Collocation

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In corpus linguistics, collocation defines a sequence of words or terms that co-occur more often than would be
expected by chance. In phraseology, collocation is a sub-type of phraseme. An example of a phraseological
collocation (from Michael Hallidayis the expression strong tea. !hile the same meaning could be con"eyed by
the roughly equi"alent #powerful tea, this expression is considered incorrect by $nglish spea%ers. &on"ersely,
the corresponding expression for computer, powerful computers is preferred o"er #strong computers.
'hraseological collocations should not be confused with idioms, where meaning is deri"ed, whereas
collocations are mostly compositional.
(here are about six main types of collocations) ad*ecti"e+noun, noun+noun, "erb+noun, ad"erb+ad*ecti"e,
"erbs+prepositional phrase, and "erb+ad"erb.
&ollocation extraction is a tas% that extracts collocations automatically from a corpus, using computational
linguistics.
$xpanded definition
&ollocations are in effect partly or fully fixed expressions that become established through repeated context-
dependent use. ,uch terms as -crystal clear-, -middle management-, -nuclear family-, and -cosmetic surgery- are
examples of collocated pairs of words.
&ollocations can be in a syntactic relation (such as "erb.ob*ect) -ma%e- and -decision-, lexical relation (such as
antonymy, or they can be in no linguistically defined relation. /nowledge of collocations is "ital for the
competent use of a language) a grammatically correct sentence will stand out as aw%ward if collocational
preferences are "iolated. