of discountwould yowbe talking abowt? Even when the language is complex. The interest for teachersis that if we can teach studentsa restricted range of extremely flexible chunks. . modals. Using these frees processmgcapaclty. were to. They are short and manageable. . Her point is simply that all learnersneed an adequate on too often languageteaching concentrates content languageand ignores. and most in their colpusof conversational of the expressionsare what they term utterance launchers .A small selection an immediate feel for this kind of language: . It's a a side issue/ real concent. of the course. . They allow avoidanceof grammatical decisionswhile concentratingon a meaning.primarily usedto express all-importantcontentof what is said. at including native speakers. They combineflexibly: If you were to . rather than how you can say it. She goes on to discussthe implicationsfor teachers: "Chunks may be prefabricated. Thereis onepoint that I'd like eg to clarifi. but the Longman G:rammarof Spokenand Written English shows that a very similar phenomenonexists in ordinary conversation. Her article is specifically chunks which facilitate fluency in negotiations.yet do not suggest simplified grammar. or the least under-emphasises. so you can think about what you are doing. .the chunks are simply used additively.The grammar lists about 100 five-word clusters . Such chunks are of interestbecause: . .Most of thesebegin with 1. They are high frequency becausethey are often invariable forms (infinitives." dismissalof lexical The only point which requiresa commentis her apparent a discussionof the essentiallypragmatic chunks. we'd be preparedto .eg We'd be lookingfor somesignif cant movement.expressions gives usedto introducethe contentof what you want to say. but the chunks in my data are not grammaticallysimple: Whatsort of volumeare you lookingfor? If we were to give you that commitment. The lexical chunks are. They encourage focus on the richnessof de-lexicalised eg language.140 Language in the lexical approach makes the conversion of input into intake more difficult. They can standaloneor be embedded.which are common English. it appears to require little processing. . . Utterance launchers Anne Williams' examples are taken from an apparently specialisedarea of spoken English. [SeeDeborahPetty's commentsp 96. . we can provide them with a tool to aid fluency when they are focussing on their negotiating objectives.

anyone racking an adequaterepertoire of these expressions will have trouble taking part in natural conversation.not so that leamers will immediately add them to their productive language. the cluster (called lexicar bundles in LGSWE). Note. Recent corpus studies have therefore provided us almost by accident *ltt u new kind of item. Here are a few reported in LGSWE: I don't know what I thought that was I think I might what's the matter with how do you know going to be a in the case of the it should be noted that on the basis of in the present study the way in which the extent to which I don't know what to I don't know whetheryou I rhink it might be I won't be able to you won't be able to . 4. clusters are small groups of words which appear consecutively in text without regard fbr punctuation marks. many such clusters are of little interest for the classroom. and engaging in a little controlred pru. explaining their importance. but as part of the awareness raising which does seemto contribute to tuming input into intake in the medium term.ii"" . p 55]. Clusters computers are exfemely good at doing mindless sorting.Language in the lexical approach l4l I don't know how you I don't think you can I'm going to have to I was going to say you seewhat I mean self-evidently. Although see presenting such expressions is no guarantee that learners will acquiie and use them immediately .Needless to say. that the effective use of these expressionsis intimately bound up with pronouncing them as units [as Jimmie Hill suggested. too.but it is interesting to note the kinds of phrasethat do occur.there is a strong case for presenting them.teachersare well awareof the factthatleamers are more likely to rely on tried-and-tested expressions even if these are unnatural . or even changesof speaker.on the contrary.

acquiring hundredsof useful combinations of familiar words. structures are subject to constraints which were frequently ignored in traditional EFL teaching. even 'new words' is unhelpful. the traditional vocabularylgrammar dichotomy breaks down. rather than have traditionally been regarded as belonging to the corpora the 'vocabulary' of the languagebut analysis of computer-based in quite the way that has reveals that these words are not different in kind usually been assumed. 'grammar'.8 Words The single most important insight provided by the new corpus-based descriptions of English is that the whole vocabulary/grammar dichotomy needsto be replacedby a spectrumof pattems which exhibit different degrees of restriction and generalisability. is also becoming increasinglyclear that regardingall single words as frindamentally similar is a grossly misleading over-simplification. at the other end are the most frequent words of the language which caffy very little meaning in all but invisible to both teachers and learners. the new descriptions mean we need to revise our views of both vocabulary and grammar . particularly through extensive (pleasure) reading.Words are used in patterns which learners need to notice. adverbialand prepositionalphrases.but which are elementsin many different pattems. questionwords etc Words from the closedclasses pronouns.what we may call the text*grammar or discourse-grammar. 'new words' in the same way is a It is increasinglyclear that treating all wholly inefficient way to expand leamers' mental lexicons.words and structures. rather than different words belonging to clearly different categories. they also need to expandthe phrasal element of the lexicon. At one end are rare words . in addition to individual words. and which have small collocational fields. they demonstrate for teachershow easy it is to be so focussed on the content of a text. involves large numbers of collocationsand idiomatic expressions.why they are among the most frequent words.which is.which caffy a lot of meaning. colligationalpatterns. Increasedawareness the languageof which the text is composedwill help of teachersto guide learnersmore effectively towards the languagethey need to notice. Once again. 7.prepositions.142 Language in the lexical approach may not be immediately relevant to the classroom.mostly nouns . how the words behave is a matter of degree. that the phraseologywhich holds it all together. and which will almost certainly be unnoticed without teacher mterventron. . Although the emphasis in this book is on the co-occurrence of words in collocations. of course. We have already seen that an adequatelexicon. While learners do need to thinking in terms of acquire new words. there is a spectrum upon which all words can be placed.

Language in the lexical approach


The Cobuild data clearly reveal that most of the most frequent 100 words in English are what were traditionally thought of as 'grammar' words; they include as, which, these,our; most.Yery few of the 100 most frequent words are those traditionally thought of as 'vocabulary': time, people, man, little, good.

We can explore this idea from a slightly different perspective. Write down 10 adjectives that you think are likely to be used fairly frequently with each of these nouns: wit, plea, guest, position, idea. For which word is the task easiest, and for which almost impossible?

A glance at a dictionary such as The LTP Dictionary of Selectedcollocations revealsthat some words have many more collocatesthan others. It is broadly true that the less frequent a word's overall frequency, the smaller its collocational field, so it is easier to think of collocates of more common words. Many nouns which are frequent and which do not themselveshave much meaning - situation, idea, position, way - have huge collocational fields. It makeslittle sense with suchwords to ask exactly what they ,mean', and even less to ask learnersif they 'know' the word; it is similar to asking Do you know the word 'to'? Although traditionally thought of as vocabulary, these words are more part of the grammar of the languagethan they are part of its lexicon. In each case there is a great deal to be leamed about how the word is used - the collocations and expressions of which it forms part. Traditional vocabulary teaching has largely overlooked the central role these highly frequent words play in the language.

Different words exhibit different kinds of pattem, which implies different kinds of treatment in the language classroom. write two or three sentences for each of these words - try to think of examples which are 'typical'uses of the words: telescope,cat; speak, beautiful, strange, sometimes. which of the words do you think are easiest for learners to acquire and which are most difficult? Which do you think they are most and least likely to ask vou about in class?

Commentary 1. Telescope.Perhapssurprisingly, the rarest is the easiestfor the learner and the teacher;once the leamer has understoodthe word - and in this casethat meansknowing the correspondingword in the leamer's own language- there is very little more to be said abouttelescope.


Language in the lexical approach

2. Car. But a relatively common noun like car is a different matter; it would be useful to introduce it togetherwith some of its common adjective and verb collocates suchaspowet'ul, second-hand, family, hire, start, (not*begin), the car broke down. Nouns which are more common have larger collocational fields, so some collocatesshould be introduced from the earliest possible point in courses. 3. Speak. This verb posesdifferent problems;it is one of a group of verbs with similar meanings - say, speak, tell. The difference between these does not need to be explained, so much as explored, because the difference between them lies not so much in their meaning, more in the way they are used - in other words their different collocational fields. They should be introduced with a small family of real examples which show some typical collocations and their families compared and contrasted.[Compare the lists on pp 34 and 61.1It is important for the teacherto draw attention to patterns: say (actwalwords) : H ellolThank yoilS orry : t ell John/me/ omeone/theclass to s (do something).The teachershould also provide the 'negativeevidence'of what is not actually possible: *say me/John/someone . . . . Say is not to followed by a name, person or personal pronoun in this structure (although compareHe said John wowldhelp.) 4. Beautiful. This adjective is only the opposite of ugly in a small range of examples. The oppositedepends the following noun. on 5. Strange. Here is a word with at least two very different meanings. Like most adjectives,as soon as it is taken out of context, much of the information about how it is used is lost. Such adjectivesshould be introducedas part of naturally occurring collocations, and possible alternative collocations should be explored with learners immediately and attention drawn to important blockedcollocations. soonas simple word-for-wordtranslations in the As are learner'smind, acquisition of the patternsin which they are actually used will be impeded. 6. Sometimes. This apparently simple word presents a different problem again.One currently popularcoursebook teaches on a scale: it DVo............. never rarely not often 50Va........... sometimes oJten usually l00%o always

but is this helpful? Write down two or three natural sentences which contain one of neve\ sometimes or always. Now try substituting one of the other words.Try theseexamples: I sometimes wish I lived in France. xI never/alwayswish I lived in France. I've always wantedto live in France. (?)I've sometimeswantedto in France. live Sometimes think I shouldmove. I *Never/AlwatsI think I shouldmove.

Language in the lexical approach


It soon becomesclear that the words are rarely substitutablefor each other without the sentence seeming odd, absurd or plain wrong. And does sometimes ever suggest50Ea,and if it does, 50vo of what? As long as the teaching of grammar and vocabulary are separated,this kind of problem is avoided until the learner actually tries to use the language.vocabulary and grammar interact at every level, in language of all kinds; separating them violates the nature of language; it also helps introduce confuslon, eror and frustration into the whole processof learning a secondlanguage. Thinking about thesefew words clearly shows that telescope canbetaught by simple translation, but in all the other cases,some exploration of collocation and context is essentialif important featuresof how the word is used are to be noticed by leamers. so, different kinds of words require different kinds of treatment in the classroom,but rnost need to be met and acquired together with other words in collocations, expressions other chunks.words taught on their own will, or after all, have to be put with other words if they are ever to form parl of the leamer's active vocabulary. one word above all others demonstrates both that different words need to be dealt with differently and the importance of acquiring words in complete phrases.

7.9 The central role of o/
Looking at languagethough a narrow grammatical perspectivehas obscured one feature of English of staggeringimportance - the central role played by the 'word'of Traditional grammar has very few word-classes,so it was perhapsinevitable that of was classified as a preposition. Sinclair points out, however, that in many exampTes aware of the problem, much of the time - of is closely related to the word which precedes it rather than the word that follows it, so at bestthe term 'preposition'is highly inappropriate. Nor is it typically about possession, althoughin a few casesthere is a deceptivesimilarity: the car's roof, the roof of the car. rn most cases,however,this kind of ,transfbrmation' produces bizane results;ffy it, for examplewith these:a breachof the peace. the King of Sweden,the price of a ticket.

Make a list of a dozen expressions containing the word of. Can you find different pattems of use? Can you find one particularly important pattern? Can you see why of might be one of the most useful and most frequent words in English?


Language in the lexical approach

In fact, o/is the secondmost common word in English, second only to the. This immediately suggestsit either has many different roles in English, or it studiesshow that it Sinclair's corpus-based has a use which is all-pervasive. does have different uses,but that its frequency is largely a result of a single use, unemphasised in large academic glammars, and almost completely ignored in pedagogic grammars and teaching materials. It is the single most important way of building a pafiicular kind of multi-word noun phrase, and therefore central to any considerationof collocation' Most traditional grammar lessonsinvolve patternsof the verb phrase,loosely 'the tenses'.Traditionally, little or no attention has been paid to the grammar (nonof the noun phrase. However, examination of naturally occurring texts is the narrative) texts shows that one of the defining features of such : of preponderance complex noun-phrases of in developments the management financially sensitive Recenttechnologichl of finding ways of controlling information have demonstratedthe importance the meansof accessto such information. Knowledge of data managementis essentialfor graduates of any discipline who hope to work in those areas of the economy which currently have the greatestchanceof growth during thefirst half of the next decade. Look back at those examples; does one word jump off the page? The (6). examplescontain 65 words, the most frequent of which areof (9) and the There it is, staring us in the face, the most common word in the examples the second most common in the whole language, hardly mentioned in traditional ELI grammar teaching; o/ is the key to the construction of noun phrases English. in Sinclair gave a clear explanation of the function and importance of of in Collocation" Corpus,Concordance, The simple structureof nominal groups is basedon a headword which is a noun. Determiners, numerals, adjectivesetc. come in front of the noun and modify its meaning in various ways. Prepositional phrases and relative clauses come after the noun and add further strands of meaning. The function of of is to introduce a second noun as a potential headword: this kind of Problem the axis of rotation the botrle of Port Each of the two nouns can support pre-modifiers' 'zones' As I write this, there is a heated debateabout the name of one of the of London's Millennium Dome; religious gloups did not like the name spirit that zone,so it was changedto thefaith zone.This promptedsomecomplaints

and that such noun phrasescan be very long.which contain of. precisely becauseo/ separates the two nouns so that each is separately available for pre-modification without ambiguity. As long ago as 1990. Although LGSWE rightly points out that noun phrases are made in many ways. they will presumably say Where is the faith zone? The ambiguity.lexical bundles . could have been solved by calling it the zone of faith.Sinclair claimed: is .Language in the lexical approach 147 \e.Here are a few of the dozen or so types of phrase they list: thesekinds of questions a set of books the brutal murder of a child a mouthful of food They also list well over a hundred short phrases. and hence the problem. so the organisers have settled on the ungrammaticalnamefaith zone.and vocabulary as distinct categories simply wrong.10 Grammar Sinclair has arguedthat once we have sufficient corpus-based evidencewe of this book. This will probably not happenwithout proactive intervention by the teacher. If they are to write well. :rt t1I lie 'lrr )st nd )ly lar )nhe lve no it soundedas if one faith had priority . This small selection gives a flavour of how central such phrasesare to this kind of writrns: as a result of as afunction of from thepoint ofview of in the case of in tenns of in theformation of in the direction of in the case of a in a number of ways in the context of the similar to that of with the exceptionof at the time of the at the level of at the time of writing It is worth noting that this languageis precisely the kind of languagereferred to earlier which is likely to be invisible to learners.whose attention is much more likely to be focussedon difficult content words.the faith.the consensusof opinion among applied linguists is that the separation of grammar .although when anyoneasksfor it. it also endorsesthe view that different kinds of phrases containing of are one of the largest subcategoriesof noun phrase. they need to add both kinds of lexical item to their mental lexicons. es' LrLt hat Although there is considerabledisagreementabout what categoriesare most appropriate for different purposes. and which are typical of academic writing. species nouns: quantifying collectives: comparable genitives: to nouns with -/z/: rhe he 6) S - 1n run 1n 7.

There'sno need b (asUwarn/tell/remind etc) (John/your mother/me/etc). Sometimes may be part of a pattem .. sffong collocations. but are the accumulation of the pattenxsof hundredsof individual words and phrases..certain idioms and fixed expressions are invarianl. however.or patternto pattern:I'll seeyou (time expression).based on understanding and breaking down in different ways and to different degrees. Equally. Colligations are even more general .tl Withir emph at the i langua fixed gener A mor We mr realise EFL r colloc .Chomsky claimed that a grammar should produce 'all and only' the coffect sentences a language.they relate word to pattern.input which is essentiallylexical. There is generalagreementthat there is a spectrumbetweenwhat is particular and what is general. or at least almost invariant.At leastthis is familiar to teachers. there has been a tendencyto believethat the generalisations but of grammar really are true generalisations. grammatical featuressuchas articlesor prepositions conclwsively.1 Dou-e of dif man)' 7. single words. Michael Hoey has commented: someway and make generalisations Grammar is the product of the colligationsyou have noted in the language and Sinclair claims: Grammatical generalizationsdo not rest on a rigid foundation. the authors of the monumental LGSWE observe in their introduction: Syntax and lexicon are often treated as independent components of English. have already We met the idea of blocked collocations. of course. A sourceof frustration to learnersand teachersalike. we also sort it in aboutit. Grammar sffuctures generalisefurther. they are not.Implicit in thesecommentsis the importanceof learners meeting large amountsof input which they can use as the basis for their own generalisations. Analysis of real texts shows. although such collocations are grammatically well-formed and could be sanctioned by the native-speaker community. In other words. Grammar often over-generalises to We have seen Different 'levels' of languagegeneralise different degrees.the set o prona in se actua gene mefia peopl begin bring The c Peter Iti t1fi InC .lexical collocationssuch as stronglysuggest. somewords regularly coprove occur with other words . this view denies that when learners 'rules'the learnerhas producecorrect sentences theseare basedon abstract been taught. of We now realis there natl\/l Althc 'pote least Manr gene that n . colligations and traditional grammar structures represent varying degrees of generalisability.grammatical collocations such as take the opportunity ro. we do not simply rememberevery bit of languagewe have ever met and list it. but here a word of warning is necessary.the rules are neither more nor less than various provisionaland partial generalisations. that words do not occur with other words at random. that most syntactic structurestend to have an associatedset of words or phrasesthat are frequently used with them.148 Language in the lexical approach becomingavailablecastsgravedoubtson the wisdom of The evidence postulating separatedomains of lexis and syntax. they are arbitrarilydeemed'wrong': Wedon't say that. while open collocations. In similar vein.

but this is the wrong way to look at the issue.the pattem is only used in a particular genre. or is almost invariably used with. they do not seemto be part of the languageas it is difficult to make grammatical generalisations from I'll seeyou tomorrow -varrations such as You/He'll see me/you/him tomorrow. :ular and open )sent mply titin nted: 'uage rigid idual . rather than what they might. although 'coffect' are not entirely convincing as what people do. that grammar frequently over-generalisesin the sensethat there are many possible grammatically well-formed sentencesto which the native speaker'snatural responseis You could say that.alike. though usually with somerestrictions. This is true of many utterances beginning I'll. however.Yow'llbring it on Monday. Looked at as an actual utterance rather than a sentence. where the 'equivalent'with loz seemslikely only if tagged:I'll bring it on Monday. for example. teaching collocation means giving attention to a much wider range of patterns which peaker . a personal pronoun. teaching collocation emphasises vocabularyrather than grammar. or some other similar restriction.ll Lexis Within the traditional grammar/vocabularydichotomy. occurs naturally in first person sentences speech. Every word has its own grammar.but hardly at all in in secondor third person. Although these sentencesmay be 'correct'... and structural pattems are more restricted than traditional EFL rules acknowledged. to those which provide a high degree of generalisation.. say. A more'grammatical' approach We may summarisesimply by saying that words are more generativethan was realised earlier.mers own LINETS :r has L1 and /Il llt rl.. and are what we may call 'potentialEnglish'. languageis fundamentally lexical. DouglasBiber and his colleagues have analysedmany different sub-corpora of different registers and draw the general conclusion that: [These] show many generalisations have limited domainsof applicability.will for the first time reveal ways in which there is a lack of regularity and rule much more of the time than previously thought. and that many supposedlygeneralpattems are subjectto restrictions of somekind . or at leasthas been.The dichotomy is invalid. bwt you wowldn't. Many recent studiesof used languagehave shown that some of the long-held generalisations provided by grammar are in practice over-generalisations.or is typical of only a restricted set of verbs.increasingly sophisticated text analytic software .actuallyused.Language in the lexical approach 149 f Ltreir )f c 'e realise. ) seen ly coprove . and languagepattems are arrangedon a spectrumfrom thosewhich are absolutely fixed and non-generative.itions :e the rrd to t need ctures lready rS AIE 7.won't you? The current theoretical position is represented thesetypical commentsby by Peter Skehan(A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning): It is likely that the growing existence of large corpora together with . rmiliar iatlons lmmar re now .

If the size of the leatnet's mental lexicon collocations the learner knows than we to do with the number of phrasesand the ways in have previously recognised. Hc w( A b. d. for example' Recommendationfor candidatepreparatlon This is particularly relevant to Question 1 [in CAE] in which an knowledgeof collocationis a greatasset' extensive recognisethe Bearing in mind the enormousvocabulary load which we now leaming individual collocations in leamers need. candidates need or gerund for example) and what structurefollows a verb (an infinitive whatprepositionitgoeswith..using questions is The government trying to closethe """' betweenrich and poor' C' distance D' door A. it is a more traditional structural syllabus.150 Language in the lexical approach of any suffound individual words.. learnersneed a clear introduction to the -rt they also tt"y are to gain maximum benefit from any languagethey meet.gup Ot co pr m1 of kn In Ch testc( Teach simpl comb learne testltr colloc both t Mi 1.there are a lot of words to is more lot to know about eachword. is being As Peter Hargreaves' paper clearly demonstrates. and record collocations. It is useful for candidates know thatreach or agreement tell wrth lies. Testing need to acquire the ability to notice suchas: collocationis superficiallyeasy. collocation examining boards as an element in recognised increasingly explicitly by the Cambridge a assessing leamer's overall proficiency.W A h C.L2 Collocation and testing than we have It is now clear that any learner's mental lexicon is larger items rather previously recognisedand that much of it consistsof multi-word level. it is clear that rather than whole idea' preparationfor the exam. excursrcn. Wt 2. The higher the student's know.13 This < in the . Certificate of Advanced English Proficiency(CPE). just an It is in fPaper 3] that knowing a whole phrase rather than to know individual word is particularly important. this meansmany mole patternsthan those 'gfammatical' respect. and a Michael Hoey remarks in his chapter. A 3.Itisalsovaluabletostudythedifferences trip and between words of a similar meaning such as is clear that we need to reconsider is which vocabularY tested. Examinations such as (cAE) and First certificate (FCE).nowencoulagethestudyofcollocationaSpartofthe exampfeparation'Here. sPace B. C. Even betwe gene know 7.forexample'a.iowrney.Collocationsarealsoanimportant goeswith to feature of Part 3.tresomecommentsfromtheFCEand CAE examiners: Learningcollocationsisausefulprepalationfor[Paper3]sincethese arefrequentlytested. the more this is true' As than individual words. In this it avoids approach than the traditional structural syllabus precisely because the problems which arise from separatinggrammar from vocabulary" But il leame taken Howa 7..

rather rue. stability. e have . Which of the following are acceptable: My a) car b) health c) income d) marriage e) holiday was damaged. As Peter Howarlh has observed: One drawback (of finding out how many subjects know a given collocation) is the difficulty of establishing the validity of any predehned list of target collocations.As t. times etc) d. or to use test items which require learnersto write either a specifiednumber or asmany collocates as they can for a particular word. Teacherswho devise their own tests need to be conscious of the danger of simply making the lexicon seem like a confused mass of arbitrary word combinations.corpus linguistics and computer corpora are .and in particular about recent changes in the way we describelanguage. stepshave to be taken to ensure that the test items are devised in principled ways. however.this componentof a learner's linguistic competenceis one of the least predictable.etc) (rise. and a 1S more han we n. d. stadium. crash. You said you'd help. market (research. Here are example test items of both types: 1.You can't break your promise! e. being nent m ntrridge E) and t of the rCE and hese JNCES r and st an (now ) and )fiant with gnisethe ations in Lole idea. Shall we break the meeting now? 3. and more general testing. Peter Hargreavestakes up the question of how difficult it is to test collocation in principled and sustainableways.Language in the lexical approach 151 of any Latical' avoids But if such testing is to avoid arbitrariness.etc) b. penetration. simply demonstrating that the leamer either does or doesnot know a particular collocation. ticket.price. In chapter 10. making it hard Io generalizefrom subjects' knowledge or ignoranceof a small number of individual items. Two possible ways forward are to use test items which ask leamers to recogniseboth acceptableand unacceptable collocations.promise. How many nouns do you know which can go immediately after these words: a. 2. It broke his confidence. train Even with items of these types. station. since. b. football (match. they also Testing 7.aysin . Care must also be taken to ensurethat the words chosen are known to be appropriateto the learners'level. Which of the following contain correct usesof the verb break? a. A suddencry broke the silence. etc) (timetable.13 Necessityfor change This chapterhas been about language. price c. c. as many EFL teachers might agree. I have broken my watch. care must be taken to distinguish between testing what has been formally taught in the course. player.

aslong aswe are constrained coursebooks syllabuses based primarily on a list of discrete grammar points with vocabulary sectionswhich are little more than lists of single words. or materials which replicate exactly the linguistic featuresrevealedby accuratedescription. to the langwageand that there may be a case for specially designedlanguage teaching materials 'real' language.I feel it incumbent upon us to take this on board. He goes on to argue. 2) suggests approach(Modern English Teacher.for example. this must affect the way we approachour teaching. Henry Widdowson wrote: Swchanalysis provides wswith facts.14 Wen descr man). thin-ss precls lnale compl theonchapte in con is fund princig compa on dis expefll their tr It is nc or cou action the ho providi before change This bc We mt teacha we har. of and with a very balancedassessment both the opportunities and concludes difficulties presentedby our presentunderstandingof the nature of language: Michael Lewis says in Implementing the Lexical Approach that what may not changevery much as a result we actuallydo in the classroom of our own change in thinking about the centrality of lexis in the languageand the languagelearning process. Competent teachers need to be up to date with thesedescriptionsin the sameway that a competent doctor needs to know about new drugs and treatments. In the earlier years of this descriptive revolution.Guy Aston do not of themselves has pointed out that basic factors such as availability. and unquestionably better. but they cartj any guarantee of pedagogic relevance. hitherto Ltnknown.or ignored. deeply involved in new descriptionsof has similarly observedThereis a tensionbetweentruth the spokenlanguage. shall s method . Ron Carter. teachability and classroom needs are at least as important in designing language courses as strictly linguistic criteria.152 Language in the lexical approach powerful tools. the assembly of prefabricated chunks. 8 No. pedagogicjudgement. However. But it is not selfevident that improvements in description necessarily imply changes in methodology. to a large degree.such materials may which simulate some of the features of be more effective than real material. If the evidence is accumulating that it is not tenableto make a sharpdistinction betweenlexis and grammar and that speech involves. descriptions of English than we have ever had before.I would like to think that we can bring about a gradual changein learners'perceptionof the language at clr m Teac radic chan5 bette COUIS Magg vocab learne single 7.Unfortunately.good teachersalways adapttheir coursematerials and I would like to believe in the 'cumulative effect' of small but unremarkable changes in classroom practice which Michael Lewis also hopes for in Implementingthe Lexical Approach. In an article assessing importance of corpora and the descriptive insights the they offer for all languageteachers. Maggie Baigent. writing of her experiencein trying to implement a lexical various activities Vol. to an extent by and he is right. and regularly produce new.Ivor Timmis writes: Where corpora seem to be telling us something about the nature of languageor the nature of languageprocessing.

what aids or impedes leaming. Teaching colrocation does not mean a radical upheaval. or better still. ". 4) complains that The Lexicar Approach does not have a coherent leaming theory. providing leamers with a more changer.there is fundamental asymmetry betweenproof and disproof. often with comparativeease. but we learners than any sylrabus based on a limited list of structures and lists of single words.even in principle. we can never. The improvement may be subr changeis not an option. hers )tent selfsln -ote: they ston and SAS and lead them towards greater autonomy in identifying multi-word chunks in language they are exposedto. but in a recent article Scott Thombury (Moderu English Teacher. This Lrookis specificallyabout teaching.No. prompting new theories and experiments. 7. -uy not make material more or less teachable. then. We must hope that in due coursesyllabusesand textbookswill change and the constraintsmentionedby Maggie Baigent will become less.which will provide further evidence urri n"i" theories. Karr Fopper As hu. rather than describing. this is true and the implications are taken up in the next chapter. we shall suggest that there are considerable imprications for classroom are based on disproving the currently accepted view.iuirv inaccurate. sof rtth Y'r' 7. Lexis the merging of gru--u.collocation.comprehensive l. many small changesin the activities they focus on in the classroo-. and making these more and more part of their communicativerepertoire. unc vocabulary. In many ways.That is the subject of the next chaoter. prove general statement. rals nay the ghts I l i t I ical tres and I5 " .o conclusivelyshown.yor. but it does mean a radical change of mindset for the teacher. un the sarnetime. change una p. things in the classroommust change.14 Summary We may summarise the position: given that we now have much better descriptionsof English than we have everhad before. and. It is not by any meansclear how best to mcorporatelexical views into books or courses. a refusal to separate them _ has more to ofl.thatthisrevealsthat many of the 'rures' previously taught are either wholiy pur. . ask what rnay o.which in their turn will be disproved. This is noi precisely the position proposed sorneyears ago in The Lexicar Approach. So far we havelooked at the useof new descriptions of English but. a lexical.which the the holy grail of a .ogr. we must.viewof language but doespoint to a numberof deficiencies in conventionalsyllabuses.and more importantly still. rike Timmis. *irirt proar"". ' ' Oe t t t t I t t . to be true.demonstratetheir untruth. L"urrr"rs do become better at noticing' storing and using lexical chunks. before.Language in the lexical approach 153 )ttel. teachersneed to be wilring to engagein mini_ actlon researchprogrammes.

in collocations or in complete contexts?Why do you follow the procedureyou do? Do you think a different proceduremight be more effective or more efficient? Which of the following do you regularly draw to leamers' attention: new words. fixed expressions.154 Language in the lexical approach Discussion Questions Do you usually teach new words alone. traditional (opaque) idioms.'What implications. do you think the phrasal nature of languagehas for your classroom? C Micl Lei This what meetl learn recog abilit cruci impot surpr Finall chanl chanX 8. if any. clusters? 'Description is not pedagogy.grammar structures.1 Over us be we n( impin thoug agarn the a 'teach know 'learn and ar separ sortir and ct consi feedb under who v Teach experi challe know why s . collocations.

Teachers sometimes dismiss theory on the grounds that they know from experiencethat something works.". identifythreJ and complexity .1? separate processes involved*t t"#sh .f y.e unimportance of controlled practice..i. io not know why somethingworks. It intr'J. f. as we noted in the previous unnecessarytheory.which contribute tL the overall idea of .*'ri"'r"u"t ability to select and direct rearners'atiention ". particularly the area covered by the broad terms 'knowredg"' unJ-:i" is not self-evident that thesedescriptions impinge directry on the languagecrassroom. to particurar r.#tTn.' ."Jil.. understanding of learning suggests real and how collocation is central to these 8. a clear understandingof these ideas provides an essential framework for teachers who wish to develop their own understanding.1 Introduction over the last ten yearsor so.teacher trainirrg .level. Fa. k the Chapter8 Learning in the lexical approach Michael Lewis This chapter considers what we know what circumstances learners are most is herpfur to begin by thinking ctearty about terminology. Henry widdowson trus irsr"o rwo potent challenges ro this posirion .ru input from intake. shareit or sortin and cribing di. g.."r. and if they do. it requires careful thought to determine-howbest to modify cunent crassroomprocedures. and.h ..Learning in the lexical approach 155 rplete' :erent new lures.firstry.once again. ."* do you know something else wourd not wtrk better? Secondli . It emphasises the importanc recognised on perhaps to the r. and r two kinds of knowledge _ declarative .T:HTil::jH. the analysis of computer-based corporahas given us better descriptionsofEnglish than have ever been availabrebefbre but.. you may be unable to replicate the success. des we ". we shall also consider the non-linear nature of acquisition.?:fi:r':x?11"".. and the rmptications of feedback for the acquisition process. rinsri 1"". It emphasises the I mor: than once. or exampres is ideas of syllabus and level.oo.r.ra... both in class and outside. even if-something *".

Importantly. by someone else. . equally importantly. Is traditional languageteaching likely to achieve this end? If not. or make you look slightly silly.As Diane Larsen-Freeman that teachingdoesnot causeleaming. With declarative knowledge. The tr we ac Indep at thal is dec knowl excha the cu but un a grafi this la: or you T H kr Declar With a vocabu system modifie positio comple gramma nnifmmmiftut I . it is simple from eachother item. exchangerate of the pound go.Some.It is. of The two kinds of knowledge are different in important ways. Less controversially.2 Two kinds of knowledge We look first at knowledge in its widest sense. it is with learning. The secondis knowledge how to.not teaching.So thereis a strongcasefor understanding activities seem to be more effective than others. witty speech welcometo a group of visitors. America has . The first is knowledge that. eachitem separate a single piece of such knowledge may be frustrating. its sole purposeis to facilitate acquisition.declarative and procedural knowledge. you need to look it up or be told it. what teaching strategiesare likely to be rnore successful? Teachertraining coulses often examine what the teacherdoes. or I think the companyhas goed on the seventeen whatever. . wror rna Proc addr knol discr proc we c to lea decla such whicl in the slowl balan canno 8. the lack of information. has so eloquently expressed we acquisition.if you say Ever since the Declaration of Independence. . individually or collectively. however. difficult to know what use learners. do It is comparativelyeasyto study what teachers in classand specify what particular activities are intended to achieve. the relationship between teaching and learning remainsmysterious. The previous chapter looked at what we now know about language.nothing which happensin class should violate the nature of either. Two different kinds of knowledge have long been recognised . but it will not render you unable to do what you want .even questionthe value of explicit leaming. directly or indirectly.that our analysisshouldbegin. make of the language they meet in class and almost impossible to evaluate the effect any particular activity has on learners' long-term language acquisition. the pastparticipleof the ability to actually do something. Everything that happensin class should be consistent with what we know about the nature of both languageand Krashen. drive a car. However much teachers dislike the idea.156 Leaming in the lexical approach why someclassroom with others. there is nothing to understand. it is clear that no teaching can guarantee it. constantlyneedto remind ourselves We also need to lemind ourselvesthat teaching is never an end in itself.selve at either know it or you don't. give a short. againstthe dollar.and languageleaming in particular.but if we want to understand what is most effective in the language classroom. you can rememberit (correctly or incorrectly) or forget it.n general.whenever that was. and involves stating facts or rules the the date of the Declaration of Independence. this chapter looks at what we now know about learning i.

Learning in the lexical. In the examples earlier.and no one else can tell you or explain it to you in a way which ensures you wil|know'it. try again can ' not. once you have acquiredthe ability to ride. but is integrated into your earrier knowledge. you have no altemative but to get on. try.speedand so on. but. : short. slowly. you will acquire an integrated set of skills which are to do with balance. .approach lS7 sroom ens in I both t class rat we about '' what know e they ticular much ammg xplicit rantee It. fall off.the past participre of go is a simple fact. The two kinds of knowredgeare not totally separated. "^lf. Procedural knowledge is about global ability.. the ability to useit is procedural. the date of the Declaration of Independence declarativeknowledge. rds of :dural rrles pound ow to.once properly acquired.New proceduralknowledge. watching someone elseride may help. modifying it in some way. but in the end.tly or simple lack of r look if you I was. you cannotforget it . arative ffectly .understanding why and relating that undersianding to a wide knowledge of American history and politics is procedural. you cannot look up such knowledge. its likely I mole o want s with wrong line this year . .it is yours. why America decrared is independence at that time is complex procedural knowledge. sets of comprexpiocedures. you still. procedurai knowleoge rs not simple discreteitems. we lng.part of you.if you cannot ride a bike. similarry. no amount of declarativeknowledge about how to ride a bike will help. on the Thsr Can you give three examples of procedural knowledge you have and explain how you acquired the knowledge? How does this knowledge differ from the ways you reamed decrarative knowledge? . achieveyour purpose. understanding the movementsof the currency market is procedurar. each bit of learning is not added to what you already 'knew'.the rule but be unableto use it or you may have masteredthe point without being able to state the rule. but understandinghow it is usedfluently and accuratelyis procedural. Stating a grammar rule is declarativeknowledge. your message may be badly expressed. as its name suggests. learning why in High School rs declarative. As this last examplemakesclear. Lack of procedurarknowredge is likely to leave you unable to do something. the but ways in which we acquire them are. but in a more global sense. the exchangerate on any day is a matter of fact.forgttten' in the way we can forget a date or a new word.

3 Acquisition and noticing The basic position of all the contributors to this book partly agrees with Krashen's position. is effort wasted. more than the total duration of many learners' entire formal languageinstruction. contribute to what is acquired.We shall examine this view in somedetail. and partly modifies it (in a way he would not accept). our new awareness the sheer of problems.or they must adapt classroomactivities so that. mental lexicon. but it is suggestedthat the conscious noticing of features of the language that learners meet does facilitate acquisition. mote importantly.lan ment meet 'knov so tha Not r' a less that 1 you \\ and u' Comn funda langu empha the orr right i excep produc all tim mlsun produc Acquis knowle make . Either teachersmust selectand teacha restricted lexicon . These ideas need to be explored in more detail. Any suggestion that size of the mental lexicon raises immense 'teach' a lexicon which runs to many tens of teachers could formally many hundredsof thousands)of thousands(or. the leamer's 'known'. routini invoive lexicon From i 8.but on what criteria. by In addi further The cer only on there m languag to for s linguist 'noticin is perhq . and formal presentationand practice of specific items doesaid acquisition. If Krashen is right. outside the formal teaching situation. which is explicitly directed at conscious learning. Acquisition is acceptedas of central importance. which is conscious. items is clearly unrealistic. which is unconscious. but 'learning' is used only in the senseof what for the rest of this chapterthe term 'acquired' is confined to language is consciouslylearned. rather than teaching individual items. it is not availablefor use. and language acquisition. for studentsof generalEnglish? . This new understandingof the size of the learners'lexical task implies radical changesto the teacher'srole. that is already over 600 classroomhours. Any discrete bit of language which is leamed purely additively cannot contribute what is leameddoesnot acquisitionis essential. formal teaching.158 Learning in the lexical approach intrinsically procedural. He has controversially claimed that only language which is unconsciously acquired is later available for spontaneoususe. Learning and acquisition ln The Natural Approach Krashen introduced the distinction between language learning. they provide learners with strategies which ensurethe leamersget the maximum benefit from all the languagethey meet in and. He claims and leaming hasno value. If each of 20. Acquisition and input Krashen's claim that we acquire language in one and only one way. althoughin some sense This immediately brings to mind Stephen Krashen's distinction between leaming and acquisition. Even if he is wrong.similarly the term to which the learner has immediate accessfor purposesof comprehensionor productiveuse. unde exam . indeed is not part of. for competentnative speakers.000 items took 2 minutes to teach.

Learning in the lexical approach 159 lmed TIEI'S : use. nany Ldical rcted must they mum le the understanding messages. (The Naturar Approach).language. Acquisition involves taking in new material and incorporating it into the knowledge or skills you already have. The fundamentalassumption was that you first neededstructuresand. with :ept). At the risk of being badly misunderstood.input .while this is unquestionably a step in the right direction. Exactly what this 'noticing'might involve. Not very long ago languageteaching emphasisedgrammar structuresand to a lesserextent vocabulary('new words').provides a clear starting point from which to examine our presuppositionsabout how leamers do learn .may make you more confident or may make your speech more automatic or routinised. it is also true that if you wish to turn the languagelearnersmeet .His position is that a learner's interlanguage(the learner's total mental representationof the target language at any moment) is modified by meeting new language which lies on the edge of what the learner already 'knows' in such a way that it is incorporated into the learner's interlanguage so that it is availablefor spontaneous use. Krashen has further claimed that there is only one way in which learnersacquirelanguage: The central hypothesis of the theory is that language acquisition occurs in only one way: by understanding messoges. by .but what ruage on or clous r and sheer L that rs of ls) of each. while there may be much truth in this. The fundamental emphasis of communicative approacheswas and remains that language is about the expression and communication of meaning. I must point out that you cannot acquire a language by producingit. you would move from accuralebut halting production. Producing language . that involves integrating new language into your intergrammar and mental lexicon. particularly speech. it has one unintended side-effect. so it has a tendencyto encourageproduction. This emphasison 'communicating'inevitably values fluency above accuracy. having masteredsome central structures. and what may help or hinder input becoming intake.they almost certainly need to notice the linguistic wrapping in which the messageis the loose sense .so the order of priorities is reversed. ween ween ch is ch is laims )snot 1. to more fluent speech and all places great emphasison the languagethat learners produce.intake .into languagethey acquire and have access to for spontaneoususe . even in the earliest stagesof a course. is perhapsthe most important of all methodological questions. lt the does y. communicative approaches rightly tumed this system on its head.speech. From input to intake In addition to introducing the leaminglacquisition distinction. but that is not the sameas expandingyour languageresources. unless the teacher is exceptionally careful .

which may need to be doing it is language items noticed if they are to be acquired. Many applied linguists and most teachersbelieve that.160 Learning in the lexical approach Tnsx Every teacher knows that some of what you teach seemsto be acquired very easily by leamers but some things that you teach again and again still cause problems for learners. age or the temperature of the room play? mp lan Iri h"lt is tl pro inta 8. the route is completely familiar. natural version which expresses exactly the samecontent. In normal language use. But do you know the names of all the streetsyou drive or walk down? In all probability you know the route. or.words and phrases . at least to some extent. tiredness. transparentto the point of being invisible. Sec prec broa ther the voca For r the r. but you have simply not noticed the names of some of the sffeets.seeor hear .4 In this chapterwe are mostly concernedwith the kind of languageinput which is needed. the medium for but . It is important to realise that the input which is used in the comprehensionof the messagemay differ from the input which is the raw material for the acquisition of language. You probably make a daily journey from your home to your place of work.We need to examine this belief in detail. if presentedin writing. Activities which encourase learners to notice certain features of the Given helpfu (witho unders kinds < This is langua Discus Freeme Isev will ltem valu . we are usually so predisposed to focus on the message. and you could give someoneelse directions for the journey. The global purpose of languageis the communicating of messages.that the languagein which it is delivered is frequently ignored.the differences between the languagethey used to expresssomething and the correct natural version expressing the same content. focussing leamers' attention explicitly on some aspect of the linguistic form of the input is helpful in acceleratingthe acquisition process. then that input cannot contribute to intake. If they do not notice . What factors do you think influence whether input becomes intake? Do you think it depends mostly on the input language or mostly on the leamer's current knowledge? How important do you think factors such as motivation. are c stud such mem Notic the te also t some occas Awarr wary l in the expen Tlsr What sorl of language which would be useful from an acquisitional point of view do you think your students might fail to notice unless you provided guidance? Experiments have shown that even quite advanced and motivated learners often do not seethe difference between their own effective but inaccurateor unnatural language and a similar correct.they are irrelevant when you can achieve your global purpose without attending to such details.

Awarenessof the potentially wide mJaning of the word.position is that it probabry has at least a facilitative.however. For example.'t il" on oth". Even in the most traditional grammar-orientated crassrooms. irons /e or i not r can lobal l for obe L the i.deliberate focussing of attention. NCTS le or )SSES nces lural eto : the .noticing. occasronswe cannot recall something to which we paid a"tiu. leurn". helpfur effect. memory. This is one part of the teacher'stask in encouragingrearnersnot to break the languagethey meet down too far.As always. or. while ostensibly studying a structure. caution and an open-mindedwillingness to experiment. .it is likely to be helpful to make learners explicitly u*urJ of the Lxical nature of language (without using that terminology). ''Ofk. Second Language Acquisition researchers are somewhat divided over preciserywhat factors influence what part of input becomesintake. namely. or at reastincidental. and revise our vlews on effective methodology. shoutc mate us very wary about attaching too much importanc! to any particular kind of noticing in the languageclass.. Noticing is not quite the straightforward matter it might seemon first meeting the tem' In everydayuse.4 Noticing rhich r the raw most rtron ul in etail. This means helping leamers deverop an understandingof the kinds of chunks found in ttre teits .rearnersacquire some of the vocaburaryused to exemplify and p-ractise the grammar."o.but there is no agreementon the precise meaning of the word . Discussing value of instruction. Explicit noticing is a necessary.the current-uin. It is essentialto remember.rr"y -""r. It is also the casethat sometlmeswe are able to recall what we accidentally noticed. Given the presentstageof our knowledge of acquisition.s acquire vocabularywhich must result from accidentar. but suggestnevertheless that explicit instruction does have a value.Learning in the lexical approach 161 mput probably contribute to the value of the input specifically from the language acquisition point of view. much ress long_term.t."u.::tt 8. the word can refer to both accidentalawareness and also to the results of. There is a broadconsensus ranguage that that is not noticeddoesnot b""o-" intake. that the belief that deliberate noticing helpsis by no meansan established certainty.of the which noticing is a part. Diane Larsen_ Freemancomments: [severalresearchers] have pointed out that explicit grammar instruction will not likery result in immediate mastery of specific grammatical essential. nor sufficienr condirion bur ro ensurethat input becomes . and the kinds of prefabricatedgroups of words which are the prerequisite of fluency.rroir. teachers are only too aware that formally teaching a number of *ordr. or requiring studentsto 'learn these words for homework' is not sufficient to ensure that such items w'l be committed even to short-term.or?J.Equally.rut" attention. facilitating input.

leading to future progress' in In his article (The Role of Consciousness SecondLanguage Learning. sorting it into categoriesor pattems may help (see below).5 Noti lang exail .Instructioncan work .162 Learning in the lexical approach 'grammar' instruction.. so that it is the leamer that doesthe extracting and focussing. It would be a tragedy if further time was wasted u"rtatitlttg complex descriptionsof lexical patteflrs. . however. In A Cognitive Approach to LanguageLearning. rather than many other features which are irrelevant from an acquisition point of view. Sorting and describing the A word of caution.especially when there is no evidence that such descriptions would help acquisition.verbalise . they Although her comments relate specifically to Sulelyapplyequallytoinstructionwhichensufesleamersnoticeanykindof patteming in the inPut theY meet. Directing learners' attention Despite any doubts about precisely how noticing helps. but as a function of how he or she has been prepared' Reporting a major study of noticing by Richard Schmidt.what you noticed is completely bet { 1 I I Aft< mln I ll r I l'. Skehancontinues: of The consequence Schmidt receiving instruction was that what had been unstructured. . There is a world of difference between you notice?Being teacheraskingDid you notice .Noticing language helps. and indeed may intimidate and confuse. learners. Applied Linguistics Vol. and the learner's task is to extract relevantfeatureswhich can then be focussed on fruitfully... it is safe to say that learners frequently do not notice the precise way an idea is expressed' sometimeseven if their attention is drawn to it' Some training in the sorts of chunks which make up the texts they read or hear increasesthe chance of them noticing useful language. PeterSkehanobserves: Input contains many alternative features for processing. ?.. andasking What did different from able to describe . 11 No. undifferentiated input (but whose nonunderstanding had not impeded understanding very much) became noticeable and analysable. .2) Schmidt points out the crucial difference l( 1 r( fc tn is f.] 1l giving the (supposed)rules. describing the categories almost certainly doesnot. but which is of no benefit to. p bt bi in In su teach whic learn inpu 8. It could well be that concentrating on such descriptions is an activity which may appeal to making salientless obvious aspectsof the input.

we still perceive thesecompeting stimuri and may pay attention to them if we choose. or rungffi (lexicon. the more likely that the (e. rut which they do not understand.""essary for adult acquisition of redundant grammatical features.5 The importance of examples Noticing examples of language in context is central to the acquisition of language. Urt i. rather than the syntacticpecutiaritresor the writer's style..but rg leamers toward the input language onal point of view. This'requirement of "ottr"io.. for example. Tasx You arepresumably fairly confidentthat you can identify a chair whenyou seeonebut canyou define. .However. music playing on the radio in the next ioom.that ssed. so that it includesat chairs and excludesbenches. After a long discussion the role of conscrousness of he concludes (the bold is mine): I have claimed that subliminal language learning is impossible and that intake is what rearners notice. rts of :e of I are :h to te :d ]S 8. between information that is perceived and .picking up target language forms from input when they do not carry information crucial to the task. lsted :re is li be al to and )s or ainly information that is noticed: When reading. . .Recent psychologicaltheory suggesrs that implicit learning t best characterized as the gradual accumulation forriOr".What learners notice is constrained by a number of factors. r the ieing from iome new you I you Jless at ls. rence .Z Do you think your definition is precise.. rather than unconscious induction of an abstractrule system. which raises the difficult question of what we mean by good examples. appears unlikely^foradults. the more aware text is made.-".ur"o into many different theories of second language acquisition.Learning in the lexical approach 163 they rdof. ..... of associations between frequentry co'occurring features..uihuir. we are normally aware of (notice) the content of what we are reading. stoolsand other things you might sit on? rd rues: rd n- ning.ihe style of type in which the text'is set. and -t. but incidental leaming is certainly possible when task demands focus attention on relevant featuresof the input.Incidental leaming in another sense. paying attention to Ianguage form is hypothesised to be facilitative in aillases. and can u-" ii"orpo. piagmatics)-. grammatical form..Jy noricing is meant to equalry to all aspect. lqlv phonology..

there score' a two individuals or teams.solitaire' chess'poker. a class is classmust shareall the defining characteristicsof the class. to make a list of criteria so all the games 'games'' to call all the activities criteria. the only necessarycharacteristicsare collocational! In general.perhapsmost. you play all of themaccording to rules..ofalistof d e i i n i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s : i t m a y e v e n b e t h e c a s e t h a t t h e'game" t s h a r e o n e o r ymus for with to more or the characteristics count as a member of the class.. golf. we are happy the members of a The difficulty arises from our initial assumption.ilnlt* categories alwaysfttzzy. and membership of the category could be made' matter upon which definite and indisputable decisions considering the concept of that this was not so by wittgenstein demonstrated 'a game'. assumedthat all the members of a category shared or class was thus a these could be listed. The implication doubts are is played in a specialplace' there is a one result.allthememberssharesome. Most of us happily agreethat SoCCer' games. it was generally assumedthat aproblem-freeprocedure'butitisnowrecognisedasaprincipalsourceof the later work confusion and error in many disciplines.The main simplification that is introduced by conventional grammar is merely the decoupling of lexis and syntax' Pete corI bef toa gen lmp( be tr wide wec exan com exan cate The i justil of bc Lang Sincli pailer frequ and ri differr Unfor suppo more needa often : 1 2 3 4 5 \\ .164 Learning in the lexical approach 'chair'than othersand Somechairs seemto be better examplesof the category between you almost certainly found while doing the task that the boundaries closely at what are . baseball and Tomb Raider (a computer game) are all satisfy all the probably impossible.It is worth looking more 'good examPle'. but some are better examples than others. It is difficult. and a winner. some are better 'game" perhapssurprisingly. morelikeafamily. it is played between example.In the caseof the only criteria all games seem to fulfil is purely linguistic. We immediately see that some games' which no more of thesecriteria. What is 'a game'? patience. but are of the patterns of hundreds of individuai words and the accumulation phrases. criteriainclude: you can p|ay not fulfil one oI is that not all members of a category or class are equal.a classis a collection of items all of which shareenough of the list of defining characteristicsto count as members of the class.. some of the characteristicsmay be essential. Philosophers. exemplarsof the classthan others. despite this difficulty. amply demonstrated why this is so' a group of characteristics. some important but not essentialand some of relatively marginal importance' The most important fact we need to note is that membershipof a class is not the simple matter earlier analysessupposedit to be' In the early days of the Cobuiid project Sinclair wrote: do grammatical generalizations not lest on a rigid foundation.that all In fact.notably Previously it was of Wittgenstein. are rules. we meanby a categorisationwas until the mid-2oth century.

a good example of the present continuous. Description of a category . Learners (and teachers)need to acceptthat the best we can hope for are helpful but provisional descriptions. Similarry. what t was ce of work was stics. with more sub-palterns than we like to think. one does not study all of botany by making artificial flowers.teachers shouldtry to avoid inventingexamples in class.than has usually been believed.typical. ls not of the Tlsr Write down each of the following: i. the more we realise that the generalisations which we thought could be formulated as 'rules' tend to be more parlial or more restricted . 5. 2. often spoken. say. lance.This is because words ar the and what is a good example from on different types of texts. o fa A S ST S Tnsr far aspossible. icult. 'As ist of Ine oI :" for . ll the mes'. examplesneed to be given with both care and caution. lUS a they can direct l"arrreisi attention to natural.The more we know abouthow ranguag"i. . :pt of Peter skehan endorsesthis view when he suggests that the more we examine corpora. a common expressioncontaining I'm going to. a good example of the present perfect. colligations are parlial generalisations.perhaps to a particular genre .Learning in the lexical approach 165 s and vr/een. 3. Unfortunately. collocations exhibit pattems. some examples to show the difference between speak. however. in fact.a rule rarely apply as widely as you first think. What makes you think that your examples are good examples? nd aal . parado patterns are.ween lle. Sinclair has remarked. some verbs that go with the noln exam.but the blockeJcollocationis an important reminder that even quite modest linguistic generalisations need to be treated with caution. The languageis more usedto justify inventing examples. languageteachinghas a history of inventing examplesto fit the supposed rules.exampleswhich are most rikery to promote acquisition. difficult to ident frequent. a"tuaity used." you agree? Do What justification can you offer for inventingexamples? Language examples for learners Sinclair has pointed out that. shouldnot. unless they are typical of only a very small subcategory. talk. so truly typical examples are elusive. a ) one latlon better ingly.the more unsatisfactory this processseems. golf.It is increasinglyclear that teachers need a sensitivity to examples. The difficulty of choosingtypical examples. all of ional! helist Ie are :ntial.

. the more likely it is that this languagewill becomepart of the leamers'intake complete with certain grammatical features. Even with authentic examples. 'phraseology'. surely you didn't invent them? If you did.'collocation'and the like. But taking words out of their natural context leavesbehind important information.I 166 Learning in the lexical approach In doing the task. we have to remind ourselves that collocations are not words which are put together. grammar and words interact in complex ways. certain grammatical eIroIS afe likely to be eliminated. choosing exampleswhich are the most appropriate for a particular group of leamers is not easy. the reverse of how language is used in This meansthe teacherneedsto be alert to the fact that normal circumstances. When language is used naturally. The importance of real examples also has implications for what language and how this shouldbe done. they are words which 'build' collocations in the language naturally occur together. shouldbe recordedin learners'notebooks Recording examples From a classroom point of view. therefore. use a computer concordance and compare your examples with their authentic examples. when we classroom the process is artificial. and for the vocabulary examples you chose untypical grammar. Every word has its own grammar. what makes you so sure that they are good examples?It is almost certain if you that they are very poor invented examplesconsisting of a one-clausesentence examples.i acquirr immed rush ht Stop fc have an idea is produc somebo which I Assumi languag (abstra general has me observa . . both teachersand learnershave a sffong tendencyto take new words out of context .particularly those which exemplify grammar the learners'own output. or at least their number reduced. the larger the unit she can identify. and which leamers can be encouragedto notice and fecord. The decoupling of lexis and syntax leads to the creation of a rubbish 'idiom'. and. accessible for future use. dump that is called The evidence now becoming available casts grave doubts on the wisdom of postulating separatedomains of lexis and syntax' Peo mu coregu 'me shol SOml mad easi ASto ofm Exal If te autor route + noi teachi gramr then r much Itisd leame some kind 1 would There langua that u. If this judgement seems harsh.the emphasis is on understandingthe meaning.. did you go and find real examplesor did you invent them? After Sinclair's warning. Sinclair puts the position clearly and strongly: Many of those people who are professionally engaged in handling languagehave known in their bonesthat the division into grammar and vocabulary obscuresa very central area of meaningful organisation.You will become better at it with experience particularly if you pay attention to the co-text which surroundsthe language point you are interestedin.It is also very likely that for the structure examples you chose untypical vocabulary. howevet. separatinggrammar from vocabulary is unwise. If the intake is accurately noticed and stored. but with how the word is used. not concerned with what the word means.

ed to art of ssible rs are 'own act m e new . I you poor r also rlary. every effort should be made to ensureit is a natural example which simulatesreal use. 'meaningful organisation'. icular lence Iuage luage People are most comfortable in the company of friends and acquqintances. in sinclair.perhapsverb + (adjective) + noun .to a complete phrase which evokes a situation.rather than an easily-madebut highly artificial EFL example with which we are all familiar. This meanslanguage doesnot needto be _ indeed should not be . it should be automatic for them to create a context for the use. Examples given by the teacher If teachers find it necessary to create an example in class. including grammatical collocations such as prepositions and articles. much less so surroundedby strangers.'cleaned up' before being recorded by learners and.s phrase. words do not co-occur in random ways. the best known students'grammar appearsto consist entirely of manufacturedexamples. somebody to do something ne generalisations from real-world examples which become abstractions which most of us have never actually heard. probably following the route from word (usually a noun) to collocation . and then for the teacher to draw attention to the most typical group of words. Storing phrasesin this way builds the learners'mentallexicons much more systematically than simply learning . Astonishingly..Learning in the lexical approach 167 nem? what. 'from Ing Lnd ish rush had died down.Around each word there is. Assuming that such generalisationscan be taught as the basis for innovative . but in pattems which exhibit varying degrees of regularity and generalisation. used. which leamers then record. ' this your rples.words are very similar. if for some reason the teacher manufactures an example. that vhich luage ed in rt that .new words'. But Lation.

followed by the teacheron the assumptionthat the leamers are following the same sequence. nonlinearity seemsto be nature's notm. tool mathematics. teaching is linear. hoping that nobody will notice when it's the nonscienceshowsthat natureis relentlessly wrong answer. Before the computer revolution. after all. Few askedtbemselves occurredwhile the equations what the long-term future might be for a method which . which after all is another natural process. the process of linearization was carried to such extremes that it often were being set up. inevitable.. Many phenomena such as population changes' the spread of diseasesand predicting the weather ale now recognised as non-linear. But what if acquisition. Later the syllabusesbecame 'cyclicaf in the sensethat some gfamma. be solved. and could therefore. mathematiciansproduced idealised versions of a problem so that the equationswefe linear.. at least in principle.6 Acquisition is non-linear If understandinginput and noticing elementsof the input sufficiently often are the two defining characteristicsof the way we improve our linguistic ability. andparticularlyof its essential The history of science. although they were powerful and useful approximations. This was until20 yeals ago.. language teachers wanted a syllabus. but. while non-linear equations could not..So ingrained becamethe linear habit that by the 1940s and knew little else' and engineers 1950smany scientists Traditional teaching and syllabuseswere linear.168 Learning in the lexical approach 8.Today's linear. term to term. Often the answels were good enough to be of enofmous practical use.a predeterminedseqluence.. going from lesson to lesson.irredeemablynon-linear? Fee The whi bec by tl sys sys proc Cha and surp pred mlcI with wee sma It nc wha wha whic Ever forgr wha linea Som such I don bir f 'und ques Amr coult unde unde alonl Simu word past l these existi and t< leamr mem( .is fundamentally.We consider first how the nature of acquisition challengesthe conventionalidea of a be brutal 'Give me an answer!'is the demand. there are radical implications both for syllabus specification and classroom methodology. week to week.rwas explicitly visited more than once. and this is the crucial point.So solyesthe wrong equations. they wele not accurate descriptions of nature' Mathematics professor Ian Stewart describes the situation in mathematics until very recently as follows: In classical times. The advent of computers meant non-linear equationscould be solved and a whole range of new questionscould therefore be tackled. linear theory obliges.but this is only a different form of linearity . and could hardly imagine anything other than some form of linear syllabus. Non-linear phenomena was. .Like the scientists of the 40s and 50s. lacking techniquesto face up to non-linearities. as linear equations could be solved by analytical methods. exclusivelythe story of solving linear equations.

although you may be able to predict the macro-behaviour a system. simultaneously.res lSo rhe )nmd lcame e than lence. feedbackis intrinsic to the process. very questionable A more plausible explanationis that the individual learner meetsa number of could have + past participle examples and understands.predict the climate with considerable accuracy. an understanding of the nature of colligation itself begins to develop. Among its surprises is one of particular interest to us . which modifies your intergrammar. and languageacquisition is self-evidently a natural processin which feedbackplays a centralrole.The leamer begins subconsciously analysesome or all to of these.Learning in the lexical approach 169 Feedback means acquisition is non-linear ln ale bility. and alongside this. increasing awarenessthat it can be broken down. what you notice in the languageyou meet. successfulguesseswhich were not based on what the learnerhad fully acquired. The behaviour of any systemwhich has in-built feedbackis difficult to analyseand predict. chaos theory is the modern disciprinewhich studiesnon-linearphenomena. natics :he ien . but such systemsare all around us. but we cannot predict the weather fbr next weekendwith anything like the samecertainty. Sometimesteachingis conductedon the (covert) assumptionthat examples such as: It could have been a lot worse. I don't understand how it could have takenthreeweeksare assembled bitrby_ bit from a knowledge of bits of grammar such as . If acquisitionis non-linear. for we must add factors such as forgetting. S WAS while iinear refore ad of nonrsions )astm mous l'erful ature. the big picture is clear.uses of could. but the friction is affected by the speed. the speedis affectedby friction. if it had happenecl during the night. the leamer has a developing understandingof other multiword chunks which involve could. the leamer acquires the ability to analyse several different chunks. languagewhich was part of the formulaic memory-based element of the leamer's knowledge is transferred to the .there is a permanentchangeto the so learner's interlanguage. Slowly. for example. which affectswhat you notice and so on.and so on. Even this description is oversimprified. and other chunks which contain have + past participle. was. ng the achers : form esson. at best.objects slow down becauseoffriction. that.more local picture is much less subjectto accurate prediction. in due course.over a period. nother The simplest way to get an idea of non-linearity is to think of systems in which feedback is an intrinsic part of the phenomenon.or partially understands examples of that colligation used in context. and 'understanding the present perfect' but this linear syllabuscan be adequate.we can. and to syntactisise. It now appearsincontrovertible that acquisition is a non-linear phenomenon_ what you acquireis a function of the intergrarnmaryou have alreadyacquired. misunderstanding. room :s the . and it provides some surprisescomparedwith may not be able to predict of the micro-behaviour of the samesystem.which is affectedby the friction and so on. with both increased understanding and backslidingcoexisting. but the smaller.

sometimes you have the right metaphor to perceive it'' It is my hope that learning about the dynamics of complex non-linear systems will discourage reductionist explanations in matters of concem to secondlanguageacquisition researchers' Further. you will be tempted to diagrams as a circle and a square. it changethe rules' As Ian Stewart reminded us. thus becoming available to genelatenew language basedon syntactisisation. This kind of model of discussedin many but permanentchangein complex phenomenais curently fields. learning linguistic items is not a linear process learners do not master one item and then move on to another. progression.Science and Second Language Acquisition in the Applied Linguistics.traditional grammar noted by gestaltpsychology' similar to the phenomena over-seneralisations. the leaming curve for a single item is not linear either. In order to process information we have a natural tendency to Com form gene No. while the value of the analogy 'you don't seesomethinguntil may be only metaphoric. In the study of language itself. it is now a commonplacethat when a language is used.but careful observationshowsthey are both incomplete. rule-basedpafi.7 SylJ rntr( und the r Our com lean com mOrl onr Wirl help Itm prac wou appr strea appr cont 'see' the above In order to process information. Her commentslargely endorse above: The purpose of this article is to call attention to the similarities u-ong complex non-linear systems occurring in nature and languageand languageacquisition.It could be summarisedas gradual ro ii is as far aspossiblefrom any linear model. toti lgn atte oftt rev Litt TCS I I The po\r des 8. 18. says . non-linear. so only a non-linear model of acquisition has any chance of The implication is that linear teaching can neverbe representingit adequately. The curve is filled with peaks and valleys.2).No.vol. which is almost certainly still an over-simpliflcation.In fact. explaining Larsen-Freeman'sdictum "ong-"rrt quoied earlier that teaching does not cause learning. is much more likely to representacqursition than any linear. fol centuries mathematics solved the wrong in equationsbecauseit clung on to linear models of phenomenawhich were' fact. This non-linear model. oI even cyclical 'everything affects everything else'.At this stagereal acquisition has taken place. She discusses the relationship of non-linear systems and language acquisition in an extended paper (Ciaos. Complexity. It now seemsincontrovertible that acquisition is a non-linear phenomenon.170 Learning in the lexical approach analytic. with non-linear acquisition. progressand backsliding' 'rules'often represent As we saw in the previous chapter. the phenomenon can be summarised in the phraseWhenyou play the 7ame.

1n inear . but ultimately unsatisfactory mathematical simplifications describedabove by Ian Stewart. a finding that is common in corpus-based research:that overall generalizations of a language are often misleading. Our present understanding of the sheer size of the mental lexicon of a competentuser of English is deeply dispiriting from the point of view of the leamer (or teacher) of English as a second language. Ldual nany ten a I the 'fong re. and any attempt to do this would completely overwhelm learners.(Modern EnglishTeache4Vol.Fortunately. Within this framework it is essential to re-evaluate what is both oossible.In Corpus Linguistics.grammar rules often encourageus to ignore variations which corpus linguistics increasingly revealsare important featuresof how the languageis actually used. overall generalizationsare often not accuratefor any variety. usually basedon grammar. It seems the leamer needs not several thousand words. No. the more so when we considerhow much language productionseems be based to on memory.. joining the debate on how best to implement the Lexical Approach. helpful and efficient in the classroom.observes research : . 8. and thereby simplify our perceptions. but it ignores details and implicitly assumes that the details are unimportant. a lexical approach suggeststhat it is repeated meetings with an item. instead describinga kind of language that doesn't actuallyexist at all.vocabulary and skills. Doug Biber. noticing it in context. but at least tens of thousands of combinations of words and mini-patterns. Scott Thornbury. above e both 1cy to . 7.The task seemsoverwhelming. rather than the ability to generate from a few general rules. because they average out the important differences among registers. In an attempt to explain everything with a few big generalisations. As a result.this is not what a lexical approachsuggests.lexis or structure? Syllabuses were traditionally structural.This is highly efficient.. or 4). reporting the results of a massive corpus-based programme. The kind of over*generalisation familiar in grammar is very reminiscentof the powerful. which convertsthat item into intake. Traditional grammar teaching. emphasisedrepeated practice as a way of fixing pattems.Learning in the lexical approach l7l uage tron. and later the multi-syllabus was introduced. based on generative generalisations 'rules'. Communicative competence is dependent on two parallel systems. a formulaic exemplar-basedone and an analytic one.e of er be ctum s the rnded )n tn DOVE: totalise.7 Which is fundamental. :lical :Ise' . says: resent iogy. with a strong behaviourist streak. but our current understandingof languageand learning suggestswe may need to re-evaluate the role of grammar in the syllabus. It must be immediately apparent that any attempt to formally teach and practise the lexicon item by item is impossible.

.I do not believe it is possible to do so in any other than very broad terms .... the Lexical Approach lacks a coherenttheory of learning and its theory of language is not fully enough elaborated to allow for ready implementation in terms of syllabusspecification.I72 Leaming in the lexical approach A lexical approach provides a justification for the formulaic. more research Approachis work in progress. Earlier in the samearticle.the input needsto be (largely) comprehensibleand the learners need to be engagedrather than intimidated by the languagethey meet.Fossilization likely to occur when the on learnerbecomesdependent lexicalisedlanguageat the expenseof engaging the syntactisization processes. because of the non-linear nature of acquisition discussedabove. It is. to the part memory plays in second-language particularly with regard learning... the Lexical needsto be undeftaken. SA m qu IS Iti ner of sta co tha en{ the cor has No acq mal 8. and that this is an important question. do you think you have got better at changing your language to make it more useful to learners? If so. unanalysedffeatment of a lot more language than has been the case since the advent of the high-analysis era. becomesanalysed language He is correct in asserting both that little is yet known about what turns unanalysed language into analysed language.. rather than formal descriptions or rules. bearing in mind that learnersin the Perl cha rule the fluer prefz adeq a prc work a su fluen long achie their comt the g -mal accel .In short..Clearly.8 Tnsr Imagine an intermediate learner talking to a native speaker who has no experience of teaching her native language' Now imagine yourself talking to the same learner. difficult to be more specific than that. How would the language you use be different from that used by the inexperienced native speaker? Which would be of most benefit to the learner? Why? If you have been teaching for some time. . indeed. I fear.What does seemclear is that any analysisperformed by the learner is basedon inductive generalisationon the basis of languagewhich is already part of the learner's unanalysed intake.. and whether (and under what conditions) memorised language.. how have you changed your language? Do you think the language you use to learners is very precisely targeted or do you use a rather broad range of structures and vocabulary? How important is paraphrasing and recycling new words and collocations in helping turn the input you provide into intake? The natr the Acc It is an act of faith to assumethat it must be possible to specify a syllabus in linguistic terms. he criticises the Lexical Approach: Phrasebook-type learning without the acquisition of syntax is is ultimately impoverished.

and that grammar 'rules' are acquiredby learnersby a processof observing similarities and differencesin the way different chunks accuracy involves knowledge of what is ls ln t10n very ners is.This involvesboth respecting and this by the generalisations represented the rules and avoiding over-generalisations . I r the .It is to thesethat we now turn.many sentences which are grammatically well-formed are not sanctionedas acceptableby native speakers. Accuracy and fluency also challenges many widespreadideas about methodology. this allows some ('rules'). An acceptance and understanding of the enormous number of prefabricated chunks of different kinds. they achieve 'accuracy'. while the challengeto methodology is basedmainly on the lexical nature of language.8 The lexical challengeto methodology The challenge to conventional syllabusesis based mainly on the non-linear nature of acquisition. is surely better than anything any structure-based approach has been able to offer. Not only does the lexical nature of language and the non-linear nature of acquisitionchallengereceivedviews of syllabus. This reversesour traditional understandingcompletely . merely acknowledges the inevitable.a repertoireof useful standard prefabricated items together with other language which may be communicatively effective even if it contains 'grammar mistakes'. reassemble in novel ways. It is also worth reminding ourselves that most learnersof a secondlanguage never progressbeyond some sort of intermediate level. Traditionalists value grammar rules and accuracy. combinationof islandsof reliability'which canbe usedwith A confidence [see p 1751. The fact that their syntactisisation processeshave not been fully and successfully engaged.however.rather than invalidating the Lexical Approach. and language which is communicatively effective even if this late in their leaming careers as a result of being able to break down chunks into components. This suggestsKrashen is broadly right in suggesting that it is the quantity of roughly-tuned input which is the key to acquisition.believing more or less explicitly that fluency results from the ability to construct first accurately. In other words some of their languageis. then accurately and increasingly fluently. the lexical nature of languagerepresentsa considerable challenge to conventional language teaching.Learning in the lexical approach 173 l I sameclass are all at different levels and that they make differential use of any input. fossilised. implies fluency is based on an adequatelylarge lexicon. I ITTIS tant IIIer :ady sor 8.first you need a sufficiently large number of words and larger chunks. This situationcontinuesfor a very fluency and somegeneralisations long period. and that this is in itself the best we can do in specifyinga linguistic syllabus.that is. and thoserelatively few second-language learnerswho do finally achievea very high standard. and always will be.

more preciseanalysisof the idea of proficient leatner uses language which exhibits three rather than the more two distinct characteristics:accuracy. Knowledge of more colligational pattems . prefabricated lexical items. awareness the phrasalnature of the mental lexicon also modifies the idea of a leatner's level. the ideas of prefabricated language in speechand complex noun phrases in writing are parlicularly helpful in improving the complexity in quite different ways at different levels. The recognition of complexity gives teachersa framework within which to ask How can I best help my learners to improve their language? It is immediately clear that different emphasesmay be appropriate for different leamers. and a correspondingly greaterability to use it fluently. . for example. IS ad 8. This correspondsto that a word may have severaldifferent. in fact. of Firstly. rightly recognise that accuracy is inevitably late-acquired. Secondly.both a noun and a verb. Improving complexity in speech Modern computer-basedstudies of spoken and written language confirm.Communicative approaches. 'proficiency' suggests. it is characteristic of all (unscripted) speech. . Increased that word'may havemore than one meaning. is not.9 What do we mean by 'level'? Fluency and accuracy have traditionally been seen as the two components '1eve1'.fluency and complexity. greaterknowledge of the grammar of the word. overlapping or even awareness independentcollocational fields.and then to set about improving their production so that it becomesmore accurate. educatedspeechas of any other variety. as was believedfor so long. The inevitable sanctioned and what conclusionis that accuracy is based on fluency. albeit defectively. accuratelyand in more complex pattems. however. Expanding knowledge of the collocational field of words already known (including awareness blocked collocations)' of 'a . consists what we havelong suspected that fluent speech indeedemphasise.174 Learning in the lexical approach 'ought' to be but. the other way round.or be awareness usable as. Recent. than formally correct largely of rapidly produced short phrases. rather 'sentences'. Access to a comprehensivemental lexicon of such prefabricatedunits sp u4 of ch Fo co cei CS eve the inti lea r^P and wn bot rES meI clas Knc the com fluer Imp Atr tertii also cons saw num mos bya pass N w th be int SU . An increasedlexicon involves different elements: . not. Adding new words. This is as true of relatively formal.Many of the phrases are relatively fixed.and in no sense substandard.that is.which are the within the idea of unquestioned standard in many places. so learners are encouraged to communicate effectively.

sentenceheads or frames for the pragmatic element of speech. This. However.Chunks which leamers are sure are accurateand convey the central meaning of what they wish to say are immensely reassuring.Initially. the single most powerful tool in constructingnoun phrases. Neither the time of common-sense realism nor the time of Newtonian physics is given to us in experience. whether it be a mathematical .(semi-)fixed expressions.1StS rect any )nse ical nlts At more advanced levels good writing. and.the n rbe is the basis of fluency in speech. especially when contrasted with the intimidating prospect of constructing everything you want to say word-by-word. Improving complexity in writing rf t oun /in trTn. on every occasion. equally importantly.which is the basisof an adequate lexicon of essentialphrases.providing. as we saw in the previous chapter.nor could it be. rhe passage contains172 words.and encouragethem to seethe value of larger chunks .This means learnersmust be exposedto an adequateamount of natural spoken characterised not only by accuracy and fluency.theseislands of reliability provide important psychological support both in helping leamers express themselves within their present linguistic resources. as starting points in expanding their mental lexicons. simple messageswith greater or fluency or accuracy. as we have already seen.a construction of our minds. then.Fluency needs to be based on spoken input.Any in such time has to be an idea.including no fewer than 13 usesof the word of Near the heart of the mystery of the world must be something to do with the nature of time. which in turn implies frequent use of the word of. Knowledge of fixed items also means additional brainspaceis available. Formulaic chunks have been called 'islands of reliability' by several commentators. and collocations for the central information content of both speech and writing . so the leamers are more able to processother language. since it stretchesforward and backward to infinity. implies the text will contain a relatively high number of nouns. is intimidating for learnersand teachersalike.Learning in the lexical approach 175 rble rso )nts the / 1 3 )ate tl0n han rto tls rent . if teacherscan reassure learners. not language which learnersthemselves produce. The activity described on page 91 provides a detailed classroom procedurefor building on theseislands. something thought but never observedor experienced. but also by complexity.which enablesthem to communicate more complex messages. . that the language chunking is noticed. and nothing infinite can ever be encompassed observation or experience. This is largely dependent on the writer's ability to construct noun phraseswhich are high in informational content. the prospect of the lexicon being much larger than we previously thought. and it is the quantity and quality of that input. in particular the kind required of tertiary level students.This is clearly demonstrated by a few sentencesfrom Brian Magee's confessions of a philosopher.

Communicative competencecan be analysed. and by definition not directly accessibleand not subjectto empirical investigation. in classroom terms. it is a means. Traditional grammarhas concentrated the verb-phraseto such an extent that the construction of complex noun phrases has been largely idea must be testable.It replaces Chomsky's rarefied abstractionwith a concept which is entirely concreteand practical. Performance was language actually produced by people.specified and form a basis for pedagogicaldecisions.. by definition.but of people abstraction reminiscent of the 'pure forms' of Greek philosophy. falsifiable. It must be self-evident that for many more advancedlearners. and ask What is the basis of communicative conl) bY (' wish prod invol lexic calle Asu one f lnput (synt langu mput than ti alread idea t 'reass descri quote Comprt sugge by eve to hum theorie wrong Iangua specu thrn-e mean compr agam 'Acqu new \r breaki into u' not ls i and th 8. Both words are important in the sensethat its purposelies outsideitself.If you can communicateanything you wish to on every occasion and do not in the process also communicatethings you do not This is a not a possibleobject of observation experience it too is a projection.. the study of noun phrasesand expressionswith of of the kind discussedin the previous chapterare at least one of the keys to learnerswriting both more fluently and at a greaterlevel of complexity.l7 6 Learning in the lexical approach calculation or an imaginative assumption presupposed by the The sameconsiderationsapply to space:the deliveranceof our senses. stretching as it does to infinity in all or directions. real.not an end. learners. Competence 'performance'in 'competence' and discussing Chomskyintroducedthe terms how the human mind masters and produces language.and therefore.10 The P much I Obsen this bo .It is astonishing that he got away with inventing a supposedlyscientific distinction. and thus subject to empirical investigation. as must also be the threedimensionalEuclidean spaceof Newtonian physics. but a purposes.including those for English for Academic on Purposes. non-linguistic.(To be scientific. We can now go one step further. one half of which was. at least in principle. Chomsky claimed all performance was basedon competence. you may be said to possesscommunicativecompetence. Competence was a rather mysterious ability involving knowledge of the rules of (the grammar of the sentencesof) a language.The time and spaceof our experiencedreality are forms of our sensibility. feature not of the language. and it is in that capacity that they appearas dimensionsof experience.) At the beginning of 'the communicative age'. not a scientific concept. the end is communication. Hyams pointed out that language was not an abstract system to be studied by grammarians. symbolicsystemused by real peopleto achieve . space of common is a tool Language was a communicative tool. a construct of some kind. Notice that most of the afphrases would be entirely absent from or overlooked in regular EFL classes.

phrases into words etc). without communicating things they do not intend.or syntactisise. we must guard even more carefully againstturning theory into dogma.however.people who can communicate anything they wish.that few peopledo.This involves the learner having a sufficiently large and sufficient phrasal mental lexicon.we simply do not know precisely how language is acquired. accurateand stylistically appropriate.sing was rical ving lage.10 Teaching paradigms The Present-Practise-Produce (P-P-P) paradigm remains a central part of much teacher training. Such learners produce languagewhich is fluent. . however. meanwhile we must avoid turning the limited knowledge we do have into a comprehensive theory prematurely. Thornbury complains that Lewis does not have a comprehensivelearning theoty. A certain humility is required . is very unlikely to be anything other than a partial description of part of acquisition. the every c not i l s a rners. where many single choices are multi-word items.As we have already seen. and unless the learner can break down input language (analyse) and re-assemble it in novel combinations ( any idea that we 'start' with groups. have partial theories and evidencethat certain things do not work. but by those with comprehensivetheories which turned out to be wrong.we do. however. combined with developing awareness whether explicit or not is a subjectof heateddebate. 'Acquisition' almost certainly involves a non-linear combination of acquiring new words. rn The Lexical Approach I suggestedthe alternative observe-Hypothesise-Experiment paradigm. As Thombury suggests. one formulaic and the other syntactic. ctlon 1 not . StephenKrashenhas. I suggest. becoming more proficient at breaking large wholes into significant pafis (words into morphemes. r tool 1.using a knowledge of syntax). and to some extent the criticism is fair. than to start from isolated words which then have to be combined. The argumentin favour of collocational input is that it is easier to break down groups and learn to reassemblethem.Learning in the lexical approach 177 t ) I I competence This is an alternativeversion of the question what do we mean ? by (very) advanced learners .languageacquisitionis a non-linearprocess. As we have already noted. Jimmie Hill has called this ability collocational competence. proficiency in a language invorves two systems.It is also the casethat the greatestdamage to human understandinghasnot been causedby thosewithout comprehensive theories. ror jmic han gely yof 10us and .hing rlf of idea that DUt a OSES.but it is rejected by everyoneto at least somedegree. the rearner's languagewill remain 'impoverished'. In the article on The Lexical Approach quoted earlier. acquiring new multi-word items. is for rith a :ative 8.of the 'rules' of permittedre-combinations and the restrictions which exclude certain re-combinations.we need more research. and then 'break them down' and then 'reassemble' them. and no so-called comprehensivetheory is more than speculation.and many of the suggestions in this book endorseand expand this paradigm.

a view which we have already seenis mistaken. Hypothesise: means sorting the input on the basis of appafently significant similarities and differences. any adequateparadigm is a simplifled idealisation of how any individual leamer may be dealing with somepart of the input in any given phaseof the lesson. Teacher intervention The fact that text . with different parts of the process being applied by different learners to different parts of the input at the same time. any theorising to the contrary simply ignores the nature of either languageor acquisition.statewhat the learners are doing at different phasesof the process. It is Natural Approach. or simultaneously with other parIs.. The implicit assumption is that teaching does cause leaming. Any paradigm should.Itr rnten. Mastery happens ." bea paIt We are phrasa comme in whic pattems are thus This cor store thz this boo .when new input serves only to confirm the leamers' intergrammar' Within this is clear that learners do experiencea sequence which may be summarisedas meet-muddle-master.that diversity is what is happening at any moment in a language class.and what is formally is communicatively who believe their output is completely successfulwill seeno leason to modify any of their current intergrammar. Unnoticed deviancy may confirm rather than modify leanters' culrent intergrammar.However unnerving that is for teachers. his or her current best hypothesis).Itt alrea InESSZ we have seen. precisely on this point that we differ from Krashen's met and noticed. Within this framework. Cons violat saw j under to app The le the fr one la unless are liki than th If lean individ haveb This is (Lisret StIO The sub. This is essentially the Observe: new languagemust be same as Observe-Hypothesise-Experiment. as a minimum requirement.this can be done without necessarilybeing able to describe the categoriesor sorting processexplicitly.consistslargely of multi-word chunks of dil unde indir 1.hence the attraction of the P-P-P paradigm . With those explicit caveats. moving from controlled to free practice under the direction and time-consffaints imposed by the teacher.It word is the 2.thereby stimulating new input at the appropriatelevel to provide examples which confirm or contradict some part of the learners' current hypothesis. Practice by leamers. Presentation is done by the teacher.if ever . Experiment: involves using the languageon the basis of the learners' current intergrammar (that is. as we see when we consider how the teacherintervenesto direct leamers in ways which they are unlikely to use without helP. In addition' teachers have a valuable role to play in predicting problems and providing the negative evidence necessaryfor effective hypothesis formation.spokenor written .The non-linear nature of acquisition means that different parts of the plocess may be occurring before' after. Production is wholly within the learners' domain.178 Learning in the lexical approach is Present-Practise-Produce intrinsically incoherent as a learning theory.or teacher trainers who urge teachersto plan lessons. the importanceof noticing the difference betweenwhat 'correct'is clear'Leamers effective.

that larger chunks are more useful and easierto store than small chunks.tune. on of n any acher ]_P-P luage either of different kinds. or lelng tlme.means that unless noticing chunks is explicitly taught. so if a word of a given stress pattem is pronounced. they make re-encoding much more difficult than it would have been if they had storedthe languagein larger chunks from the start. are thus likely to be more memorable than patternlessmonosyllables. learners left to their own devices are likely to break the text into single words or into chunks which are smaller than the optimal units neededto convert input into maximally useful intake. based on an out-dated and misguided understandingof the nature of language. lies at the heart of every idea or activity discussedin this book.It also implicitly encourages learners to approach both text and 'leaming'in an unhelpful way. although as we have already noted.hen's sis of 15Can ofimg Lsisof best rovide uffent n1y to n what )amers nodify rather lave a :gative Ien we ley are chunks . ty the .shape'of their stress patterns. considering the first point.Learning in the lexical approach 179 lory. The learners' intuitive belief that single words are the units of meaning and the frequently mistaken belief that if there is a single word for something in one language. we are now more likely to speak of phrasesthan individual words. which they then store as individual words.t understand?This misguidedfor threereasons: 1. least implicitly directing leamers' attention to individual words .It is very likely that one important way in which we store and accesslexical items is by the . Short phraseswhich have patterns and can be stored with a .then there must be a single word for it in another. as we saw in the previous chapler. It means learners frequently do not invite teacher intervention when that intervention would be immensely be . from osed The nwe 's are iltlon )r.ratherthan someone's but otherwiseher commentsremain valid and relevant. p 49) suggested: There is a certain amount of evidence that native speakersrely very strongly on the stresspattern of a word in order to identify it. input for acquisitional purposes may differ from simple message-catrying input. It is suggestedthat we store words under stresspatteflls. phrasalmentallexicon. we bring to bear our knowledge of that part of the vocabulary which bears this pattern. This counter-intuitive insight.and this questionis. 2. If learnersbreak the text down into individual words. doesnot stop teachersaskingAre there any words you don. rt treatsinput as if comprehensionis the whole story. It encourageslearners to believe that language consists of structuresand words. processing in this word. nothing done in the languageclassroomshould violate the nature of either languageor learning. This is also true in the areaof pronunciation. and of a 'vocabulary'. twenty years ago Gillian Brown (Listening to SpokenEnglish. and that single words have unique meanings (and implicit within that is the idea that word-for-wordtranslationis possible).

understanding is not enough to them simpler. for deciding which languageis worthy of the learners' attention in a particular piece of input.11 Both c Where consci help. encouraging learners to take responsibility for their own learning.if not actually or ma accep some under Swan of the but otl skiing Simila possib is the which meetill teache this ne those t 8. For languageto contribute to acquisition it must be (at least pafily) understood. The patient's role is to describe his or her symptoms honestly and clearly. and that in turn. Which brings us to the third point . if chunks are not noticed as chunks. This point was exemplified earlier by MorganLewis[p l8l.teacherinterrrention. so understandingis impoftant. as we have ensurethat input becomesintake. in addition to understanding the input the leamer must notice the chunks which carry the meaning. it is clear that understanding. the choice of which alternatives are offered to the patient is exclusively the responsibility of the professional. it is difficult to move the lesson forward if learners do not undefstand. but teachers cannot. as every classloom teacher knows. This meansteachersneed to be proactive in helping learnersdevelop an increasing understandingof the lexical nature of the language they meet and be more directive over which language is particularly worth special attention.But the purpose of input is for it to become intake. the task of diagnosis is exclusively in the hands of the professional. If input is to become optimal intake. perhapseven choosing between alternativetreatments. and allowing choices. may be non-standard learnersmay think is possible. been chosenas suitablefor that class. though necessary.180 Leaming in the lexical approach Moving on to the second point. \\ the con as chun prefabr prefabr the lea miss m that the the Nat that for (except Curren If there case tha usually controll stateme some te others s after the a numbe . which should in turn have languageactivity. From this pelspective. abdicate responsibility for the syllabus. understanding and noticing the chunks are both necessary (though perhaps still not sufficient) conditions. When a patient visits the doctor. So it should be with the languageclassroom.but the choice of medicine.After teacher-directed anything else you would like to ask it may be appropriate to ask Is there should about?. and. and to take responsibility for following the doctor's advice by.Each chunk is a single choice of all meansadopt a leamer-centredapproach. must be available for productive use. they cannotbe storedin the way which facilitates their availability as output.Understandingthe lexical nature of language makes it increasingly clear that some aspectsof language learning ale countel-intuitive: phrasesare easier to remember than make single words. for example.but the questionAre there any words you don't understand? from the classroomsof competentteachers. The ultimate pulpose of input is learner output. language which 'wrong'. or at least should not. is not sufficient. be banishedfor ever Negative evidence Because generalisations may be subject to restrictions. taking the prescribed medicine at the appropriatetimes. breakingthings into smallerpiecesdoesnot necessarily just seen.

raw material for the learners' intergrammar.11 The Lexical Approach and the Natural Approach Both of these approachesvalue large quantities of comprehensible input. opinion is divided on whether some fbrmal statement a 'rule' is helpful. a major problem is the blocked collocation. As we saw in the previouschapter.It thereforeaids acquisition. but othersare more like collocational errors: +I oftenfellyeste"rday when I was skiing. where they differ is that in the Natural Approach Krashen claims that conscious activity doesnot aid acquisitionand therefore that noticing doesnot help. Knowing the restrictionswhich apply to some pattem or generative rule is an important part of exploring and understandingthat rule.Theseprocedures are basedon a number of more-or-less explicit assumptions. or to refospectively. Both the Natural Approach and the Lexical Approach are in complete asreement that formal practice what is noticeddoesnot contribute acluisition of to (exceptthat it may.without guidance from a teacher. including at leastthese: of 1S by he ler he . of course. 8. in particular the nature of the component chunks of the text. pornt. but also what is not. and among those who do believe of rules help. learners need to know both what is possibleand what is not. while others summarise. ask leamersthemselves summarise. then encouraging some sort of both controlled and free practice. particularly those they anticipate by (false) analogy with their own language. *Let's have one drink and then I'Ir bring yow back home. Noticing language aschunks. nd ate "he tve t\/ tsk rld ich rd .incidentallyresult in noticing). some as as ofthis prefabricated language is then available to the learner both for use as prefabricateditems and as raw material for syntactic analysis. Ensuring that they do notice certainlanguage may (but will not necessarily) help. usually a feature of sentencegrammar. It follows that leamersneed to know not only what is acceptable.he be rh. some teachersgive a rule and examples as part of the presentation. it is probably the case that most teachers believe in presenting a particulu. gru---u. learners may miss much that is of value from this acquisitional point of view. At the beginning of many paragraphs of Michael Swan'sPractical English (Jsage givesexamples typical mistakes.Learning in the lexical approach lg1 1S SO lst ne Ite rat to he ed rty ng 1r) he of an ke to ln or markedly 'foreign'.ought'to be correct. we believe that noticing featuresof the input.but which is not in fact acceptedby the native speakercommunity.the one learnersthink . Current practice If there is such a thing as standardpractice at the moment.he )ut .aids storage chunks. No amount of meetingEnglish naturallywill provide evidence what is not sanctioned. he of Some of theseare traditional grammar mistakessuch as *one if my friencl is a pilot. after they have practisedthe point in question. of so teachers need to predict problems and once again be proactivein providing this negative evidence.warning learnersof blocked coilocations. Similar problems apply to collocation. has a facilitative vaiue.

182 Learning in the lexical approach 1. 2.they are discourse grammar. may violate the nature of language. at any moment learners in the same group have different intergrammars. 2. In general. If classroom procedures are to be changed. Grammar and vocabulary are not separablein the way assumedin most language teaching materials. Practising a particular bit of languagehelps learnersretain it. an episode of a soap opera or a self-containedpart of a dialogue increasesthe possibility of learners transferring items to their mental lexicon within these global organising schemata. the same time. trans leamr listen Succ not ol produ wond was perfor nottce mole The P frame the tra book c produ they dr In this langua activiti mottva leamer lnstruc view n accura player proced conditi . A formal description of a pattem helps learnersretain the pattem in such a way that it becomesavailable for their own use. Important featuresof what learnersneed to know are often exemplified within a single sentence. Grouping those sentences accordingto somearbitrary linguistic feature seemsalso to be counterproductive. A formal description of a languagepattern helps learnersto seeit. as it in no way mirrors what we know about the organisationof the mental lexicon.such as a completetext. Acquisition is not a linear process. A nece diffu EITOI 8. because they are examples of the present perfect.12 Towards a learning theory 1.learnersare more likely to acquirenew languagein such a way that it is available for spontaneoususe if it is incorporated into their mental lexicons as an element of some comparatively large frame. or practising individual decontextualised sentencesis at best inefficient. or at best very limited half-truths. of tl teac muc ackn 3 . may. And for those who believe in rules: 5.In contrast. the basis for a leaming theory. situation or schema. make it less available for acquisition. not sentence grammar. this emphasis on structure may discard information which is an essentialpart of the real pattern. It is possible to selectwhat (all of a group of) leamers are going to learn next.bringing togetheritems which are At not similar in the way the teacher assumes. not sentencegrammar. Observation of real language data reveals that languageconsistsof many more pattems than was previously believed. for example. and establish a clear set of principles. we need to understand why these assumptionsare wrong. Taking language out of context in order to teach it.different learnerswill make different use makt term focur empl langr langr exam and .they are word grammar. Many boundaries of thesedependon the genre of the text and extend over sentence . 4. Many pattefirs are intimately bound up with specific vocabulary . the present perfect. 3. paradoxically. It is now clear that all of these assumptionsare either untrue. and at worst actively unhelpful. One of the implications of the new descriptions we have at our disposal is that simply lumping together half a dozen examplesof. it is increasingly clear that the tradition of presentinglexis as individual words. Presenting larger units in class.

successful production may. y that rental ln oI . they do not acquire new languageby speaking. are more likely to be valuable in the long-term. However good the shot was .so when they've noticeclit.isode . for 'esent :h are rhasis : real may. and the comparativelack of productivepractices. not have f.lobal on of alised upmg rtobe Lt the same nt use learner's confidence.perhapsasking .involve proceduralknowledgeand the ability to 'put it all together'underreal-world conditions and time-constraints. help retention. into intake. from the earliest stages of language learning.Successful production does not even guarantee retention.Learning in the lexical approach 183 iuch very rd to ei of 3. indeed probably does. Although using language may help the learner retain it. Teachersused to the traditional P-P-P paradigm may feel uneasywith the concentrationin this book on awareness raising and noticing activities. communicative approacheswere intended to focus on meaning. and maintaining motivation may be the principal contributions the teacher can make to learners'acquisition. helping them avoid wasting their time on unhelpful activities. the possibility of error and many other factors which take up brainspacein ways which may make the brain less able to processlanguage. but have often been interpreted in ways which have emphasised production.Teacherswho feel unhappy with this view may like to consider the way a sports coach operates. it involves the difficulty of articulation. particularly is precisely by accurate observation of a player's performance and the ability to make the player more aware of his or her performance.perfect production . working under time speech. so that there is often too little mental . Using language is stressful . guiding their choice of materials and activities. This runs directly counter to what we know about first most i that t4any Iaries s are r.bility . as anyone who has hit a wonderful tee-shotwhile learning to play golf knows. but as a leaming that it is moved from shortterrn to long-term does not ensure that you can reproduce the performance ever again. what do they do with it then? In this book all the contributors accept that helping learners to notice useful language accurately.This is what is meant by seeingthe teachernot as an lnsftuctor. but input not output is the key to long-termimprovementin learners'ability. The Present-Practise-Produce (P-p-p) paradigm is unrealistic unlessthe time frame is weeks or months rather than a single lesson or day.but by listening and reading. classroom activities which ensure that leamers notice input in ways which convert it. this is not necessarilyso. subject to making good use of the input they meet. or help to convert it. like language. Sports.

This is done by noticing similarities .but all such production is ultimately the product of previously-met examples. perhapsmany. Noticing the languagechunks which make up the text is again a necessary but not sufficient condition for tuming input into intake. Ensuring that they are familiar with the idea of chunks.These generalisationsmay be the basis for the production of languagewhich is novel for that learner. learners can fail to notice the chunks of which a text is made. 4. It however.but on an accumulation of examplesabout which everchanging provisional generalisationsmay be made by the individual learner. Meeting and (at least partially) understandingthe samenew languageon severaloccasionsis a necessarybut not sufficient condition for acquiring the new language. understandingthe messageis not sufficient to ensure that input becomes intake.restrictions and examplesarbitrarily blocked by usageall contribute to tuming input into essential. We can all recognise a huge number of colours and sort them into families without necessarilybeing able to name the families in any precise way. . . As we have already noted.we earlier quoted Michael Hoey's observationthat grammar is the product of the colligations you have observed.fewer than a vast number of separatelexical items we know .13 Summary In this chapterwe have noted severalimporlant featuresof acquisition: .184 Learning in the lexical approach processingspaceleft to observeyour own perfomance .The mental lexicon stores items in patterns.Knowing what is important. necessary give a formal description anypattem to of . will help turn input into is sufficient that learnersnotice the words. in the correct chunks. is no1. differences. .and probably all that is possible.hence the need for coaches.a large number of comparatively restricted pattems. The disc faci thei con the I wel mor sylla Dis Is th stron Is tht Houbefor What pomt Thinl b) les 8.probablydoesnot help the processof acquisition. Acquisition is not basedon the application of formal rules which generate correct examples. but formal description of the categoriesinto which input languagemay be sorteddescriptive'rules'. Sorting into finzy-edged categories is both all that is needed.and may hinder it by intimidating some.Sorting. learners.the ability to describethe sorting categoriesis not. Explicit description of the pattems is not necessaryand indeed a great deal of time could be wasted labelling patterns. Noticing similarities.and ensuring that the playerflealner notices what is most likely to benefit him or her at that particular time is a real and valuable role. .not formal rules. to that playerflearner. consciously or unconsciously. . No linear syllabus can adequatelyreflect the non-linear nature of acquisition. 5. more than the few traditional EFL structures. and developing their ability to identify the chunks they need to expand their lexicons at that particular point in their leaming.

if any. Discussion Questions Is there one idea in this chapter which is new for you and with which you strongly agree? Is there one point aboutwhich you stronglydisagree? How often.that is. play in aiding acquisition? Thinking of your own teaching. teaching should encourage learners to search constantly for many different small is to constantly facilitate the accurateobservationby learnersof appropriateparts of the input they meet.rather than repeatedlypractising the few large patternsof traditional grammar.give a clear indication of the teacher's role .This servesto remind us that. heir rnto tem deal ruge able rries tcon )weI rof 'we the /. together with the lexical description of language already discussed. rs These factors. do you think controlled practices. in your experience. Put simply. pattern-centred .Learning in the lexical approach 185 for that that rt tO sof nks.than traditional structural syllabuses. as we saw in the previous chapter. to what do you think you will give a) more b) less emphasisas a result of reading this chapter? )n nq "D iary and rate r l - .particularly of grammar leamershave to meet a new bit of language before you can be fairly sure they will have acquired it? What role. the Lexical Approach is in important ways more grammatical .

as a resource for learners. a balance of different text-types is of major importance in Text Hot'( toba< ls gr( we \\ contr If du acce Oste the c Cala Text It rnt and t anrm knou huma Text The I its fu distin 'imag MESSi other infon not g( but tl partic . This is partly becausewritten English containsmany more complex noun phrasesand phrasesusing o/such as The choiceof textsof dffirent typesis conditioned. particularly if learners are to be exposed to raw data. so two of the teacher's most important skills in the teaching of collocation are choosing the right kinds of text. and indeed recent research (see particularly the Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English . particularly collocation dictionaries. Collocationsof a small number of key nouns tend to re-occur throughout discursiveprose text such as academic writing or a magazine or newspaper article. fewer words of written English are needed to expressthe same content than are needed in the spoken mode. Although recommending the use of real data. . Newspaper reports (as opposed to articles) contain large numbers of often quite large collocational groups. builr rem( rnpu for I 9.naturally richer in semi-fixed expressionsand multi-word adverbials. In general. . contains comparatively few of the verb + (adiective) + noun combinations which learnersneed if they are to write essaysor reports. Finally' the chapter comments briefly on dictionaries. narratives such as novels or readers are much less collocationally dense. so the use of narrative texts is often an inefficient way of expanding learners' mental lexicons. Speech. It also provides a simple introduction to language corpora and concordancing for teachers new to these tools. or different geffes of writing. it suggestscaution is needed. the texts to which they are exposed should be skewed in the direction of their needs. but different kinds of text have radically different collocational profiles.far from needing a 'balanced' diet of different types of text. If learnershave immediate specific needs. and then guiding the leamers' attention so that they notice those items likely to be of most benefit in expandingthose particular leamers' lexicons. Choosing texts Collocation is to be found in texts of all types. but between different genres of speech. but many tend to be largely confined to journalism.186 Materials and resources Chapter9 Materials and resourcesfor teaching collocation Michael Lewis This chapter explores the importance of choosing texts with the right type of collocational input for particular groups of learners. . to Although there are motivational advantages using stories. For learners of general English.1.referred to below as LGSWE) suggestsmajor differencesnot only between speech and writing.

some adverts. such as Marlboro Man.reasons. Underlineany items which you think are probably storedand produced multi-worditems. and the company expectsto expand its retail operation. it is important to distinguish between adverts which provide specific information and those 'image adverts' which present what may be termed non-informational messages. ame tten . as . of English is remotely adequateto representthe whole. however. but also for linguistic. pter asa Readeachof the following texts and: . Ask what kind of text it is. The stormy weather was followed by sleet and snow. but they may still have an important role to play in the marketplace. Thsr re of nple hese ded. it is important to choosenot only from an interestpoi. and then by a hard frost which did not break till well inio February.uch ofa text lper rrge tsm. with additional outlets in Calaisand Dieppe. when choosing texts for leamer_ input. no one . Now. Text 3 The key to understandingthe modem analysis of advertising is to understand its functions as a purveyor of messagesand information. If duty-free sales are abolished within the EU next year. the firm plans to accelerateits expansion into shops located near ports. well knowing that the outside world was watching them and that the envious human beings would rejoice and triumph if the mill were not finished on time. luch :of ntal ials.Denmark are already well-advanced. The animals carried on as best they could with the rebuilding of the windmill. are not generally perceivedas providing information exceptin the broadestsense. Specific information may relate to price. .Materials and resources lg7 building their mental rexiconsin a balancedway.rt of ui"*.type. tons lent tten rnly 'oI Hoverspeedretail director David King said: .'. particularly in relation to the competitive process.with duty rates on alcohol and tobacco continuing to rise in the uK. refine that selectionto include only thoseitems suitablefor drawingto the attentionof a particularclassthat you know well. Such adverts are obviousry information-providing. rom are sof eln . physical characteristics or other aspects of goods or services mentioned. the market for cross-channel shopping is growing all the time. our first store in Scandinaviaalso demonstrates that we will be looking to expand in other markets where differential tax regimes continue to provide a major incentive for travel retail opportunities.. and specificallycollocational. Text2 It was a bitter winter. Text 1 lave nost ls of ems ns. plans for outlets in ostend' Belgium and Fredrikshavn.

2 Genre If you instantly identified theseextracts. though different kinds of text contain different kinds of collocation.retail of . I am indebted to Chitra Femando for drawing attention in ldioms and ldiomaticiQ to something George Orwell wrote in 1946 in Politics and the English Language: This invasion of one's mind by ready-made phrases (lay the foundations. He assumedthe leadershipof the Democratic party's liberal wing and gathered around him a group of talented young political aides. Text can only be becausedifferent types of text . The issues of defense and economic stagnationwere raised in four televised debatesin which Kennedy's poised and vigorous performancelent credenceto his call for new leadership. The point is simply that theseitems. and every such phrase anaesthetisesportion of one's brain. luse job + name. It includes: . finished on time.He won the nomination on the first ballot and campaigned with Senator Lyndon B. director David King Text 2 is a shofl paragraph from Animal Farm. Text 3 is obviously from an information-bearing. against Vice-President Richard E. Kennedy beganto plan for the presidential election of 1960. it is amusing to note that in as unusual a work as Animal Farm he cannot avoid collocations and fixed expressions:bitter winter. Nixon. is based on the collocation the clock struck. lexical collocations: the modern analysis of advertising. the outside world. including his brother and campaign manager. despite apparently consisting of severalwords. text. Collocation is a feature of all kinds of text. carried on as best they could. the Republican nominee.188 Materials and resources Text 4 After an unsuccessfulattempt to win the vice-presidentialnomination on the ticket of Adlai Stevensonin 1956. even if it is difficult to say exactly what makes the profiles different. lot d^ All o such obse lr€ pa po 9. In short.Robert F.however 'creative'you may wish (or claim) to be.3 Sr Everyon realises 1 . are in fact single choices in any mature native speaker'smental lexicon .even Orwell's. stormy weathet a hard frost. informat standard prerequ 9.genres . there is no other convenientway of expressingtheseconcepts. Kennedy. with its mixture of reporting and quotation. a Considering Orwell's strictures about the use of clich6. Even the famouslycreativeopening line of l9B4: It was a bright. both spoken and written.and explicit detail. is typical of newspaperreporting. the competitive process Text i It con write i ASS lent on can anl The sa are larl highesl LGSW that a inadeq of a pie reportir Effectir more n particul very p corresp creative of word or at le writing. Johnson of Texas as his running mate.have markedly different linguistic profiles. If learners are to acquire effective and balanced mental lexicons. the range of types of input text to which they are exposedis clearly of great importance. while undoubtedly creative. ' gri . acquire a radical transfonnation) canonly be preventedif one is constantly on guard against them. cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.

such adverts . or at least unfamiliar. combinations of words. . as are collocations such as modfu the theory. innovative combinations created by the language_user for a particular occasion. as the author literally creates character and mood by creating new. require little processing by the listener/reader.The advantages prefabricated of chunks"are"that they are very precise. . at leasi u.' ' hitra hing e if e note and n0s that ngle s. in academic writing. r the rB.unsurprisingly. standard words. i-po.i*t is the genre of a piece of most suitable. It contains at least the folowing useful colrocations foi arryon" who needsto write aboutpolitics: assumethe leadership of . longer expressions:The key to understandinp. phrases. and comespondinglycarry rittre danger of being misunderstood. grammatical collocations: what may be termed. Factual. except. Effective language is a combination of familiar. In contrast. . In an article on collocation peter Howarth observes: lexicar collocations of the type transitive verb + object areJ a smalr part of the whole framework. All of these linguistic features are typical of the genre. creativewriting such as novels may contain many non-standardcombinations of words. ypes lt ls :e to nput etail nD0 . dE. . perhaps those at the very highest levels.Fiction is the least suitable_ it is easyto seewhy. as (his) running mate an unsuccessJul attempt to win the nomination The samplesclearry show that the language of fiction and newspaperreports are largely unsuited as input for leamers. information-bearing texts a'e much more suitable. In CVET nmg kirug 'lock 9. Text 4 is from a computerencyclopaedia entry of only just over 100 words. u. . rmic rised . crearly endorsesthe view that a simple distinction between written and spoken English is wholly inadequateas a basisfor choosingmaterials. Factuarwriting. colocations and other chunks are an essentiar prerequisite effective for communical ion.Sometimessuch . in which fiction is one of the four geffes. . prefabricated chunks and more novel.Materials and resources lg9 r the ntial leral Ldes. LGSWE. where the focus is almost exclusively on accuratecommunication of information' among colleagueswith a shared backgroundin a particular topic. . .3 Subject-specificIanguage Everyone who changes jobs or has to read in an unfamiliar disciprine quickly realisesthat every discipline has subject-specific language. but of considerabre imptrtance from the point of view of the propositional content of an academicafgument.ticles rather than reporling. including n"*rpup". . the liberal wing lend credenceto vi gorows/poi sed p erfo rmance on thefirst ballot callfor change campaign with . It is important to distinguish between.

as one of her studentsobserved: exactwords. Fufihermore. of particular interest. sherecognises conventionsdiffer from subjectto subject.academic genres. however. they recognisedlong before EFL in the West that the Althc much plone the bi three of te langu poren Corpr Cobu corpu data-d fully z which additic langua provrd Other 1 a basi and ex million that its has lea part ot impres While I teachin The pr descrip referen which r .that the conventionsmay be US-specific. secondly.a coursein general English' will be of very limited use to studentswho have to read and write in a particular academicdiscipline.lessobviously. collocational deficiency. outsourceseruices The lonq _-^_ cont subje conc almo 9. but note that the whole content of both the goals and strategies expressed 2. it is clear that no amount of English literature will help you write 'academic a good paperin economics. such language should be criticised only if used to non-specialists. In my country it is a complimentto the author to usesomeone's Most interestingly from our point of view. that what is plagiarism in one culture may be a compliment in another.4 Put simply. ( the observationthat all learnershave trouble introducing quotation or citation.or 3-word collocationswhich are both concise is in and precise. Patricia Watts described the difficulties of teaching studentsfrom different cultural backgrounds the that the useof sourcematerial'in your field in the US'.often subject-specific . which form a sharedcode of the participants the communication. Two other obserrrationsare. Firstly. so their assignmentsare dominated by source materials rather than the student's own ideas. Linguisticsand Lfe) observes: Svetlana Ter-Minasova Teaching communication for special purposes must be based on the previous linguistic analysis of special texts resulting in recommendations for teaching those grammar forms and structures which are most characteristicof thesetexts. of Despite the difficulties faced by applied linguists in Russia. howevet. reduceaveragecollection period Review stock levels. In a fascinating paper at TESOL Intemational1999. This is becausethey have a wholly inadequate repertoire of the kind of fixed and semi-fixed expressions which are used in these .it is a highly specific lexical.The following specification of businessgoals and strategiesfrom a company document is in no sense jargon. Shepoints out that in her experiencenon-US studentshave a sffong tendency to over-quotation. and. The store of units of this kind (prefabricated blocks) form a certain stable system of linguistic means which are constantly in use in the processof scientific communication.190 Materials and resources 'jargon'but in fact it is a preciseand language dismissivelycharacterised is as necessarytool for anyone who uses English for a specific purpose. particularly during the Soviet period. Goals Increaseprofit margins Improve cashflow Reduce overheads conc fictic ncrf l Strategies products Introduce more added-value Tighten credit terms.

to make a data-driven dictionary.oncise conceptof 'academicEnglish'might be no more than a language-teachers' fiction. Sinclair describes the background to this work in Corpus. Corpus size and balance Cobuild's purpose in developing the first really substantial computer-based corpus of real texts.vords.if it is to provide sufficient examplesof rarer words to ensure that its information and examples are both comprehensiveand least several million words . It was essentialto build a cotpus which was sufficiently large to give useful information about rarer words. Any corpus which is to be used to define and exemplify words in a dictionary.4 Language corpora u wrlte ademic vrite in icribed rds the hat the 15may lterest. All three are well worth exploring in the context of teaching collocation.and this alone. such texts are now readily availableon almost any subject. they provide potentially powerful tools for the language teacher.Materials and resources l9l ise and :. and that something more specific to the kind of texts studentsof a particular discipline met regularly. rdency Lterials rsm in . but unless used with proper discrimination.this is. This 'based has lead to publishersproclaiming on a corpusof x million words' as part of their promotional material. Collocation and the three ideasare closely linked. Concordance.erved: r.e they i-fixed Ldemic Although the idea of collocation in linguistics goes back at least 60 years. the better the information it provides. at best. any factual text is a disguised concordanceof someof its key words. which meant the corpora neededto be so large. Other publisherslater established their own corpus-based projects. ection 9. While this may be true if your purpose is the click of a mouse [Seebelow]. :hat all .usually as a basis for their own dictionaries. It is the purposefor which they were large amounts of written data were neededif the corpus was to provide adequateevidenceof the use of such words. This has left many people with the impression that the larger the cotpus. the 1n res a1n the the :ularly rat the . was lexicographic . may be required. The time when teacherswere restricted by the texts in their text books has long gone. there are potential pitfalls which may confuse rather than help leamers. both spoken and written. sugh ilowing :nt is in rls and . a rather misleading half-truth. needsto be very large . where every example was taken from the corpus as a fully attestedexample of 'real English'. The primary purpose of such massive corpora was to be the basis of descriptionsof English which in turn would form the basis of comprehensive referenceworks. from a language teaching perspective. It is now easy and cheap to find material which will presentfully contextualisedexamplesof collocations relevant to writing about a particular subject. many rarer words are almost exclusively confined to the written language. much of the current interest for languageteachersbegan about 1990 with the pioneering work of John Sinclair and his team at Cobuild. In addition.As Michael Hoey points out in detail.

and what about the age groups to be represented?Corpora need to be constructedfor specific purposes.formal lectures and business meetings. Concordance. .or comparativecorpora such as those used as the basisfor LGSWE have been developedand analysed. in Corpus.t Teach . .[seep 163] One warning is necessary whenever you are reading about corpus-based evidence. say. the way it is analysedby the software and the purpose for which it is being used are 'in harmony'. This quote is taken from a serious commentary on corpus-based materials.Collocation Sinclair statedunequivocally: We are at a very primitive stage of understandingthe character of corpora.alat corpus so the l that a : and col once aE corpusl Corpor So. surprisingly perhaps. I have explored the materials in question. any idea of 'balance' is intimately bound up with the purpose. A typical (deliberatelyanonymous)example is: .however.The difficulties of choosingexampleswas discussed earlier. the lexicographic corpora are often describedas 'balanced'. and can assurereadersthat they did not provide 'the most common collocations' of the words I was interestedin. they must not edit the examples they do include. informal conversation.In the talk at the 1998 IAIEFL conferenceon which Chapter 11 is based.and for languageteaching purposesa huge balancedcorpus is. In 1990.Supposethat 90% of all English produced is spoken and l)Vo is written. Corpora for learners Learners are not amateur applied linguists and raw unedited corpus data is likely to overwhelm many ordinary learners. often not the most appropriate. is an understandingthat only when the Biber points out below. how would If you decide on the relative proportions of. The whole point of using naturally occuring examplesis to ensurethatthe examplesreally are examplesof how the word is used. editing or 'cleaning up' destroys the value of using corpus-based evidence. how should a balancedcorpusbe designed?Perhaps90% spokenand 70Vowritlen to mimic the relative frequency of the two modes of language use? Or would 50Vo-50Vo a better balance so each mode is equally be represented? you want a balanced cor?us of spoken English. If teachers are going to use cor?us data with their leamers. willit be the powerful tool it can and shouldbe. Michael Hoey consistently said: My corpws shows On one occasion he explicitly reminded the audience and in my corpus . will show a simple numerical listing of the most common collocations of the word you are interestedln. they may need to edit by making a suitable selection of examples. What is essentialfor language teachers. A con prol bes off parl con obs Gen Bib€ 1998 the u corp{ parn T] ar) mr an CO ofl ATT ac doi It is cl to sele likell.192 Materials and resources In a similar way. considerable progress has been made and small scale corpora investigating particular genres. At the same time. It is again essential to ask for what purpose the corpus was designed. but a moment's thought reveals how careful the reader needs to be when coming across the term. doe purpose student appropn each grc patterns called 'a . Since is important to emphasise that it is only the evidence of my cotpus Unfortunately few lecturers or authors are as careful as this.

-based : r 1 1i s )n one -itis typical ' listing s quote I have lid not din.Materials and resources 193 rnced" ) when )se the ith the l)Vo is :enand lguage :qually would formal to be md for rrhaps. )orpora rsed as Ltialfor ro{pus.A Corpora for specificpurposes . ocally: )rpora. The . . being Genre-specific corpora data is [o use uitable amples es rs to editing e.

more acad prepa Profe contn comp youn T} 5Lt ta no Te sc net An er that th about use au the on closel3 themse Focus Mark I specia their sl This n spondy easeth as $tre| and tht importa to corrx supplie Buildin The so1 compar disciplir . A from magazines devoted to At or decade more ago John Sinclair statedunequivocally: present. but certain parts of history articles also use impersonal style. They introduce the results by commenting: To this point.selections ESP textsl are made on an intuitive basis. a supelficial functional similarity . This question can now be investigated empirically.Ecology articles use mole impersonal style.while studentsof fine alt tend to describe longterm historical plocessesoutside the control of any individual. Their analysis reveals many more details.masks a significant difference of lexical and glammatical content. comparing researcharticles in ecology and history. sadly. a broad sample of texts from academicprose is too general.chemistsregularly describeprocesses conffol of the experimenter. so the differencesfrom subject to subject are much more important than previously recognised. however. archaeology or whatever. Their analysis shows that both academic article-types differ considerably from general fiction. the analyses in this book have made use of existing corpora to analyzegeneralregister categories. but it also revealsmany important linguistic differences.for example: history articles are more narrative than ecology articles. teachers' It would be professionally incompetentto offer studentsstudying English for specific or academic purposes a diet of general English. fiction. and both share certain features compared with fiction. For studies in ESP.194 Materials and resources under the Think of the subjectmattel .such as conversationand academicprose.A concordancingploglam will then reveal in a matter of minutes. All that is needed is a corpus of the kind of texts the chemistry comparatively small computer-based studentswill need to understandor produce during their course. and a similar corpus for the fine arts students. the words the learnersmost need and the patterns in which those words typically occur in texts related to the particular subject. It will also reveal whether the needs 'academic of the two groups of studentscan be best met using general English' materials or whether the groups would benefit considerably more from materials particular to their own field of study' Biber and his colleaguesleport just such a study. and there is no guarantee that tof of afragment of a text is representative the book or paper it camefrom. Both corpora can be balanced to take account of what the students will need to do . beca that. Quite often academictexts. attend lecturesin their special subject. but in summary it shows that good ESP coursesdo need 'academic English' is indeed a language and that to be remains not uncommon) to offer them material 'popular' science.write an extendeddissertationor whatever. This meanshistory texts use more past tenses and ecology articles mole plesent simples (for stating generalisations). Such differences are reflected in the languagewhich is typical of the particular discipline.describing plocesses. It is equally incompetent (though.

a decadelater.. Building a corpus for your learners The solution to the ESp teachers'problem is nowadays rerativeryeasy.Writing about sciencedemandsskills that most of the subject'sactuar practitioners neverbolherto acquire.antcyrosing spondylitis may not know collocational items such as straighten your arm.. what appears to be introductory motter is offered as typical technical text-He was criticising the useof introductoryratherthan bodj text. every "if' matched with a . An expert at both sciencewriting and writing about science.It should now be abundantly clear that the only suitable material for such studentsis material which resembres as closely as possibre the kind they will have to understand or produce themselves. Terseness all and elegancemuch frowned on. popular joumalism on academicsubjeciswhich is even more different from real academic writing than the introductory part of an academic article . is .is being offered to students of a disciprine as suitabre preparationfor their studiesof authentic discipline-specific Lxts.S ably I1On.Materials and resources 195 'the )n q"'D icial )nce the IOm l S a rstry rilar lake tend :r.thal they frequently know the technical vocabulary of their subject in English.Dec g 1999) in the paper's competition for young writerson science: The rules of sciencewriting differ utterly from those of writing about it is precisery this ranguage which they need to communicateabout their speciarismto non-specialists.'ealS need uage h for . precisery becausethe two are linguisticalry so different.Every sentence must be weighed not for style. but for accuracy. To a scientist. easethepairz.They may alsoneedto be wamed of impossible collocates such as *trecttthepain. Any teachers temptedto use writing about scienceas input material for sciencestudents need to ensurethat they use authentic sciencewriting instead.advises competitors (Daily Teregraph. A ttot'LS tltat )uite . itory i use ltrng 'tain .A comparatively small corpus consisting of research articles in the same discipline can be gatheredby asking departmentalmembers to supply a recent 5 A u .but. but may welr not know the sub-technical vocabulary.he makes clear that the two genresare radically different.. such as patients. Jrd is of great importance to ESP learners. Professor Steve Jones who is both a highly esteemed scientist and a regular contributor of scientific articles to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.. from extensiveexperience with learners with specialistbackgrounds.. supplieror customers. alr that matters is to convince an audience trained to pick holes in his argument. Focus on osub-technical'collocationfor ESp learners Mark Powell has pointed out. This means medicar students who know cardio-vascurar and. the rr in eeds )mlc nole Lcles often.rally erial :r. It is seriously worrying to find that. This sub-technicalvocabulary lies between generalEnglish and the technical vocabulary of a particular specialis-. A .

or conscious scanning of other subject-basedmaterial. studentscan add further examplesfrom their subject-specificreading. 'vocabularyteaching'which equipsleamersto expandtheir Here is a kind of individual mental lexicons in a way which is relevant. in search of. It is also clear that many of the items would have benefited by being quoted with one or two more words of the original context.One principle of enormousimportance is that teachersmust become so familiar with authenticexamplesthat they can selectout unhelpful examples .in comparisonto. relianceon.This can be done by the teacherproviding other collocates. impact on. debateon. it is comparatively easyto download a reasonablequantity of text relating to that interestto form a small corpus. emphasis eyeon. in private.however interesting or amusing these might be to the teachers themselves.and direct their learners' attention to a selection of authentic examples chosen with a particular pedagogic purpose in mind. in and evenmore caution are both needed. Again' a brief sample demonstrateshow useful a relatively small subject-specific coryus can be in identifying languagethat studentsof that subject will need: IN in common.focus on. on show. a collocation dictionary.196 Materials and resources paper on disk. particularly when used for language teaching. collocations and expressions the particular leatner. I found a site listing prepositional phrasesfrom a colpus of material on fine art. corpus. in ffict. but select such examples fil rh qr S H ea SO CC to 1o utr l^ clr Fa pa c7 of are dlc 1nc sat Tei SAI m0 up cor finr shc cor sel ofi pro . If learners of general English have a particular interest. learners can be trained to do this themselves. influenceon. on exhibition. in stYle ON on. with the help of a lafger. ffict on. sectionon. Caution is needed with raw data A corpus provides incontrovertible evidenceof language which has actually been used but such data needs to be interpreted and used with caution. in progress. and the chunks are often bigger than you first think. and some of their most common collocates in that genre' and thus provide an excellent basisfor expansion. personal and a skill which can be taken away as a tool for life. If teachers are going to encoulageleamersto use corpora themselves. on loan Such languagewill probably not be noticed by learnersin their reading unless they have been trained to recogniseits importance for their own wdting. As little as a dozenarticles will probably reveal key words. By all means introduce learners to authentic examples. In time. attentionon. It is a good maxim to rememberthat there are more chunks than you think. on display. serieson. and then use the sametechniquesto provide a core lexicon of relevantto both the particular subject and wofds. mole general. Later. While searchingthe intemet for material on the Lexical Approach.

saves. cific eed: first. There'sno point in hitting it like that . the examplessimply make you less sure what the phrase 'a particular word' means.Materials and resources 197 and ean )ther rtlon ater. . Only close friends of the couple . lg to ut10n must dpful chers Lentic ly all nples . 3.and how do we carry out the immense task of sorting a corpus? The second task only became feasible with the advent of computerswith sufficiently large memoriesand sufficient processingcapacity to sort a huge amount of data. do not present learners with vast quantities of unedited data without careful preparationover a period of time. you'll break it. above all. so the first three examplesof hit above are examplesof the sameword form. savings. corpus evidence of the word form should could be very helpful for leamers. . This posestwo problems . 1. saver. Sorting a corpus Having assembleda co{pus. 9. The computer still needsto be programmed to locate and list together every occurrenceof a particular word. 6. Is hit 'a word'? What about close?Someexamplesmight help: The Beatles'firsthitwas . He's impossible. their skill ually rtlon. saving. If you hit ittoo hard. Bull's-eye?. so leamerscan explore without being overwhelmed. but it is also potentially very confusing unlessthe teachershas selectedthe examples. 7.The advantage of a corpus is the range and naturalness the examples. nless It is with mto rften ively form cn of t and :lves. it needsto be sorted to provide evidenceof how each word is actually find the latter you will need to lookup feeling. . 8. A lemma is different word forms which are all related to the same 'underlying' word. which will also find examples of the word as a noun. he'll break it. which involves deciding what we mean by 'a parl'icular word'. corpus linguistics introduced two new terms to clarify the situation: the term word form.he's got a completelyclosed mind. so it may be necessaryto look up more than one word form in exploring a single 'grammar point'. so examples 1-5 above are all included in the lemma 'hit' and all of save.what do we mean by 'each word' of the language. 5.Avoid 'cleaning up' the examplesyou do select and.No wayl You weren't evenclose. Teachersneed to be aware that it is quite possible that different parts of the samelemma may show different pattems.and in particular has selectedout ('zapped') any exampleswhich will only confuse. is used to mean every occurence of exactly the same group of letters. nda's alreadybroken. We close at 8pm on Sundays. not continuous.sayersare includedin the lemma 'save'. If he hits it too hard. If you look up feel you will inevitably find examples of the present simple. Far from helping. . saved.but that doespresent of problems if used without due care. He was hit by a motorist who failed to stop. 2. 4.

. most importantly of all. 40142. it is the best way to . Some caveatsare.If the key word is a noun. with the text arrangedso that all examplesof this word are printed under each other in the centre of the screen. . Research suggestthat we need to meet a new item severaltimes . Someprograms show words as collocatesif they occur within a small number of words (usually about five) of the chosenword. The two main benefits of concordances for the classroom are that the examplesare always contextualisedand. The notr fluer . I'm doubtful.5 Concordances Nowadays computer concordanceprograms which find and display all the examplesin a corpus of a particular word are widely available and relatively cheap. it may take weeks. With adjectivesor verbs. Each line displays an example of the selectedword.and just in casethings do go wrong . Ieamerscan see a large number of examples of the same item very quickly.somewherearound sevento ten times . before a leamer meets a particular lexical item. in case. the fixed jzsr in case. . I'm just doubtful that. There are severaluseful patternshere:just + (adjective).Consider.with at least parlial understandingbefore it is acquired. can confuse learnersunnecessarily. [There are exampleson pp. it is also likely to be helpful to note any adjectivesor verbs which occur within a few words to the left of the key word. With wisely-used concordancing this in lessons. descriptive linguist's senseof that word) of CASE: unl. howevet. . particularly a multi-word phrasal item. however. It may be helpful to note that a particular verb is always. even years. In normal reading or EFL textbook vocabulary recycling. The He said he wasjust netvoLts. Just in casethings don't turn out as we expect. Obs exan MOI€ .Text is displayed on either side of the key word. followed by a time phraseor some other grammatical feature.It seems most phrases follc .for example. . It is usually most helpful to draw learners' attention to the words which immediately follow a word they have selectedas of particular interest. . . . seventimes. While this can be revealing it to a researcher. can be achievedin a couple of two-minute sessions consecutive in order. or nearly always. these collocates (in the this case andthe clusterin casethings. The most common use the so-called KWIC (Key Word In Context) systemto display results. indi edit Mal wor part sirn muc than usrn mos that Bria I t( \l S( ql -' ol SC ut )- th Whilr probl AS kn tht so This . words to the right of the key word often show grammatical collocations such as a typical preposition or case things did not turn out as he expected. in this case. The CAUS . contel Usin-e .198 Materials and resources 9. .1 Using concordances with learners This format allows the user to explore the collocates and colligations of a word with comparative ease. and often arranged alphabetically according to either the word immediately before or the word immediately following the key word.

albeit authentic. more disconcertingly. ' They sensitiselearnersto the fact that text does consist of chunks and that noticing theseaccuratelydoes help them produce languagemore easily.. rfa .. Lber . Using concordances this way has severalbenefits: in ' They often answer straightforward questions such as . for Many leamers still find it difficult to skim text without stopping at every word. list of real examples. ' The processboth confirms your intuitions and. -t-^ -r\..he concludes that: las rbe the key tor rly the can Lrch und ttru. of the danger of inventing examplesin the classroom.The great virtue of concordancesis that they provide leamers with the opportunity to seelots of examplesof a particular word all at once. however.too dry and the problem-solvingaspectnot to their taste. seemsto improve their 'feel' for the finely-differentiated sensesof a verb.Materials and resources 199 the rely )rd. ach key ord Iere unhelpful. fluently and accuratelythemselves. working with computer concordances is that learnersare not overwhelmed.I S Brian Pooledescribes using concordances with a group of universitystudents: I find that the use of computer concordances key verbs. and such learnersneed to be taught dictionary skills so they can find a particular meaning of a word. causes you to revise statements such as I've neverheard/seen it.not something available in day-to-day target language exposure.\CU .what word usually follows dffirent? Is it to. and hencethe range of nouns with which it can co-occur. while cautioning that somelearnerswill find concordancing. to present all of theseto learners at the sametime in an indiscriminate. .. )'a this )ns. [seep 167] .S.and to derive from this not only an awareness frequent collocatesbut also of the kind of lexical word with which it has the potential to n ll:e ' r iof 'd.from or than?. even more. .Teacherswill need to edit concordances all except advancedleamers. in addition of to improving their knowledge of subject and object noun collocates. ' observing real data should quickly persuadeyou of the danger of taking examplesaway from the natural contexts in which they occur and.^ l IOSt This view endorsesthe suggestion in chapter g that noticing examples in context without formal practice helps turn input into intake.

Longman and OUP using the following questions: 1.Prod Tbe Lon producti . analytical software and on-line senrices. An extensive bibliography on classroom concordancing on Tim John's website:htp:/isunl.bham.which also has an extensive list of commercially available co{pora. asking themselveshow. Unfortunately.but there is no reason why such books cannot be designedto be useful as encoding tools too. Unt Hot dicr you dict whe whir .finding the meaning of unknown words .ac. There are three major websites at the time of writing which are relevant to teachersinterestedin concordancingin the classroom: . html Sev . What verb goes with time to say you did somethingin a good. What verb goes with exam to mean you did well and the opposite? 3. and these are often the most frequent. highlighting again the importance of the teacherbeing proactive in providing nesative evidenceof this kind. Dictionaries are usually used for decoding . Se exl inf A I all< loo adj . Is there anotherverb which means about the sameas admit (a crime)? what is the corect expression? 5.This is often of limited help becauseonly a few collocates are given.cobuild.collins.6 Referencematerials Teachers interested in teaching collocation may like to look again at the dictionary they recommendto their leamers. quick way? 4. CUP. . Can you say very magnificent?If Free sample concordances either of: on The British National Corpus (BNC) at http:II info. it deals with collocation.ox. .200 Materials and resources Teacherswho are interestedin using coryora and concordancingwill find an extensivediscussionof the issuesin Biber's Corpus Linguistics. and thereforethe ones learnersare most likely to have met in their info.medi It is wi above sample questlo than drt to com negativ 2. Most of the standard EFL dictionaries provide information about collocation. What do you call the paper you need before you can drive a car? 2. more frequently aspart of the examples. as the entries could be very long and the specific information was often buried late in the entry in one of the examples. 1. How do I use the verb confess? 8. if at COBUILDd ir ect at http :// Is it say the truth or tell the truth? And what is the opposite? 6. Conventional EFL dictionaries We testedthe main EFL dictionaries available from Cobuild.htm.Tl w ofu lat he pa fin he 9. however. None of the dictionaries answered question four. The coll< abea collc lexic In sho difficul . the information was often difficult to find. sometimesexplicitly aspafi of the definition. What is the usual verb before a confession? All of the dictionaries provided some help and quite often the answersto our specific questions were contained in the dictionary entry.

but it is frequentry difficult to accessthe information you want and the most usefur information . 2. tend to give the most frequent collocations which are often those which rearners are most likely to know already.describedon its cover as . All the dictionaries allowed us to find driving ricence.medium strengthlexicar collocations . ' Searchingfor a specific piece of information to help you produce the corect expression involves patience and the confidencl to ignore a lot of information not related to your query.s first production dictionary'. often. which was not always an immediately adjacententry. a bijingual dictionary is needed. the user also ieeds to think in a rather abstract way about ringuistic relationships.In the ri-" *uy that the dictionaries do not help when you do not know the word. Try.*-1. but onry if you-realised you neededto look up not drive but crriving. however. In need to know the name in bnghsh of a concept you have in your own ranguage(nycker= key).it was necessary to look up crrivingrather than drive..while natural and helpful. for example.while this is helpful for decoding. idins .el dan also ruare rt to . they do not help when you do not know the kind of medium-strength rexicai collocations which learnersare most likely to need.. the dictionaries are no help in answering questionssuch as How do you say 'nycke| in Engrish? For this sort of qr-"riion. Most usefulry from a reamer's point of view. its failure to come up with very. For the first unlikely to be there. It is worth mentioning that the sampler on the cobuild website mentioned above provided answers to an the questions except number six. and the sample of exam did not provide an exampre of faii an exam. But it proved no more : the t oll ding ooks dard citly rften rften met a. t l L * [u Lr5 I trll- tour.the world.trn's Severalfeaturesof the dictionary entries became apparent: ' The emphasiswas very clearly on helping the learner understand unknown wordsor expressions. the conventional dictionaries provide help.Materials and resources ). to find whether you should sayto spare time or to save time by looking up the headword time.? I OUr . ' unsurprisingry. tries to solve this problem. Production dictionaries The LongmanLanguage Activator. mental lexicons effectively.They are much less good at giving those medium-strengthlexicar collocations which are one of the keys to expanding with the dictionaries. ' The examples. ' rncreased awareness in modern dictionaries of the phrasal nature of language means entries contain long lists of phrases containing the headword. it inevitably makes finding a particular bit of encoding information more difficult.magnificent or say the truth provides vefy sftong negativeevidencethat thesecollocations are not sanctionedby usage.

7 If le lexic . with leamerstrained to ignore unknown words and to searchfor words which they recognise but which have not yet passed into their active lexicons. Of the two collocation dictionaries currently available: The BBI Combinatory Dictionary (BBI) places mole emphasison the total lexical and grammatical environment of a word. verb + adverb lexical collocations which havebeenreferred to so often in this book. The main problem was accessingthe information.the printed lists serve to remind you of potential altematives to your original word. It also begins to provide important negative evidence so that. Collocation dictionaries There are now two collocation dictionaries which provide evidenceof words which co-occur. for example. The later Longman Essential Activator. but insteadto make accessiblethe relatively new.' Once again. which has a comprehensive alphabetical index. it is less successful in tackling the allimportant area of medium-strength lexical collocations. Te . in a survey review of thesetwo collocation dictionaries (Modern English Teache4April 1999) writes: If we are in favour of a more coherent approach to the teaching and leaming of collocation. Its layout resemblesa conventional thesaurusand is designed to help learners activate half-known items in the way Skehansuggests.202 Materials and resources successfulin our tests than the conventional dictionaries. [For a sampleentry seep 38'] Celia Shalom of the University of Livetpool. For these. It is thereforeprobably more useful for more academicleamers who are used to using referencematerials and for whom grammatical acculacy is a priority. Sayshe'stelling the clearly markedwarning the truth. The LTP Dictionary of SelectedCollocations(DOSC) focuseson precisely the noun + verb. They are of most use to leamers who wish to activate languagewhich they half-know as they fulfil a role similar to the way native speakersuse a thesaurus. which involves a fairly sophisticatedview of semanticfields. we need to go beyond incidental treatment in the language classroom and help the learner really become familiar with collocations.Le us . similar to concordancesin that they need to be skimmed rather than studied. Lei lex exa ele Dis What perce Whar of the usetl Whar If lea teach spoke . however. 3. the entry fot true contains 'Don't sayshe'ssayingthe truth. The dictionaries are. the relatively new collocation dictionaries are much more useful. proved a great deal more successful and provided the answersto most of our questionsquickly and easily. adjective + noun. I think such familiarity develops best when the learner is consciously aware of this tendency of words to go together' Explicit teaching about collocation can help studentsto develop a feel I i 1 ' Inr Cob coll coll sho anl\" diffr 10 7 1 freq lexir for c 9. This processis endorsedby Skehan(A CognitiveApproach to LanguageLearning) when he suggests: It is proposedthat very often the pedagogicchallengeis not to focus on the brand new. which can make the entries look rather intimidating. therefore.

ot1.ate tlve Ltial rto ..and to notice the collocationalfeatures of the . This means: ' Texts need to be chosenwith their collocational content in mind. . as all uses of the word form [seep r97l are dealt with together. the examplesin conventionaldictionaries. is. In contrast. It lists the twenty most common collocatesof 10.Finally.This means you may onry get one or two high_ frequency collocates for any particular use and very few medium-strength lexical collocates. ' Leamers need to be taught the particurar importance of medium-strength lexical collocations and shown how to use the texts they meet. usually nouns.7 Summary If learners are to move off the intermediate plateau. own. huu" not been chosen for classroomuse. ' Learnersneed to be trained to search authenticmateriar for key words.. . new.. [Some recent] researchon collocational awareness found that half of a sample of English teachersin Switzerland talked about collocation to their studentswhile only gvo taughtit explicitly. the examples. bfi even having aone that. the program only shows the 20 highest frequency collocates. ical *_D' ^ ^ l JCU no '1t\i. one colocation resource which I have found disappointing is cobuild's English collocations on CD-R)M.ide tlns lin o allthe xds \.Materials and resources )e! tem /of ilve for it.There is still a long way to go in the teaching and learning of collocation. do you think you shourd increase teachertalking time? If not. how can you ensurethey are exposedto enough spokeninput? .' Lich )nai the [\\ O Discussion Questions what percentageof the input in your crassesis written English and what percentageis spokenEnglish? Do you think the current balanceis right? what kinds of different listening activities do you use? what use do you make of the tapescriptswhich are often printed at the back of coursebooks? you Do use them as spokeninput. even though they are printed in the book? What kind of narrative texts would you consider using for input? If leamers need a rot of spoken input. they need substantial lexical input."u1.The user can suppress some grammatical collocates such as the. collocation dicti. A furtherproblem arises if you look up a word with several different meanings such as order or right.'ith LNJ his lo) 9.t-r"*.onaries and electronic resourcesas sourcesto enrich their own productive language. The publication of these collocation dictionaries marks an exciting moment in the teaching of vocabulary: one in which the company words keep is being put firmly on the agendafor teacher and student alike.although . This win be predominantlycollocational. so they are sometimesless than helpfur for learners.which often include words such as any. the . in.ol.000 headwords.

Dol conl abili . Thos class empl langu of mi parti( wnte on thr Afc Exam levels be ab expec series . Dol lean .Do gIan . Can you see your own role changing so that you train students to use such resources even if it means you spend less time 'language teaching' in the narrow sense? Cc Pett Pete Unir EFL rela{ impl scri! appr devil 'unai how coltro vocal page 10. in what way do you think you would need to preparethe material? In what way would you need to prepareyour leamers? Once learners can use a resource such as the COBUILDdirect sampler.204 Materials and resources Can you see a use for corpora and concordancingin your classes?If so. Horr .they can check many things for themselves which they have previously had to consult the teacher about.

the ability to listen for factual information. to gather enough information about a candidate'slanguageabilities to be able to relate them (through the award of graded certificates) to what is expectedof learnersar eachof those five levels. how do such . The paper is more theoretical than most in this book and shows how the establishment of valid and reliable tests is a complex matter. He explains how extending chomsky's idea of deviance can give a clearer picture of what we mean by a language item being 'unacceptable'. He explains how the Syndicate is using a corpus of scripts produced by learners to ensure that vocabulary testing in the exams is appropriate to the learner's level. equally importantly. through a series of question papers at five different levels. whether in the classroom .1 Introduction Those who come into contact with language learners. they ad to t you tlme 10. A formal examination system such as the cambridge Main Suite Examinations attempts. rn this paper he examines the relationship between a learner's vocabulary and a learnerts level. such as the ability to read texts for particular purposes. responsible for the EFL exams administered by the syndicate. Readers new to the theoretical study of vocabulary 'level'and testing may find it helpful to read peter's summary on page22I before reading his detailed discussion ofthe issues.or outside the classroom .etc. need to have as accurate a picture as possible of the learner's languageability or proficiency. This language 'proficiency' actually consists of many different but related abilities. the ability to write letters of a formal or informal nature.Collocation and resting 205 SO. . and its implications for testing.their teachers. in which collocation now plays an important role. the ability to respondto enquiries on the telephone.and. their employers.for example. 111 Chapter10 Collocation and testing Peter Hargreaves Peter Hargreaves is head of the English as a Foreign Language part of the university of cambridge Local Examinations syndicate. This immediately suggestsa seriesof important problems: . How do we assess learrer's level? a ' Do items which test particular items of vocabulary or particurar points of grammar give a representative picture of leamers' generallanguagelevel? ' Do more 'global' forms of testingsuch as testsof spokeninteractionor continuous writing provide us with enough information about learrers' abilities? ' Do specific tests of vocabulary give an accurateand precisepicture of a learner's vocabulary resource.

In the process.206 Collocation and testing measuresrelate to what a learner can actually do if required to use languagein real situationsoutside the classroom. a series of CAN-do statements are being developed by the Association of LanguageTestersin Europe (ALIE). writing.A great deal of work has been done on the general definition of language levels under the auspices of the Council of Europe (see. CAE and CPE. The essay shows a good organisational refer grafl lean defu partl In th the ii the c throu impli base Wha lan-e psyc you i langu USEI ( In in UCL] proje purpa EFL Amer FCE. in terms of what the learner can do with the language at different levels.Council of Europe. Work and Study.2 How do we define different levels? A leamer's level of language proficiency can perhaps be described most usefully for 'lay' users such as employers.Assessment.and questionssuch as what it meansto 'knows' a word. the First Certificate in English (FCE). prepare studentsfor examinations. reading.for example. correspondingto KEI to ALIE to level5. corresponding CPE. In this article I want to discuss some of the factors which influence how levels of language ability can be differentiated.reading and writing.Vantagelevels. European Framework of reference and someof theselevels are already well-defined by detailed specificationsof languageobjectives. for A example. Below is an example of a typical set of CAN-do statementsdeveloped by ALTE (still in the processof being validated) covering a specific level for a particular domain and function. As a tool for the comparisonof levels of proficiency acrosslanguages.listening.Threshold. Common . speaking. Modern Languages: Learning.and as an aid to the 'lay' user. particularly in the area of vocabulary. These CAN-do statements cover typical language functions in three categories: Social and the Waystage. They encompassthe four languageskills . Strasbourg 1998). sponsorsor parents.I will demonstratethe increasing say a learner importance which collocation plays in differentiating language ability at the upper levels. speaking. for various purposesand acrossthe different languageskills . not just in relation to formal examinationssuch as the FCE. over I by le . the Preliminary English Test (PET). Teaching. at work? Such questionsare part of the everydayconcernsof my staff at the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) who are responsible for the five Cambridge Main Suite Examinations ie the Key English Test (KET). This set is for level 5 in the domain of Study and the function of essay-writing: Can write an essay that shows an ability to communicate with few difficulties for the reader. and spanfive levels of languageproficiency from ALTE level 1.and may themselvesneed to construct tests of vocabulary.listening. the Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) and the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). t Wht leve brol perf 'unit pun( '1a) L0. but also for teachers who work with students in the area of vocabulary.

Collocation and tesring )eJ

sffucture, which enables the messageto be followed without much effort.


Can presentand support argumentswell. rs unlikely to make more than occasionar errors of grammar, vocabulary or punctuation. can write with understandingof the style and content appropriate to the task. can produce text which is proof-read and laid-out in accordancewith the relevant conventions. when it comes to assessing formally whether a leamer has achieveda target level of cAN-do in the language, statementslike the ones above have to be broken down into standardised tasks, so that it is possible to generalisefrom performance on such tasks the extent to which, for example, the learner is 'unlikely to make more than occasional errors of grammar, vocabulary and punctuation'. From a linguistic analysispoint of view, rather than that of the 'lay' user, the learner's language proficiency can be characterised by reference to a set of interrelated competences: communicative, lexico_ grammatical, socio-cultural, strategic, etc. How ,proficient' the language learner is can be translatedinto: where does the leamer come in a range of defined levels for thesecompetences appropriateto the use of the languagefor particular purposes? In the cambridge Main Suite EFL examinations ,knowledge and control of the languagesystem'are viewed as underpinning the learne-r's proficiency in the different language skills and are tested explicitly - at the upper levels through a separateuse of English or English in use paper - in addition to any implicit testing of knowledge and control of the language system in skills_ basedpapers such as Reading and Writing. what exactly (or even inexactly) is involved in 'knowledge and control of the language system' at different levels is not simpty an interesting psycholinguistic question; it is a crucial one if, u. un E*u-inations Board, you are attempting to make generalisationsabout the extent or level of a language learner's 'knowledge and control' on the basis of what words that user either recognisesor producesin carrying out certain test tasks. In investigating this whole area of vocabulary testing we are fortunate at UCLES to have access to the cambridge Leamer corpus (cLC), a joint project with cambridge University press (cup), foi internal research purposes.The cLC is a corpus of written material produced by cambridge EFL candidates of several different nationalities irom Europe and Latin America in responseto tasks in the composition or writing papers in either FCE, cAE or cPE from 1993 onwards.At the time of *.ltl.rg,it consistsof over 8 million words with additions planned. The corpus subanalysed "u'L" by level of examination (FCE, cAE, cpE), and also by candidates, first

h )f e
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Collocation and testing

language.Becausethe CLC cunently has more scripts from CPE than either CAE or FCE, and more from FCE than CAE, frequencies quoted in this article have been weighted to facilitate comparison. Invaluable though the CLC already is - and we expect it to become increasingly more useful in the future - it is important to bear in mind at all times that the data has obvious limitations. Firstly, it is entirely basedon what studentshave produced, not what they can recognise. Secondly, even as a sample of what studentshave produced, it is constrainedby the fact that the scripts are a responseto specific composition tasks, which inevitably have a strong influence on the languageof the topic areas.

Test infor reso


CLC knon learn Mair learn relat'

10.3 Testing vocabulary knowledge
At the lower levels of proficiency, there may be somejustification for a simple quantitative approach to defining levels of 'knowledge and control' of the language; that is, you could simply count the number of grammatical constructionsand headwordsthat a leamer is expectedto be familiar with in terms of recognition or production at a given level. So an elementary level leamer might be expectedto be familiar with, say, 1300 words such as a good vocabulary book might present and practise, while an intermediate learner might need these 1300,plus perhapsanother 1200 or so 'more difficult' (ie less frequent or more complex) words. The simple quantitativeapproachmay be studiedby comparing the frequency of occurrenceof headwords acrossCPE and FCE in the CLC and also with large corpora based on native-speakeruse. These comparisonsreveal some obviousfacts: . CPE studentsuse significantly more different words than FCE students. . CPE studentsuse more low frequency words than FCE studentswhere 'low frequency' relatesto citations in native-speaker basedcorpora. 1. Counting headwords Perhapsmore interestingly,however,the conclusionsthat can be drawn about learners' lexical knowledge at different levels from simple frequency of occurrence of headwords are distinctly limited. A search of the CLC for a number of randomly chosenwords which occur at either CPE or FCE level in the CLC and have a low frequency in native-speakercorpora (designation, unfavourable, snag, circulate, whine, stretcher, earthy, lik(e)able, puny, barmaid, self-supporting, pin-stripe) reveals the following: three occur at both FCE and CPE level (unfavourable, stretcher and lik(e)able) and seven occur only at CPE level (designation, snag, whine, earthy, puny, selfsuppofting and pin-stripe) bttt two occur only at FCE level (circulate, bannaid) - which perhaps tells us more about the social habits of FCE studentsthan about their vocabulary level!

Hou knou


Even u,het gam as de CPE (with cave learn to da

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Analv follou and nr

-Collocarion and testing )e)


ne all rat
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, 4

Testing familiarity with a number of different headwordscan provide us with information about the 'quantity' of headwords in a l"ur.r".,s vocabulary resource,and even somelimited information about the learner,sknowledge of the grammatical significance of those words. At ucLES we will be using the cLC to develop the quantitative aspectof the characterisationof vocabulary knowledge further as part of the definition of what is typicalry expected of learnersat a given lever. we will also continue to include testsin the ucLES Main Suite examinations which are designed to probe how extensive the learner's knowledge is in terms of knowing cumulatively more headwords related to the appropriatelanguagefunctions. However, there is crearry much more to the jigsaw of a learner,svocabulary knowledge than simply familiarity with more or fewer headworos. 2. Parts of speech in vocabulary knowledge Even on the lever of simple familiarity with headwords, it is possible to probe whether the leamer has acquired some vocaburary knowLdge which has grammatical significance. Take, for example, words in th" ,a-'" family such as deny anddenial.In the cLC, the weighiedfrequencies of denyat FCE and cPE levels respectiveryarc 46 and,720;deniat(s) occurs onty at cpE revel (with a weighted frequency of 2). From this we might deduce,with the usual caveatsabout the sampling limitations of the CfC, that both FCE and CpE learnersare familiar with what is meant by ,denying,but there is no evidence to date that FCE level learnersare able to produce the nominal form deniar. The leamer'sknowredgeof what 'part of speech, a word is - whetherit has the grammatical property of being a verb (deny) or a noun (deniar), or occunence as either a noun or a verb depending on the co-text (for example, claim) - can in fact be tested directly without, of course, involving any referenceto terminology such as noun or verb, as in this example: only one of the folrowing words can occur in both branks in the sentencebelow. please circle the appropriate letter:

r1e he :al
^l cl

od reI


ruI of ' a 1n

A assert

B claim

C insist

D presume

He had the nerve to repudiated t h a t . . .

. . . that we all agreedwith him, but I totally

1'r: at



If a learner's answerdemonstrates that (s)heknows that only craim can occur in both slots, what does this tel us about her/his vocaburary knowledge? Bearing in mind that we would need to have the evidence of a number of responses such items before making any generalisation, to we can deducethat the learner's knowredgegoes beyond simple familiarity with the headword. Analysis of citations in the FCE and cpE subcorpora in the cLC indicatesthe following weighted frequenciesfor verbal (craim, craims, craimed,craiming), and nominal forms (claim, claims)of the ,word, claim:


Collocation and testing

Weighted CLC Verbal forms of claim Nominal fonns of claim

FCE 38 2





On the evidence of the large native-speakerbased corpora, verbal uses of claim appearto be about one and a half times as frequent as nominal usesin As the writing of native-speakers. can be seen from the above table, in the nominal uses of claim arc generally much less frequent than the CLC the data,but are also much rarer verbal useswhen comparedto the native-speaker at FCE level than CPE. The evidence suggeststhat we might expect leamers at CPE level, but not FCE level, to be able to use and recogniseclaim both as a verb and as a noun. One of the many caveatsthat needsto be mentioned here in connection with derivationally related words like deny and denial is that there can be no assumption of priority of one particular grammatical form of a word over another grammatical form. For example, because the noun form denial is found in CPE citations of CLC, one could not automatically deduce that forms of the verb deny world necessarilybe found or be more frequent - or 'less difficult'- than the noun form deniaL Looking through the CLC for forms of the verb insinuate, and the noln insinuation, which I will be referring to later on, I noted that only the form insinuating is found in the CLC, and at CPE level. This minors the fact that in large native-speaker corpora insinuating is more frequent than any of the other verb forms of insinuateor of the noun form(s) insinuation(s). 3. Dependent grammar patterns in vocabulary knowledge The grammar of words clearly extendsfar beyond the basic level of whether a word occurs as a verb or noun or both; it also involves the word's dependent pattems and constructions, and this is one of the most significant areas in differentiating a leamer's knowledge of vocabulary at various levels. At the risk of stating the obvious, I am distinguishing here, on the one hand, the knowledge of a grammatical pattem oI construction (eg how to form a thatclause) from, on the other hand, the knowledge that a particular vocabulary (eg item occurs with that pattemor construction thatclaim occulswithathatclause).The latter is what I mean when I refer to knowledge of the grammar of words. We already know that familiarity wtth claim as a noun but not as a verb is a likely distinguishing feature between FCE and CPE leamers in the area of production at least. We might now wish to probe whether there are grammatical pattems which occur with claim as a verb which might provide more subtle distinguishing featuresof the knowledge of the word claim. CLC evidenceindicates thaL26of the 38 weighted occuffencesof the FCE citations of claim as a verb have a following that-clartse, (They claim that road conditions aren't safe) b:ut only 2 have a following ro-infinitive construction

Kno item







A S S S The




by re prope acce
15 not

This i

items betu'e as har SuchI profic which includ item r is like patten with b dread

to be more accurate than her sister in her work. . Hence. . .good. . This is not to underestimatethe fact that testing pattems in depth in this way is not entirely straightforward. .Collocation and testing lll (she claimed to have afish bone in her throat). . exceptional. . topost the letter. . might be testedinstead of claim: A remember . it is probably redundant to include this pattern as a cpE lever test that the implicit assumptionthat knowlJge of a word is cumulative as the leamer reachesa higher level is made explicit. This is done by requiring the leamer to demonstrate greater knowledge of a word. pleasecircle the appropriateletter: B agree C suggest D admit She didnot. such testsare not designedto discriminate acrosswidely separated levels of proficiency. . Test rtems constructedfor a particular level of examination need to discriminate betweenlearnersclustered around that level with a view to classifying them as having adequate. such as the three patternsfor remember. D claims . Knowledge of these two grammatical patterns of claim courd be tested in items such as the following: only one of the following words can occur in both of the blanks in the two sentences below. the question of level. etc ability in relation to that rever. . . . could be tested with items such as: only one of the words in A. Shedid not. B. These figures contrastwith 6g occuffencesof claim + that-clauseand l7 of claim + ra_infinitive in the cpE citations. . that she is more accuratethan her sister in her work. . She . posting rhe letter.which all occur at cpE level in cLC. for example. sinceclaimfollowed by a that clause is a feature of claim which is expected to be known at FCE level. . . rhat shehadposredthe lerter. D is appropriatein all three of the blanks in the three sentences below. please circle the appropriateletter: A believes She . . Take.s propefties and patterns. . . The difference between multiple co-text test items such as those in the example above and traditional test items based on choosing a word to fit a single sentence. She did not. B tends C boasts Similarly. c. knowledge of the grammatical patterns of the verb dread. a vocabulary item which occurs in cLC only at cpE and cAE levels and not at all at FCE is likely to discriminate better. words with more comprexpatterning. signalled by selecting or producing a word which is acceptablein a range of different co-texts. For a cpElevel test. . which is found in cLC at cpE and cAE levels with both to-infinitive (old people dread to go) and with verb + ing (I even dread thinking about the winter). . . . For example.

and not just testing what is relatively easy to test. I dread falling ill while I am travelling. Collocations and vocabulary knowledge So far I have dealt with three important pieces in the jigsaw of the leamer's lexicon . think and under the control of the subject of dread. .That still leavesa lot of unchartedor unpredictableterritory in the jigsaw. when dread is followed by ro-infinitive the verb in the infinitive is usually in the semantic field of imagination such as contemplate. 'collocation' has been well established in the description of The term 'colligation' as languagesince the days of Firth. so as to ensure consistent and adequatesampling of the learner's knowledge of the grammatical properties of words.simple familiarity with a quantity of headwordsused in connection with the functions and topics appropriate to a particular level of language proficiency. . and two aspectsof familiarity with the grammatical propertiesof words: their word category and dependentpattems and the difference between posting the She did not rememberto post tke lettef Ske did not remember that shehad postedthe letter. For example. There are practical problems associatedwith such test items with regard to sustainability. . to which I shall return when discussing collocation below. An equally important teaching point that should be made is that it is comparativelyrare for apparentlyparallel constructionsto be freely interchangeablewithout some change in meaning or some restriction on use. . For example: ? I dread to fall ill while I am travelling. andShedid not remember entails that she did not post the letter. contemplating the future.212 Collocation and testing Only one of the following words can occur in both of the blanks in the below. . the verb + lrzg construction with dread seemsmuch more natural.repeatedfrom above. The beneficial effect on vocabularylearning of suchitems is the way in which they illustrate the layers of grammatical patterns which make up knowledge of the grammar of words. For something out of the control of the subject such asfall ill. I . 4. . . . in the second it is an open question whether she postedthe letter or not.wherethe first which I mean the difficulty of constructing such items over a sustainedperiod. . . . . There are also more subtle differences associated with grammatical properties. Pleasecircle the appropriateletter: two sentences D hesitate C dread B refuse A avoid the I. .An obvious example. and this is where collocation entersthe frame. to contemplate future. It is usually contrastedwith in the definition in Robins (1964:234): ( d To rl to-rn colli Alth xnpc The spec a gra we e end r At th gene refer 1965 'gran (1 Chon borde t'l \ ! (11 The 1 devia illustr (3 (31 Accor of wot becau have t the rig but hz subje The dr rules i involv Chom . . and the third entails that she did post the letter.see.

(3a) is most 'deviant'because involvesa violation it -virtue is a noun wherea verb is needed.clear-cut' deviancy is explained by chomsky in terms of hierarchy of . However. of word category t3ul is lessdeviant becauseelapse is a verb but it has the wrong syntactic feature as it does not have the pattern verb + noun (object). The fact that these sentenceshave a 'borderline' frst stl0n it the tical For r. and from thesevery generalrules there is a gradual move through a continuum of more and more qualified rules until we end up with particular statements about words at the lexical or vocabulary end of the spectrum.violation' illustratedin (3): (3a) Sincerity may virtue the boy. (zb) is least deviant becauseadmire is the right word category (verb) with the right syntacticfeature (+ object noun) but has the wrong 'selectionalfeatures' becauseadmire only occurs with subject nouns which are human. At the grammatical end of this continuum. such as boy. The degreeof 'violation'becomes less as we move from the highly general rules about word categoriesor parts of speech to the more qualified rules involving what chomsky refers to as 'selectional features'. consider the examples discussedearlier: verb + /o-infinitive is a colligation. 'hich edge ld be to be ltron teen i the To illustrate the distinction.which we call grammar. dread + think a collocation which exemplifies the colligation. chomsky's 'hierarchy of violation' does not deal with the vast area of net's ctron uage es of That I this nof n'as .Collocation and testing 213 Groups of words considered as members of word-classesrelated to each other in syntactic structureshave been called colligations to be distinguished from collocations which refer to groups of words consideredas individual lexical items irrespectiveof their grammatical classes and relations. Although the colligation/collocation distinction is a valid and useful one. (3b) Sincerity may elapsethe boy. which he describes havins .e is think f the tread rd to OVET f the Just rather than a . Having spent 40-50 pages of the densest analysis on the ' grammatical' sentence: (1) Sincerity may frighten the boy. not abstractones like sincerie. According to chomsky. the gradual move from highly generalised rules to more qualified rules can perhapsbe usefully illustrated by reference to chomsky's discussion of deviant sentences (chomsky I965:l52tf). The description of English involves very general rules at one end of the spectrum. chomsky then discusses sentences (2). (2b) Sincerity may admire the boy. it is important to keep in mind that there is no sharp dichotomy between the two.a the in as borderline character': (2a) The boy may frighten sincerity.

do occur with abstractsubjects. leamers need to be aware that this knowledge must include the grammatical patterns or colligations in which the collocatescan occul Referring again to the verb claim. doesnot occur acceptablyin the colligation verb + adverb. with few exceptions this only collocates 'human'. Just becausea verb has the 'selectional feature' of occurring with abstract subjects and human objects. A secondpoint to note in relation to the colligation/collocation distinction is that knowledge of a collocation. both seize and consume. While vocabulary knowledge may involve a number of qualified rules of the 'selectionalfeatures'. not the other way round. reflecting the real-world situation that with subjectnouns which are 'people claim things'. However. So. the collocation slow-walk is equally evident in the colligation: verb + adverb. It is particularly evident that many noun collocations are consffained with respect to whether they occur in subject or object relation to a collocating of verb.but not. it seemswith sincerity: Fear may seizethe boy. it is generallythe casethat Th the Bo co \\o an tll4 u'h co n/n r"" OC( COT cla coi 10 AI \\ 1t . many nouns collocate with particular verbs or subclasses verb either as subjectsor as objects. if it is to be used appropriately. To suggest that there is a different walk here from the walk in slow walk merely begs the question as to what constitutes the meaning of a word and what role collocation has in defining that meaning. he is highlighting a key characteristic of collocations which is that they can cut across grammatical relations. As can be seen from the examples below. 'individual lexical items When Robins (see above) refers to collocations as irrespective of their grammatical classesand relations'.which are acceptable. as it is in the colligation: adjective+ noun. ? Sincerity may consumethe boy. and vocabularyknowledge includes knowing what the options and limitations are.214 Collocation and testing 'deviancy' resulting from using unacceptable collocations which ale not coveredby violations of'selectional featufes'. slow walker. the collocation short-walk as in he went for a short walk.collocations .while others are not.unlike admire. ? Sincerity may seize the boy.?walk shortly or with the -er form of the noun as in ?he is a short walker. Hence. Envy may consumethe boy.f 'oc cas A " bot re\ ran co{ 'nu uhl pro COI" fror The eXtc I . For example.but not they developtheir knowledge of collocations. it is important to keep in mind that the colligational options for a particular collocation are not unlimited.necessarily involves knowledge of the pattenis or colligations in which that collocation can occur acceptably. most of that knowledge involves simply having acquiredor leamed specific combinations of words . for example. this does not mean that all abstractsubjectsare appropriatewith such verbs. walk slowly.which excludesomecombinations kind Chomskycalls of words.

. Both of these examples. .T::. for["rTons' also with whichin som" rot nd 'a tlk 3SI he r1e ith no u*i tug :_ IC \ hrar nd. command-attention). able to produce a particular collocate rishing separatemeaningsof that word o be shorthand for somethins like: NS I A ISS llv he 1n cases conerare disrinc. 2. The distinctive features of a word rike correspond couldbe used to test the extent of a leamer's knowledge of this word at different levels: Fill the blanks by using each of the following once only: A correspondwith C correspondto B correspond D are corresponding l' I am happy to say that things have quietened down in the hostel now that Louisa and pablo .which claimed many lives .4 Grammaticarpatternsand corlocations in testing . illustrate the extended nature of collocations. . hor" been corresponding for some time. A word rlke correspond. In the first. he NS ed ile 1S lv 0n 10. it is an important fact about the collocationar characieristics lr chim that inanimate subjectssuch as thing canoccur in subjectrelation wrthcraim only when claim occurs with the noun attention as object. . whereas with the second meaning correspond typicalry does not have a progressive form but has a greater variety of collocaies exemplified in: correspond to/with (the) truth/needs/advertisement/reality/expectations (all from the CLC). deserve_attention. as it happens. thing occurs as subject with the extended collocation ctaim_attention (cf the comparabre extended collocations: merit-attention.".. account for_ life). . )s. . however.Collocation and testing /lJ OI te iq There are. . . exceptionssuch as these based on examplestaken from the CLC: There were many things that claimed my attention. In other words. plague and tuberculosis. a factwhich is revealed by the occurrenceof the word correspond withtwo very different ranges of colligations and associatedcollocaiions. regularly again.rbi*s only when claim is in the extended collocation craim-rrfe (ct tne comiarable extended collocations: take-life. It is interesting that your views and mine . . much more closely now than they ever did in the past."". has (at least) two distinct meanings _ both attestedin the cLC .ills. we fail to record something significant about the word claim if we note simpry that it occurs with thing"asisubject noun.Similarly 'diseases' and other . substitutablefor plague and tuberculosis collocate with craim as nou. ..'exchangeletters' and 'match. with its first meaning correspond can occur in the progressive form and is typically restricted to 'human' collocates: The two frieirt.

rights content. It's handy that your expectationsof what you will get from a g o o dh o l i d a y . size autonomy. You can hardly call yourselvespen friends when you eachother about once aYear. Howarth categorises collocations according to their degree of restrictiveness. . . All the examples apart from the figurative category are taken from the CLC' one \\ { absol standa any oc non-de name1 'some I also l verb+l that wc . imProvements credit to sb. amendment. so the words listed occur as nouns in object relation to claim. .thus identifying degrees of conventionality.a gradation which moves from loose to close or vice versa. Preferenceto sb line sroreby srh category free collocations Co lug: coff ame 1ir e 5til la) Nod leveI the r conit mto. Most of the examples in the table involve claim as a verb. link. in particular the use of a verb in figurative. and Second This is brought out in an articleby Howarth (1998):Phraseology table below.216 Collocation and testing 3. already used extensively above in discussing glammatical pattems and extendedcollocations. 4. Level I collocations restricted restricted collocations Level 2 restricted collocations Level 3 figurative idiom pure idiom One r colloc highe ar aila exam caullo purpo needs +L^^^ tllc5g I M1'se I have attempted in the table on the next page to illustrate how such a continuum might apply to a single vocabulaly item such as the word claim. concept.groups bill. . -- sp CO co hir 10. Apart from such examples where colligation and collocation features can distinguish basic meanings of a headword. technical or de-lexical sensesor according to the degree of limitation on the permitted substitutions. .culture. two of the examples involve the noun form of claim. Above I referred to the continuum from grammatical to lexical information about words. results. m i n e . HouI collor IJ. it is the distinctive andlor overlapping ranges of the collocating items with each word which map the detailed contours of knowledge of that word. . heed decision. based on nativeLanguage Proficiency and illustrated in the speaker data. Using a variety of formal criteria.motion attention.He stresses imporlance of seeingthe categoriesas forming a continuum rather than discrete classes' combination COMPARE EMPHASISE INFLUENCE INTRODUCE PAY MAKE GIVE DRAW SET behaviourl levels. . At the lexical end of the continuum there is also a gradation of relationships that collocating items have with a word .

And as a diversion. vocabulary needsin relation to the specific sylrabusor rearning is always necessaryto bear in mind the differences between the pulposes for which colpora were produced. These provide a range of examplesand useful frequencydata but they must be usedwith considerable caution .Collocation and testing )lJ Combination with claim compensation.benefit.rro. are the large native-speaker co{pora. however. He concludes: A comparisonbetween fNative-speaker]performance and fNon-native_ speaker]errors suggestthat at an advanced level leamers are lexically competent and rrave successfully internalised the more restricted co'ocations and semi-idioms. My searchesof the large native-speakercorpora to date have confirmed that thesecorpora provide only a parlial selection of all the pattems or collocates one would expect to find for a given rexical item .not. Searchingthrough the occurrences of sincerityto check on any occurrences . allowance attention. and the students. namely chomky's own sentence quoted from a book on languug" a.not *lay a/the claim rn )I Restricted collocations levet 1 Restricted collocations level 2 Restricted collocations level 3 Figurative idiom Pure idiom to) IE IC at to td 3 )S lq Howarth suggests that learners'lexicaldifficulties lie chiefly in the restricted collocations'since idioms and free collocations are largeryunproutematrc..s non-deviant sentenceabove.I was amused to find thatlhere was one citation..I stumbled . do tt with an absolute guarantee that what you do find in them would "y". tn"f -e following. especially the higher levels. part of which a'e now available in some limited form via th. credit lives stake (stake a claim) lay (lay claim to . There remains.rinceriQas subjectnoun of with frighten as in chomsky.native-speakercorpora and dictionaries l e 'iL lij a ne Uf one of the most fertile sources for sampring the grammar of words and collocations appropriate to different levels of proficiency. I think. a pattem -sinceriQ that would be judged to be standaidEnglish. I also found among the dependentpattems of sincerfiy an example of for+ verb+ingas in he had no forfincring sorutions. )n 1S 10'5 sources .. Int"*"t.o-" Le accepted as standardEnglish. the vast hinterland of less restricted combinations . a 'somewhat peculiarexample'.

nasty. it is also true that non-occulrence of a particular dependent pattem or collocation in the colpora (or occurrencein less than a statistically that such a pattem or significant frequency) is by no means a gLrarantee collocation is non-standardor unacceptable.. . make. hidden. When it comes to dependentpattems and collocations. justi obje resp shar valu Fron .6 Sources the learner corpus(CLC) As I have suggestedabove. CAE. Native-speaker corpora are clearly very valuable as sources of authentic learning and testing material. CI ler wc co 1e an 1\l an( col difi the ACI '"Y ata col Go \4'et acc a-cr ask cha con ""1- fonr g1\harlmp hllr offe stai The DOI moa The oprn DOI L0.reject A: horrible. Should we take the fact that this spelling with one spelled with only one 'n' occuls in significant numbers of native-speakercitations as sufficient proof that millenium is an acceptablealtemative spelling? If occurrenceof a dependentpattern oI collocation in the large native-speaker corpora does not necessarily gualantee that the pattem or collocation is standardEnglish.218 Collocation and testing on a special kind of millennium bug in the large native-speakefcorpofa: it that about one sixth of the large number of citations of millennium are appears 'n'. indirect. whether with a grammatical or lexical focus. (dis)prove. the nativespeakercorpora need to be used in conjunction with other referencematerial such as advancedgrammarsand collocation dictionaries. the DOSC list of collocations looks to be a familiar selection of verbs and adjectives that one might expect to come acloss or use with insinuation.filthy. serious. heinous. ? UCLES' approach to producing items for testing English in use at various levels.resent. and A: indicates that the cited items collocate as adjectives wttt insinuation.unfair Where V: indicates that the cited verbs or verb phrases collocate with insinuation as object.clear. but the overlap with the comparablecollocations in the cotpora happensto be minimal. here is the entry for insinuation in the LTP Dictionary of SelectedCollocations(DOSC): INSINUATION V: defend oneself against.or in questionform such as Who would deny . . 'corpus-informed" not corpusis what is sometimesreferred to nowadaysas based. such as the fact that deny. .I cannot deny .the CLC is already proving invaluable in helping us at UCLES to build up a picture of the vocabulary knowledge associated (albeit in productive medium) with different levels of proficiency (FCE.wince at A: astronomical. almost invariablyusednegatively. and for checking on frequencies. referred to above. silent Intuitively.and typical cotexts of lexical items.deny. Retuming to an earlier example. foolish. Examining large corpola' however' I compiled the following: V: ooze. .

of course. Take. cAE. modify. The verbsfrom DOSC arenot. cpE becausecomposition tasks frequentry require the candidateto expressopinions.P rh AS ed of rh rIa cPE). It is certain to prove equally valuable as a source of collocations which might be expected to be known by studentsat different levels. stick to. seekout. least often at FCE (10 weighted occurrences). trust. The verb/o rm alsooccurs in cLC at all three levels. sway. Going through all the verbs listed in DoSC with opinion as object. A particularly interesting and fruitful area of collocations for both teaching and testing pulposes. emerging from searches of the cLC.Collocation and testing )l) it 1e nt CI is nt ly 0r . in terms of number and frequency of headwordsat each level and evidenceof the range of grammaticarpatterns used with particular words at each lever.the collocation/orm-opinion occursonly at CpE level (9 occurrences). encrorse. convey. for example. However. for example.the onry verbs which collocatewith opinion as object. especially when used in conjunction with the native-speaker corpora and well-researchedcollocation dictionaries. the word opinion' As one might predict. voice. dissenT from. mould. opinion is very frequent in the cLC acrossall three levels FCE. the weighted frequenciesin CLC are as follows. Here are some other examples from the cLC not in the DOSC entry for opinion: glve t1 3+ a t CPE CAE FCE n_q _ D ed F justify 1 2 object to 1 _t respect 1 2 share 9 9 I2 value 2 From this kind of data we may be able to staft building up a picture of . CPE CAB FCE accept 5 L agreewith 6 z 47 ask (for) 6 6 8 /1 change 10 8 confirm z express 10 40 10 form 4 T t1c o)st AS ng lq tsial 44 have 70 J+ 94 rmpose 1 influence 1 L offer 1 state 1 There are no entries in the cLC at any level for the following verbs listed in Dosc as collocates of opinion: air. are those collocations which are made up of words which individuany have a very different frequency from their frequency as collocations.

*to lend gravity to something. which attempt to probe the cumulative nature of lexical knowledge as evidencedby the learner's ability It sh cand not a a ran for er ler-el irrrr t} ASSUN on the 10. rePrimanded. *to actually form deviant expressions. lend-weight (to) These documentslend . B dissolved C suspended D dispelled A waned It should be noted here that in selecting the appropriate collocation. power-wane This is the author's tenth book and it is clear that her creative powerhas. hc attem framr produ 1.when inserted in the gaps. B weight A depth to the reporter's accusations' D gravitY C volume Ider that the I othe blan a pr{ sele L {t IC 4.such as *to rupture a code of ethics.8 So. tor cun One 10.220 Collocation and testing incremental ranges of collocations which are significant in characterising lexical knowledge at different levels of proficiency. chasea point.It is worth noting. for establishingappropriatedifficulty levels of such collocations. Testing collocations in this way has worked well enoughover the yearsin that performance on such tests correlateswell with other measuresof high-level language ability used in the CPE. have frequencyprofiles which would not automatically lead us to associatethem with different levels of proficiency. therefore. ethics is severely D breaches C ruPtures B cracks A fractures 2. As part of the process of developing a revised version of cPE (due to be introduced in Decembet 2002). D chase C Pursue B follow A maintain 3. the Point.7 Approaches to testing collocation Testsinvolving recognition of appropriatecollocations are a standardpart of UCLES' examinations. The test focus parl of the collocations is in bold: 1. looked at in isolation... Fan criterii in la1' For ex levelsr corpor . . . the leamer also decides that the so-called distractors. which. especiallythose involving vocabularyitems.among other criteria. Some typical examples of collocations from CPE Paper 1 are listed below together with the relevant test item. work is being carried out on colpora to check on frequencies. . pursue-point She obviously didn't want to discussthe matter so I didn't . Experimental test formats are also being trialled. breach-code (of ethics) the medical profession's code of Any doctor who .that successfulperformance on such test items involves knowing both what is possibleand what is not.

Collocation and testing /)l ng no '_D ch of to recognise not just one collocation (as in the examples above from the current cPE Paper i). For example : puny andsnag. (c) Shemay insist on such a dresscode in the office. more difficult). with popular. given that it might reasonablybe assumedthat the two lower level collocations should be known to the leamer on the basis of correctly identifying or producing the higher level collocation.the appropriateword that fits two or three contexts. One of theseformats is illustrated below.8 Summary So. will) fit appropriately in one or two of the blanks.whether for recosnition or productionpulposes. on everyonelike that. all of which are taken from Dosc. rat 1S 10. is likely to prevent them from workins.summarised below: 1. and A fashion of )E US he ps.A variant on this type of item is also being trialled as a productive test.L^ . . Identifying the most appropriate answer for this item involves recognising thar opinion collocatesin suitable contexts with impose. These are describedas 'appropriate' to higher levels only on the criterion of low frequency in both native-speaker corpora and the CLC. feeling.^t i Et iS tbr . but whether it's correctto do so is a matter of It should be noted that if this type of item is going to be used to test candidates'vocabulary knowledge at one particular level. but a range of collocations in which a word occurs. in lay terms. how imporlant is collocationin testing the learner'sproficiency?I have attempted to answer this question by placing collocation within the framework of vocabulary knowledge . (b) Though he may have good reasonsfor introducing such measures.11C rtY . The other nouns (fashion. rat . and in the phrase in a matter of opinion. IU just the one that is at the appropriatelevel. such as cpE.rather than recogniseor select. where the candidatehas to produce. popular . Familiarity with increasing numbers of headwords which can on some criteria be classified as appropriateto incremental levels of proficiency (or. . but not all three. Circle the word which fits in alt three sentences: B opinion C feeline D will (a) You cannot simply come in to an existing situation and lmpose your .

would it concentrate on If you make a anything other than words they have studied recently? 'new words'in the input they don't only think of learners How can you ensure meet? From a teaching perspective.222 Collocation and testing 2. intermediate (FCE) c. the extent of the contribution which knowledge of collocations makes in differentiating incremental levels of proficiency is still an area for further research. The importance of collocation in the framework of vocabulary knowledge should be clear.compensation.b = match) For example'. At the same time. For example: knowing claim occrttsas both a verb and a noun. elementary b. 6. mastery (CPE) . 3. stake a claim. For example: claim-bag gage. validation projects are continuing under the auspicesof ALTE to link leamers' performance in the formal testing situation with their CAN-do abilities outside the classroom. Ability to distinguish colligations of words' For example claim + ro infinitive and claim + that-clatse. 5. new words b. At UCLES we will be continuing our investigationsinto the areaand how to test it validly and consistently. I c E E 1 R Discussion Questions 'vocabulary test' for your class.and the ability to recogniseidiomatic uses. claim-lfe. Ability to differentiate basic meanings of a word using knowledge of its colligationsand claim.making use of a variety of sources. collocations Do you think different vocabulary building strategies are important at different levels? If so. lay claim to. I have also discussedin this article soulceswhich UCLES is making use of to ensure systematic and consistent sampling of vocabulary knowledge. especially at the upper levels of proficiency.Peter Hargreavespoints out how complex the idea of 'knowing a word' can be. advanced(CAE) d. word grammar c. Incremental knowledge of collocations of a word including different degreesof restrictiveness. Ability to distinguish different grammatical categories of the same word.including collocation dictionaries and both nativespeaker and learner corpora. what strategiesare most important at theselevels: a. correspond(a = write letters. claim. Which of these aspectsof vocabulary in building do you emphasise class: a. 4. For example: the noun denial andverb deny. Familiarity with distinct but related lexical items which are part of families of words.

)f I Itr (r - t]3 te :V te n' . (1998)phraseology secondLanguage and proficiency. H.Collocation and testing /)! References Chomsky A. P.R. AppliedLinguistics. (Eds) (1997)LTp Dicrionary of Selecred Collocations. 19. vol. Longman o t.1pp 2444 Robins. of MIT press HilI. N. LTp Howarth. & Lewis. M. J. (1965)Aspecrs the Theoryof Syntax. (1964)General Linguistics: introductory an suruey.No.

Every weekday. based on the talk he gave at IATEFL Manchester 1998. tha imme and to the . that learning collocations is more efficient.particularly for the content of teaching materials.there is no language that I could truthfully say I have a command of.I Despitebeing the head of a language am not myself an experiencedlanguageteacher. which initially appears remote from the classroom.more or less without exception. Teachers may find it interesting to see how research. and a determination to put myself through the hoops that languagelealners go through in order better to understandtheir problems. have another kind of experience that may partially compensate. I give a minimum of 20 minutes a day to the task and often more. Sadly. I work set meticulouslythrough setsof materials. but as our understanding of text increases. Before my honesty leadsyou to skip this chapter. tackle the exercisessuggested.let me quickly add that I do. though I am an adequatereader of a couple. He is a descriptive linguist rather than a language teacher. I am not a successful learner . In this more theoretical paper. My motives are a genuine desire to command another language. pafl ma5 ofp be pra( ave The com (aB onl Hug thou cout sulte and u-ho mad voca 11.listen to the passages (occasionallygoing beyond the textbook).The little experienceI have of languageteachingis well out of date and forms no basisfor giving practical advice to anyone. but this does not alter the basic fact that I carry no authority as a practitioner of TEFL.224 A world beyond collocation Chapter11 A world beyond collocation: new perspectiveson vocabulary teaching Michael Hoey Michael Hoey is Professor of English at the University of Liverpool and author of the award winning Patterns of Lexis in Text. I am.1 Learning new words to unit dedicated Applied Linguistics. however. My first goal has therefore not yet been met and my second only Suen them of sc actl\ Occ ACTO acco archi carpE Num one two three SlXt\ slxt) comfl Suefi Collo exam it. memorise lists of words. He suggests that learning individual words is relatively inefficient. can have practical consequences. it may be that colligation will play an increasing role in classroom materials and teaching. he discusses his own language learning in the light of his theoretical insights into lexical patterning.I may have no language teaching experience. surroundedby staff who daily renew the connectionbetweenlinguistic theory and chalk-faceteaching and I learn from them. ouP 1991. and engage in painful conversation with anyone competentto listen and reply.a wish to speak something of the languageof any country I may be visiting. it is true.I attempt to leam a language.but I do have daily experienceof being a languagelearner.

however.capable of mastering languageswith consummateease. at once hned and a to the left vlevo o a v very to the right then velmi vpravo potum .from page 16 of Colloquial Czech: the question arises:how do they chooseto teach vocabulary? suefios.I come to them with researchexpertisein text linguistics and lexical studies.continues to be fruitfully met. some communicative.Both reachyourself cantonese and colloquial czech use such lists as their main way of teaching vocabulary. A vous la France and to a lesser extent Colloquiat Czech favour themed word-lists.for example. though a far cry from the courses they used to publish) and a Routledge course entitled Colloquial czech. Cantonese: completecourse A for beginners(a Teachyourself Book. contador/ora arquitecto/a carpintera eIc.A world beyond collocation 225 partially so. The materials I use vary greatly in style. is that of the typical well-motivated but only aver agely competentleamer. Abbreviated examples from Suefios(pp 254-5) are the followine: Occupations actor/actress accountant architect carpenter Numbers one two three t. some eclectic. over the past year I have worked with Sueiios (a BBC courseon spanish) A vous la France (anotherBBC course.this time . avoid vocabulary. una dos tres sesenta sesenta y cinco etc. the whole discourseperspectivemight never have existed for all the impact it has made on the authors of these materials. my failure to become a super-leamer. Some are structural in style. The experience I bring to a book like this. that. such as colour. They cannot. measurement sporting or activity. d sixty sixty-five v tL suefiosalso usesunthemedlists (lists madeup of words that havenothing in common) to accompanytaped examples. swedish in Three Months (an optimistically titled course from Hugo). by which I mean that the lists are constructedon the basis of some common semanticproperty. uno/un. on French).L r e n e S 0 f v c n actor/actriz contable (Sp) .meansthat my third objective of putting myself in the shoesof the averagelanguagelearner . none is perfectly suited to my needs. aimed at the practising language teacher. Paradoxically. this to immediately. All of these have merits.I find nothing that relatesto the former in any of them. L.

Hay. I'd like a ticket to (go to) Valencia.226 A world beyond collocation What holds such a list together is simply its relevance to a piece of taped dialogue that the leamer is expectedto be attempting to make senseof. say: El invierno es de diciembre a marzo.2 In difl from t of rl h that nl a u-0r made empla You nr list ir words emplo possi each r revea belou' profes disting yesteft colloc .on the other hand.estaciones.seasons. For the type of ticket you want.Theseare useful.Colloquial Czech and Swedish in Three Months tely on lists of this kind..An (abbreviated)example is: Here is a list of some of the most common deponentverbs: to breathe to be. The list's main virtue is that each item it contains is readily contextualisedby reference to the tape. Both employ shadedsectionsthat talk about the way one sayssomething. Thereare. The lists tn Swedishin Three Months are of both the kinds mentioned. u ithc conil becau the ca usage e-\pre then t tr. they are clearly adopting a conservative strategy for vocabulary teaching.. Cudntas estacioneshay ? are How many seasons there? Cudndo es el invierno/verano/etc? When is winter/summer eIc? I And to answer. say: wn billete de ida (y vuelta) a single/returnticket un billete defumadores/nofumadores a smoker/non-smoker tried and trustedfor centuriesbut one that takeslittle account of what this book has been about. Suefios and A vous la France are more adventurous in this respect. as can be seen.but in addition some are structurally oriented. the items leamed form no system. these sectionsare more contrived: say: To ask about seasons. of what we now know about the way words work.. Winter is from Decemberto March.. On the other hand.for example: sometimes To ask for a ticket you can say: Quisiera (comprar) un billete para (ir a) Valencia. to exist to hope to vomrt to succeed andqs finnas hoppas krrikas lyckas Noh Ther Hav Ther I sus itisr to er This of elr some undo leris l CONS In so far as Cantonese.

sir.director. Hay una temporada lluviosa y una temporada seca. There aren't well-definedseasons.if an opportunity to use the expressions arisesreasonablysoon after they have been leamed. each word also has its own collocates. then these expressionstend to stick. as previous chapters in this book have made abundantly clear. I suspectthat many leamers want to know how to buy a train ticket. which is considerablyless common than the other .they tend to get confused with each other. and. but that it is only ecologists and geographerswho have a burning need to know how to enumeratethe seasons.has these collocates: [see note belowl best. (perhaps an indication of the insecurity of the acting profession). In contrast. an important matter. The first and immediaie weakness is that none show any awareness the importance of collocation. good. You might reasonablysupposethat you would encounterall the words in this list in very similar contexts.but the strategies I have illustrated undoubtedlydominate. The usage notes likewise vary in usefulness. as you would now predict having read the rest of the book. most surprisingly.How successful. unthemed lists work somewhat better fbr me because the accompanying tape contextuarises words I am rearning. are thesemethodsof teaching lexis? I can only speak for myself as a very average might reasonablypredict that employment words llke architect and accountont would share many collocates employ(ed). There is a rainy season and a dry season.sometimesexamining large corpora reveals some surprises:actor. Yet.all the methodsfor teachinglexis I have mentioned suffer from two weaknesses. then they drift out of memory. Becausethe words are learned without referenceto any context in which they might be used. of which I shall mention immediately and one the other of which I shall spring upon you later.but the the contextualisation is apparently accidental and varies in usefulness. in examplls sochas The distinguished actor sir lan McKellan was invited to Downing street yesterday-. for example. but I am consciousof quickly forgetting themedlists. but if on the other hand no such opportunity arises. with that in mind. of its major collocates. L I-Y for ttle the orh dlg 11..2 Why word lists are dangerous In differing degrees. the of company a word keeps. then.thereis use also use of exercises encourage to guessing the basisof similarity of soundand also on some discussion of related words . work(ed).A world beyond collocation )/J )ed lhe by red tln No hay estacionesdefinidas. former. look again at the list of types of employment quoted above from Swefios.accountanl does not have sir as one . trained as spring to mind as obvious possibilities. This doesnot exhaustthe strategies thesecoursebooks .carpenter.

These differencescan be explainedin terms of the word's characteristicgrammatical pattems. son. we can note that the collocatesof carpenter do not refer to the job. Try to guessthe words underlined from the context. more technical. this activity serves no different purpose from the list from Colloquial Czech. Ii hl tr sfi o0 sa Group A Group B Group C Read about the writer. Ed. definition of collocation than most of 'words which occur within a few (six) words the others in this book.A similar chargecan be levelled againstthe following activity from the samebook: Th inl thr cI( lea . though. unlike the collocatesof all the other words on the list. So is this weaknessalso evident in EFL textbooks?The answer is a modified 'Yes'. Consider the following example. Often the effect of the chosenmethod is similar to that of using an unthemed can reveal pattems which are helpful for teachersand materials writers. The dictionary is only brought in as a checking device. also from New Headway Intermediate: You will hear Bert Atkins. This activity is inherently good.Although this technical definition seemsa long way from the classroom. It defines collocation as on either side of the headword in naturally occurring spoken or written text': under this definition actor and Sit. It is reasonableto assumethat the collocatesof all these words will similarly vary in Spanish(or any other language). of which more below. it avoids lists as such and sometimesgoes well beyond them. among its main collocates. has aged. If we look at Headway. father. Much of the time. encouragingas it does sensibleguessingin a natural reading context and inviting the learner to make use of collocational information. One strategy used (New Headway English Course: guesswork: Bookp 30) is to encourage IntermediateStudent's Work in three groups. Read your extract and answer the questionsabout your person.l What all this suggestsis that themed lists hide great variety of use in a spuriousconformity. Read about the painter. talking about his school days [Accompanying tape]. learning the words in a list will not guide more imporlantly and the learner into producing natwal-sounding sentences: less tendentiously. nor will it help with guess-workfor accompanyingwords. see Chapter 7. who was born in 1919. Read aboutthe musician. Then use your dictionary to check the words. the strategiesfor teaching lexis are less natural. [Notice that this paper uses a different.228 A world beyond collocation words in the list. list-learning will not help recognition of the words in reading. If they do. Check these words in your dictionary: chalk a slate a cloth to knit Apart from giving the leamer practice in using a dictionary.though of course that remains to be proved. For the moment. carpenter mdfather are collocates.

or do? play people place equipmenr ball. sport/activity football play. football fishing skiing r11 A . use your dictionary to look up any new words that you need. or do. exerctses . go. tennis . : goalkeeper stadium footballer footballpitch referee f!- ar The effect of this sfategy is to get the leamer to organisehis or her knowledge into themed lists and of course supplementthat knowledge with the help of the dictionary. jogging Can you work out the rules? . . boots [. [Pictures omitted] WiIe in play. go.I dl choose some of the sporls or activities from your list and fill in the columns below. If that was all it did. music and literature Use your dictionary to look up any new words. consider the following further example from the samebook: VOCABULARY AND LISTENING: SpoTt Make a list of as many sports and leisure activities as you can think of. Use the pictures to help you. Look at the nouns below and write them in the correct column. composer instrwment chapter brush drawing ART poem band tune banjo novel author palette bugle portrait pianist MUSIC painter sketch biography fiction pop group oil painting orchestra detectivestory play of ds tls ln rd LITERATURE a se 1e rd m )d This strategyencourages leamers to build up themed lists for themselves. But what of course it does in addition is invite the learnerto investigatethe common collocatesassociated with eachof the items . volleyball . athletics .A world beyond collocation //) se al le le VOCABULARY Art. Sometimesthe as strategy adopted is one that seeks to combine the themed list with collocational information. aerobics . the but while this gives the leamers ownership of the lists they create.the lists themselves have the sameweaknesses any other kind of list. There are three of each. it would be no more than a fussy way of creating themed lists.

implicitly at least. a train set. as already noted. vocabulary definitely takes a back seatto grammar in Headway and. This contains 100 sections.One such work is English Vocabularyin Use by Michael McCarthy & Felicity O'Dell. and a gteat deal to be learned about each item recognisesthat eachof the items in the list will have different collocates. It is not enoughjust to know the meaning of a word. One strategy adopted increasingly in recent years is that of developing specialisedmaterial for the purposeof teaching vocabulary. Admittedly some of the words which make up the collocations will be items we might want the learner to acquire anyway.g. 11. In an early section (p 2). Furlhermore. that such lists cannot be treated as homogeneous. You also need to know: (a) what words it is usually associated with (b) whether it has any particular grammatical characteristics (c) how it is pronounced .g. shadesof opinion. mostly semanticallyorganised. . they offer the learner advice that is so eminently sensiblethat it is worth quoting extensively: What does knowing a new word mean? .To begin with. There is a greal deal of vocabulary to be learned. to add to our knowledgeof the subject. in contactwith..though in some cases morphologicallyorganised.+ uh -1 i 1. . e. . all but seven of which are directly concemed with teaching classesof words.e. it reminds the learner. rich vocabulary.3 The importance of context So far. Th Bu 1-lfJ the thr rb1 un & AU . which is a direct product of the fact that vocabulary items need to be It taught with their most common collocates. but for all that the problem will not go away. Write down adjectivestogether with nouns they are often associated with and vice vetsa. Write down nounsin phrases. But there is a more fundamentalproblem here. and leaming items in context may be easierthan learning them out of context. so good. Write down verbs with the structure and nouns associated with them. has always been impossibleto exposelearners to mote than a fraction of the vocabulary that they might be felt to need. the vocabulary activities vary in value.__ 1\Cl -\r noi A'in kin nar mr the wit I O i con s19 clil s1_ .g. to expressan opinion.we have in effect multiplied the vocabulary leaming task by ten. But so far is not quite far enough. e.230 A world beyond collocation in the list. royalfamily. Try to learn new words not in isolation but in phrases. How much more impossible it must be to teach them the that everyitem has on average in necessary vocabulary context! Ifwe assume around ten important collocates.

L^ .4 world beyond collocation 231 [ve StS Write down words with their prepositions. (Quotedby permission the is advice that is much harder to follow than it seems. and perhapsmore significantly.The very next sentence the Mccarthy in & o'Dell book unwittingly provides clear evidenceof this. a chily night. though.y :he nd lut rry no :IS fris irh Tle tl]' At first sight theseanswers seemreasonable.g. a chil\. .tlc oe ll.for example. Make a note of any special pronunciation problems with words you're learning. above all.former. Second. . Even a chilly day. Nearry 40vo of instancesof king actually occur in conjunction with a name often followed by a number. and thar might well be the most natural form in which to record the word.and from a materials writer's point of view it is virtually impossibleto provide what is needed. thanksto your help. though an acceptablecombination. Likewise the most common collocate to the right of independent state.note when a verb is irregular and when a noun is uncountableor is onlv used in the olural. day is outnumberedby multiple-word phrasessuch as a .Cambridge of Universitypress. e. not opposedto thirteen of porn king. for example King charles II. If. though country is also a is common collocate. a chilly eveningand. is significantly outnumbered in my corpus by a chilly wind. last. it is very much leamer-advice. But there are two points that need to be made about it. a chilly receptiont Moreover. For example. Note any grammatical characteristicsof the words you are studying. there is only one caseof popular king .) This is excellent advice and deservesto be etchedinto any learner's long as the learner doesnot check the answer key at the back of the book! Here we are told that some possible answersare: a) b) c) d) e) f) a chilly day to dissuade someonefrom doing something a popular king / to crown a king up to the ears in work independent of someoneI an independentcotntry get married to someone a) chilly d) wp to the ears ry :he lm be to be .Indeed it might even be seenas advice to the learner on how to minimise the damaging effects of strategiessuch as those we were earlier lz00 instances of king.not teacher-advice. most common adjectives the with king are new. on closerinspectionthey do But not in most casesring true.future. at a high level. In my corpus. First. the lower casek invites a non-namingresponse. They follow their advice with the following activity designed to make the reader think about what they havejust said: How would you record the following? b) dissuade c) king e) independent f) get married A perfectly worthwhile task .

Notice also the significant but covert collocation in lt's pretty chilly this morning. But these are minor matters. Semantic has I am defining it occurs when a word associateswith a particular set of meanings. below the line in the table below. the prosodieslisted above the line in this table account for 86Voof the occurrencesof chillv in mv data. What this means is thal if a Even st words a namely list fron . they combine with chosenmeanings. they take insufficient or no account of collocation. for example. For the sake of contrast I have included the frequenciesof people Nrdfood. reveal others occur I of text chilbthey ct These 15 tlue prosod not col 'time' Morec4 yet all point h for the as indi vocabu the wq prosod Percentage Example unit of time place weather afi 22Vo l6Vo 97o 7Vo 4Vo 37o 2Vo 27% 27o temperarure ill people watery things [metaphorical] people food l4 o a chilly overcastaftemoon chilly Comwall it's pretty chilly the chilly breeze a decidedly chilly -10C a chilly patient a chilly bathtub a chilly reception a chilly lavatory attendant chilly rolls with Iceberg lettuce 8 96 6 I This lal the virl assocra or typic charact from ler arbitra{ for lean of the I to ask d courseb 11. prosody 11. prosodyas This phenomenon beenlabelled 'semanticprosody'.in principle. I noted above that all the methods for teaching lexis we have been looking at suffer from two weaknesses.232 A world beyond collocation chilly May day or a chilly damp overcastday.accidentsand the like. which does not strictly involve semanticprosody. The table below shows the semantic prosodies of chilly.5 I Excepting the metaphorical use of chilly.4 Semantic The frst important point 'beyond collocation' is that words don't just combine with chosenother words. The real problem lies in the fact that these answersdo not reflect serious generalisationsabout the way these words are used. just to show up the significance of the true semanticprosodies.there is a world beyond collocations. people and food can. almost anything can be chilly. both be cold so why should they not be chilly? Yet we find in fact that the word occurs in the company of certain kinds of meaning rather than others.So. Secondly. the verb happen is associatedwith unpleasant things . Firstly. Semantic prosody frequency (out of 352) 79 58 30 zo learne certaii proso( all gor beenp prosod words. The idea is associatedwith John Sinclair (1991) who commented:Many usesof words and phrases show a tendency to occur in a cefiain semantic environment For example. We have got so fixated on collocations that we do not see that they sometimes group in generalisableways and these groupings then account for examples of word combinations that are not collocations. afler all.

that chilty does not occurmuch as a literal descriptorof people. 11.There is a world beyond colocation and semanticprosody. but at reastthey are encouragingthe leamer to ask the right questions. what the leamer needs to do is to learn the word in combination with an absolutely typical representativeof the prosody as long as (s)he also knows that it IS typical. yet all three words exemplify the 'place'prosody. Instead. [As we saw on pp r32r3. I was never sure whether the contexts were natural or a setofcountable. unless one knows that the collocation one is leaming is absolutely characteristic the way the word is used. foi example. But. chilly also collocateswith mountain but not with tent or Morecambe(despitewhat visitors to the north-west of Engrandmight think).t miss the important point here: such semanticprosodiesare potentially powerful generalisations for the languagelearner.not that they could do with sitting near a is no longer n". which as I remarked earlier seemed to make vocabulary learning harder. For exampre a chilry decadefitsthe semantic .concrete At . Seen like this.y to leam endlesscollocations as individual combinations. semantic prosodyis a kind of generalisation basedupon the collocates word has. covers word combinations it that might not have beenpicked up as collocations. Let us return for a moment to the .Like a all good generalisations. you would scanthe pages of most if iy language coursebooks vain for the slightesthint that words in havesemantic prosodies. Thesesemanticprosodiesare more than the accumulation of collocations.A world beyond coilocation )JJ leamer wants to learn chilly they would do best to learn that it occurs in cefiain kinds of context rather than all contexts.5 Colligation Even semantic prosody. both yet of theseare examplesof the 'time' prosody." the semantic prosodies of the words they seek to teach. This last point is crucial. butit does not collocatewith minutesor decades. prosody of 'unit of time' but is not a particularly common combination of words' on the otherhand.sincepeopre are a commontopic of texts and talk. data as revealthat somecoilocates which we might expectto occur actuallydo while others do not. Don.more than of half the value one gets from learningthe word in its we will see. I commentedearlier that unthemed word-lists have the virtue for me of being contextualisedby the texts with which they are associated. the arbitrarygapsin what we might expectby generalisation. however. night. as you wourd expect.Edl Mccarthy and o'Dell may not reflect "uu.un problems for leamers. I added. It is particularly is u purtiul generalisation.employment. that there are lots of collocations in each prosody' Thus chilly coilocates with morning. list from suefiosdiscussed earrier.It rs true. evening. is insufficient to account fully fbr how words are used."ruu. first sight. you mean that they are ill or have an unattractive temperament. It would appear that ir you say of a person that they are chilly. namely that of colligation.

a word's colligations describewhat it typically does grammatically. the architect of Lawn Road Flats in Hampstead) and apposition (British architect Will Alsop). Notice the particularly high numbersin bold and the particularly low ones underlined in the table. coa AId ah gar thal fr€ Act rne G c(| m accountant (1045 instances) 26Vo actor (3re4) 22Vo actress (1710) lSVo architect (2020) l6Vo carpenter (24s) 42Vo Yor to( I . Grammatical construction indefinite article classifier tpossessort construction ie's & of NP tpossessedt construction apposition parenthesis l4Vo I'lVo 27Vo 87a 3lVo l27o lSVo 13Va 2%o A 1 urr inr wlI Na likr likt ltet but har flCtt tha wol con car. We might expect them also to occur within possessiveconstructions (the whims of an architect. Any good grammar would encourageus to have all theseexpectations. they have. in other words. actor accountant. we might expect words lke architect. a church architect). the architect's bombastic ego). The following table. 26Vo l27a l0Vo 8Vo 4Vo 6Vo 8Va LTVo 8Vo 16Vo lOVo lVb 0Vo 5Vo 2Vo pr0 sefl odd sirl haq coll 26Vo Tol and Mc1 pr€ .despite our expectationsthey should all behave alike. 'likely to appear'. such expectationsare all entirely reasonable. carpenter differ grammatically amongst themselves. basedon occulrencesin my corpus. We might expect them all to take classifiers (church architect) and possessives(the Academy's architect). more accurately. and there has been all too little attention given grammatically to what it actually does. Grammars But 'capable of appearing' is not the same as over the years have got obsessive about recording what the language is capable of doing. showsthat the words accountant.carpenter to sharequite a lot grammatically as well. Colligation can be defined as 'the grammatical company a word keeps and the positions it prefers'. So we might expect them all to take definite and indefinite articles (the Finnish architect. in other words. This is where the concept of colligation comes in. or.234 Alryorld beyond collocation nouns sharing quite a lot of meaning. actot actress. different colligations.architect. We might expect them to occur in parentheses (WeUsCoates.and in so far as every item ofthe list is grammatically capable of appearing in all these constructions. what we do with it.

actressoccurs almost exclusively inthe ofconstructlon. almost sixty.) than does. the catpenter's apron). (I stress again lhat I am not picking on McCarthy & O'Dell becausethey are bad.) The sample .architect. Alone amongstall the employmentwords. occurring with a unit of time only 8Voof the time. prosodies. The word carpenter has a much higher likelihood of occurring with an indefinite article or in a parenthesis(Mr Morland. Whereas carpenter occurs in constructions and ofconstructions in roughly equal proportions (the son of a Lithuanian carpenter. as the supplement to the table below shows.9.The word accountantis much more likely to occur with a classifier (a wages accountant) and actress is more likely to occur in apposition (actress Debra Winger) than any of the other items in the list. Grammatical construction metaphor actor accountant (1045instances) (3re4) 5Vo none actress architect carpenter (1710) none (2020) 22Va (24s) 17o You might imagine that colligation and semanticprosody are applicable only to concrete nouns. occuning with such markers 2l%oof the time. while both words have a great preferencefor beginning a sentence.say. sixtyodd). On the other hand.You might be forgiven for thinking that at least thesecould safely be learned out of context becausethese.but it is distinguished from the others in that.. but I am discussingtheir examples precisely becausethey are about as good as it currently gets. would not have collocations. sixty years). that colligation is much sffonger for sixQ-five (86Voas opposedto Tl%o). architect is not distinguishedin the abovetable by its unusually high or unusually low associationwith one of the grammatical patterns mentioned . It is quite possibleto possess accountant(my accowntant) an but virtually impossible to possessan actress (as dreamy-eyedteenageboys (the mother of the have long known). but I have no instanceof sixty-five occurring with a marker of imprecision in my corpus. . An actressmay however be a possessor actress Fay Compton) as may a carpenter. a carpenterfrom Nofting Hill . let me againpick on McCarthy and O'Dell's sample answers. Actor is the only other word in the list with any significant record of metaphorical use.A world beyond collocation 235 'employment' A glance at this table shows that words do not behave in a the grammatical constructionsthey occur uniform fashion when it comes to in and with.It is possible colligationsand semantic to show thal sixty has a strong semanticprosody with time (e. suchchance. it is alone in being frequently used as a metaphor (He was the main architect of the peace plan). Slxfl also has semanticprosody with markers of imprecision (over sixty. occurring with a unit of time 23Voof the time but that sixty-five has no such prosody. No I'm afraid. To show how it appliesto vocabulary leaming. surely. What the table does not show is that even with regard to this similarity betweenactress and carpenter the two 's words actually differ. One of the other lists quoted from Suefiosis that of the numbers.

'ithir some Again more l l c1 7Jr A similar picture applies to get married... But a still strongerpattern is overlooked. Guesswhich one I think a leamer should learn. rather than a definite article.l subie r'.ears (131 possessive with (1) subje n1arril ra. at least 92 (36Ea) have as their Inau ongm conhn lin-eui apart prepa teache .wp to my ears in debt.for example towards news reporting..hich to ihe v'as p) are lc nlarnt some l L 5 U .. in addition to raw colpus evidence. [A word of caution may be neededhere. Of 257 instances of clauses containing the verbal group get married...while conversation.and it is worth looking at why. From a pedagogicalpoint of view.It can never be repeatedtoo often that statements undoubtedly evidence of what is in. Thus a proper description of up to ..may not be typical of the whole language or. for example: wp to his ears in exasperation.factors such as immediate usefulnessor relevanceto the needs of particular students may need to be taken into account when choosing the exampleswhich will be most helpful for a particular class.Thirteen out of fourteen of the examplesin my corpus colligate with possessivepronouns. ten of the occurrencesin my corpus manifest semantic prosody with bad things (such as treason and narrow and sterile rwles) and five of these bad things are instances debt. may not be as typical of the language as a whole as we are tempted to believe. that corpus. up to the ears in workhas a one in 800 chanceof occurring. Furthermore.236 A world beyond collocation answersthey give for married and up to the ears both creak somewhat.. ears is the following: upto. If the corpus Michael is using is heavily skewed. So McCarthy & O'Dell's answer is colligationally untypical. Ed. for example.L I oI }t (?t fuller uirh tir COLLIGATION COLLOCATION poslIf-: good (3) SEMANTICPROSODY (5) miscellaneous Obr io on uh tu o frr phra-< debt (5\ COLLOCATION nrc!'r'[N Put more straightforwardly. ears. then.McCarthy & O'Dell's work is a marginalcaseof of this and not one that reflects the prosody clearly. For these words they offer in their answer key the followingsuggestions: a) up to the ears in work b) get married to someone of In my corpusthereareonly 14 examples wpto . & O'Dell's answer is typical of the way of the word is used.McCarthy and twelve of theseshow a collocationtttithin. its most typical examples.although typical of that genre. another genre such as informal basedon corpus evidence.In this respect. wp to his ears in debt has a one in five chanceof occuring when you useup to . ears.usedmetaphorically.

A world beyond collocation 237 y 1 v r subjecta referenceto the couple ( "Why did AwntieElaine and Uncle Marc get married?" askedOlivia.and only eight (5Vo)are followed by a prepositional phrasebeginning with to. which may be referring to a couple. in Monaco. only five (ZVo) are followed by a prepositional phrase starting with to. even the intuition of the best lexical applied linguists. three of which are separated from the verbal group by punctuation of somesofi. such asplanned to get married one day or wanted us to get married in church .Out of 172 instancesof gol married. also had time aplenty to prepare their book. In a way.28voof instancesof the expressiondo so . The phrase ger married is far more likely to occur with a positive time or place expressionof somekind (though not usually both). preparing materials with inadequate . For example. rushed off his or her feet.And if it is true of McCarthy & O'Dell. (42) positive (0) negative / poSitive (20) / \ \ negative (9) SEMANTIC PROSODY obviously. Again. They'replanning to get married at last. how much more true must it be of the poor language teacher. It also confirms. apart from being steeped in lexical knowledge. Thus a fuller description of get married would be: get married l I f f COLLIGAIION with time/place expression(29) SEMANTIC PROSODY .ustally you. who. 4l (27Ea)have the couple as subject.the past tenseform of the no phrase got married shows the same tendencies.Another 97 GSqa)have one of the parties to the marriage as subject but no mention of the other pafty (Monica Zanotti was planning to get married this spring.) On the other hand. the exact distribution of thesecharacteristics may differ depending on whether get. what all this means is that sentences such as the following are much more likely than McCarthy & O'Del|s get married to someone: I cried when I watched Jill and Mark get married on Tuesday. however.but informal inspection of the other two forms suggests great variation. this analysis only confirms the wisdom of McCarlhy & O'Dell's original advice to record every new word in its grammatical context.but this is twice as likely to happen when the couple is likely to be flawed.) A further 26have an indefinitesubject.that intuition. getting or got is selected. a further six have an indefinite subject.

so much the better. as Eugene Winter once noted.6 Concordancing So what can the languageteacherdo? How can (s)he teachvocabulary so that the naturally occurring colligations and semantic prosodies are picked up? Haven't I actually made the teacher'stask still worse? The answerto the last question is'Yes and no'. becauseit is impossible to say everything at once. So the first necessityis. Tim Johns at the University of Birmingham has shown for years how much a learner can pick up from simple. If learner or teacher has accessto computer concordances. by being repeated in similar contexts.The first thing to note is that words acquire colligations and semantic prosodies. my chapter is in fact a kind of linearly organisedconcordanceof the words words.exposure to as much naturally occurring language as a learner is capable of attending to. The word words occurs 49 times up to the end of the previous paragraph. though you may well not be particularly aware of having that inforrhation. This means that you have had more than 20 opportunitiesto seeeachof thesewords in action. language and learner (as well of course as many others).I have redefined what it is to leam a word well. Certainly.word occtrs 26 times.there are still useful strategiesthat can be adopted for the leaming and teaching of vocabulary. my text was subtly reinforcing or modifying your mental lexicon. language 21 times and learner 28 times. colligations and semantic prosodies. Without realising it. as well as collocations.My computer tells me that the most common lexical items in the chapter so far ate words. colligational and semantic prosodic information about these words. The so-called LanguageAcquisition Device in a baby's head is more likely to be a set of concordancing 'software' that enables us to find regularities and recuffent features in our linguistic experience. language. word. we often pick up something we said earlier in order to add something to it that we could not say on the first occasion. learner and word.we build up in our headsa profile of the words we are leaming. As we leam our first language. which already contains collocational.for the obvious reasonthat texts tend to be about somethingand whatever that 'thing' is. every time you encounteredone of thesewords. rather than any abstract grammar-makingdevice. which is hardly going to come as a surpriseto you. Take this chapteras an example. it is likely to be repeatedmany times in the courseof the text.Most texts can be shown to be networks of repetitions. So. small concordances.238 A world beyond collocation resourcesand asked about words in class without the chance to check the answersout! ll. . But what if learners or teachers have no access to a computer? In such circumstances. In addition. But the featuresof words that I have mentioned are naturally occurring features and there are strategiesthat can be used 1o ensure that words are learned wilh maximum usefulness. unsurprisingly. to absorbtheir collocations.

iI . The collocateoccur(s) is much less frequent.l)Vo). and new (3 times .twice in my chapter.of course. occurring 1774 times in my 100million-word corpus. use(d). This is a putative colligation of words . The sameis true of word.\\I Lch :he -1.given that my corpus is taken predominantly from the Guardian newspaper. So much for the collocations.Add to this the fact thar occurs |rst he be Lnd act to ng :he f.A world beyond collocation 239 the hat rp? red red to to AS So what will you subconsciouslyhave absorbedabout the word words in the course of reading this chapter?well.g nd iot r 2 ge . of 272I occw with apposition. probably without noticing that you are noticing it. is the commonest lexical verb words associates with. if one looks at the semanticprosodiesof occwrsin a generalcolpus we find that it occurs nearly 4vo of the time with a linguistic term as subject (or with a pronoun as subject which has as its reference a linguistic term) . as in this chapter. thesefour collocates account for 58Voof all instancesof word in my chapter.and examination of the large corpus confirms that this is so.the words 'actor' and 'actress'. barely registering ar O. You will also have noticed.this happens almost ljTo of the time in the 12. ou n.collocates. putative collocates in fact: these are:use(d)(3 times .839 examples. for example. this sentenceillustrates . So my chapter has inadvertently reinforced a very common colligation of words.In appositionwith someother item. Specification occurs after words 1731 times (lIEo) in the 100-million-word torpus.lvo of the time. learn.that is 27Voor. on the other hand.^ R5 nd of 2q tn on rd.6Vo). Out of 12. only evenmore so in this chapter. of which 1259 (over 8o/o)are individual words or phrasesor sentences less than four words long.this idiom proves to be very common in the languageas a whole. occurringalmost 5Voof the time in my corpus. the collocate use(d) is very commonin the language a whole. occurs a fifth of the time in my chapter.839instances word in my occurrence in frve.word-lists. You will also have unconsciously absorbedthe fact thaLwords occurs in an idiom . a significant colligation.You will also have absorbedthe fact that word collocates in my chapter with use(d).not noted for its extensivelinguistic discussions.Examinarionof my 100list(s) (5 times million-word corpus shows that all these words are bona fide collocates of words and one of them.This reflects its use in the language as a whole.As for other words . 49 ge l0 us. namely that it is common for the word words to be immediately followed by some form of specification. example.a very high percentage. one of the forms of use occurs as withword 1051 times or 87oof the time.this happenssix for times in this chapter (l2vo of the time). Another colligational feature of word you will have unconsciously absorbed is that it functions as a classifier in my chapter three times: word combinations. learn(ed/s)(7 times -l4Te. occurs. .67aof possibleoccasions).the word 'accowntant' the word 'carpenter'. and . firstly you will have absorbedthat it occurs repeatedly with certain other words.

the keywords were grammatical in nature. The writers of this book have all been working to changeyour perception of the way words work and part of what that has involved has been the adding of collocates to your mental concordance word. I am a descriptive linguist. So.but as the exampleof the word collocatesshows.For native speakers. For the leamer. lining the keywords up under each otherjust as is done automaticallyon a computerconcordance. So what we need are ways to intensify the leamer's encounterswith words. or both) you have strong evidence that rny chapter's use of the combination of and word and occurs is entirely natural. The point is clear: a short natural text is already creating the collocations.240 A v)orld beyond collocation when is used as shorthandfor can be defined as what occurs when two and a half per cent of the time. She then got them to reflect on what pattems they were finding. colligations and semantic prosodies of the words we encounter. Notice that the last collocateof the four just mentionedis not one that would be picked up in a large generalcorpus. Obviously. but the activity can be used with equal effect on lexical items.though value could be gained by any group willing to go beyond being force-fed. in a fascinating paper on materials development. as long as you have verified in advancethat the words being searchedfor have occurred a sufficient number of times to prevent the search being boring or frustrating. But two approachesmight be suggested. and the fact that on another two and a half per cent of the time it takesa mathematical musical subject(quasi-linguistic.most of the time what happens is simple reinforcement of collocations and other pattemsthat we already know and recognise. for full effect the studentsshould be linguistically sophisticated even if not linguistically advanced.rti{ir llJlll . In her is also possiblefor a text to modify or add to the collocationsand other languagefeaturesthat we recognise.I am not myselfan experienced langwage teacher.and it is likely that any advice I give here can be bettered by you. A dt ot TU hr T] I I I1n raI Gi clt str ]i l Th he fffXnn!-tt rr].The first comes from Jane Willis who. this chapter has subconsciously reinforced the semantic prosody that occwrs takes a linguistic or quasilinguistic subject. So the way a word is used and understood modified of is as well as reinforced by the texts we encounter. For example the first sentence this chapter:Despitebeing the head of a languagewnitdedicated of to Applied Linguistics. As I warned at the beginning. not a practising languageteacher. all encountersare like this.She took a group of words that occuned commonly in the text and got her studentsto go through the text looking for one or more of thesekeywords. of course. The studentsthen had to copy the keywords down in the contexts in which they found them. showed how she had got her learnersto use a text to produce a manual concordance.the hidden concordances the text of is to have students look for words that group together and then search for other sentences with the same group of words in them. Another way of using the vocabulary .

A world beyond collocation


A number of lexical items occur in this sentence: head, language(twice), wnit, dedicated, applied, linguistics, experienced,teacher; since it has a referent outside the text, the pronoun l could be addedto the list. The studentis then told to look for another sentencewith three of these words in it. Thev don't have far to search:the very next sentencefulfils the condition: The little experience I have of language teaching is well out of date andfomnsno basisfor giving practical advice to anyone. The studentcan then look for pattem and variation. (S)he will certainly spot: language teacher langwage teaching which point to the possibility of a colligation whereby language is noun modifier to a noun derived from a verb (cf language learning, langwage acqwisition). the sametime, (s)hemay note the variations: At
experienced experience I have of language tectcher language teaching

and, if (s)heis really sharpand linguistically on the ball: I am not myself I have little
experienced experrcnce

The student then looks for another sentencewith the same lexis, trying not to read the intervening sentences but simply searching for the cluster of words. Lo and behold, (s)he will find one at the end of the paragruph:I may haveno langwage teachingexperience I do havedaily experience but ofbeing a language learner I should say here that I have made no changesto my text whatsoeverin order to illustrate the point I am making, nor did I write it with the intention of using it as an illustration. Now the tentatively identified colligations are reinforced. We have: experienced I experience have of experience being a of
language language language language teacher teaching teaching learner


The learner now has encounteredone of the colligations of langwage fow times in a manner likely to reinforce the learning, but (s)he has encountereda range of ways in which experience (and its related adjective) can be used. Given the parallelism of learner wilh teacher, it could be added to the word cluster being sought. If 1 is included in the search,the next sentencethat the student will find is the very next sentence'. Every weekday, more or less without exception,I attempt to learn a language. The main point here is the confirmation of the fact that the previous noun headswere derived from verbs:
learn a

language languagelearner


A world beyond collocation

If however1is not included,the next sentence be found will be at the end to of the third paragraph:The experienceI bring to a book like this aimed at the practising language teacher is that of the Qpical well-motivated but only ge avera Iy compet nt I earner. e It will be seen that this sentencereinforces what the learner has picked up about experience, and by now the leamer will also be picking up that experience alwaysassociated is with someone, this caseL It alsoreinforces in the noun-modifying quality of langwage as well as showing that the noun headsit accompanies occur on their own (averagelycompetent can learner). And so on. There is one other point to be made about the sentences studentwill have the been looking it, namely that they will characteristically- if the text is nonnarrative - make sensetogether,as will be seenbelow: Despite being the head of a language unit dedicated to Applied Linguistics, I am not myself an experiencedlanguageteacher.The little experienceI have of languageteachingis well out of date and forms no basis for giving practical advice to anyone. I may have no language teaching experiencebut I do have daily experienceof being a language leamer. The experience I bring to a book like this aimed at the practising language teacher is that of the typical well-motivated but only averagelycompetentlearner. Thus the studentsget two benefits at the same time. They have a controlled task to perform that will result in the raising of their consciousness about the nature of the collocations, colligations and semanticprosodies of a group of words - though I hope I do not have to add that there is absolutely no need for them to ever hear whisper of such terminology.At the sametime they have got sensefrom authentic text without having had to read everything in the text. In this context I should emphasise that the text doeshave to be authentic; inauthentic text may distort the featuresI have been describing.

11.7 Summary
The featuresI have been describing,as well as thosedescribedelsewhere in this book, are the natural result of the way we encounterand acquire our first language.Word-lists, despite the promise they offer of allowing the learners to correlatetheir first languagewith the languagebeing learned,deprive them of much of the information they would naturally have if learning those same words in the language community. The strategiesI described in the last few pages are not the only, and probably not the best, ways of enhancing the leamers' vocabulary so that they learrrnot just the meaningsof the words but the environments they occur in. But they surebeat word-lists! No wonder I have never succeeded a languagelearner: the coursesI have as taken have not only denied me accessto the collocations of the words I have

A world beyond collocation


learned, but they have hidden from me the whole rich world beyond collocation that underlies what it r"atty -"u.r. to know a word.

Discussion euestions
#:iHf;"tr have noticed vou when learners lisrsof individual learn words
Michaer Hoey is ress happy with many themed word lists, such as lists of sporrs or fumiture, than with unthemei fisrs drawn from a;;;", dialogue. experience



reflecthis assessm"nt or-rn.." differenr

Do you anticipate any probrems implementing the suggestion, made by severar contributors to this uoot, oi"n"ouraging learners to record new language multi_worditems, in ,cleaning l" it up,first? "orrt"^t,^;ithout

244 Bibliography

Baigent, M. (1999) Teachingin Chunks: integratinga lexical approach,'in Modern English Teacher, Vol. 8, No. 2 Biber, D., Conrad, S. and Reppen, R. (1998) Corpus Linguistics, Cambridge University Press Brown, G. (1917) Listening to SpokenEnglish, Longman Bygate, M. (1996) Effects of Task Repetition: appraisingthe developing languageof learners, Willis and Willis in Coady, J. and Huckin, T. (1991) SecondLanguageVocabularyAcquisition, Cambridge University Press Fernando, C. (1996) Idioms and Idiomaticity,Oxford University Press Hill, J. and Lewis, M. (Eds) (1997)LTP Dictionary of Selected Collocations, UTP Hoey, M. (1991) Patterns Lexis in Text, Oxford University Press of Hoey, M. (Ed) (1993) Data, Description,Discourse, HarperCollins Howarth, P. (1998) Phraseology and Second Language Proficiency, in Applied LinguisticsVol. 19, No. 1 Hudson, J. (1998) Perspectives Fixedness, Lund University Press on of Johansson,S. (1993) "Sweetly oblivious": some aspects adverb-adjective combinations present-day in English, in Hoey, 1993 Krashen, S. and Terrell, T. (1983) The Natural Approach,Pergamon Larsen-Freeman, D. (1977) Chaos, Complexity, Science and Second Language Acquisition, in Applied Linguistics,Vol. 18, No. 2 Lewis, M. (1993) The Lexical Approach,LTP Lewis M. (1997) Implementingthe Lexical Approach,LTP Lewis, M. (1996) Implicationsof a Lexical View of Language,in Willis and Willis Lewis, M. (1991) PedagogicalImplications of the Lexical Approach, in Coady and Huckin Nattinger, J. and DeCarrico, J. (1992) Lexical Phrases in Language Teaching,Oxford University Press Poole, B. (1998) Corpus, Concordance, Combinability, in IATEFL Newsletter, Feb-March 1998 Rudzka, B., Channel, J., Putseys,Y. and Ostyn, P. (1981) The Words you Need,Macmillan Schmidt, R. W. (1990) The Role of Consciousness Second Language in Learning,in Applied Linguistics,Vol. 11, No. 2





Tr R


T \t


T] 1,


\1 H

Moscow StateUniversityAssociation o Sunderland. colrocation.Vol. and winis. (1999) using textual analysis to teach source use. LTp Williams. 33rd TESOL Convention Wilberg. paper. J. No. S. concordance. (1987) One to One. (1991)corpus. 4 watts. (1998) Lexical Chunks. 1 Thornbury. Linguistics and Life: A view from Russia.{g sinclair. r. in Modern English Teacher. P. A. P. No. Bibliography 2.oxford university press Skehan.. 7. (1999) Language corpora: what every teacher should know. Heinemann l.inArena. Issue Arena. P. J. D. (1998) A Cognitive Approach to Language Learning. (1990) Does God play Dice?. P. . S. (1996) Language. (1998) The Lexical Approach: a joumey without maps. (1998) Negotiatingin Chunks. Issue 19 willis. (1996) chailenge and change in LanguageTeaching. year 6. in ELI News & Views. Oxford UniversityPress Stewart. I. penguin 19 Ter-Minasova.

1 1 .8 9 9 3 9 6 .X .I S B N1 .

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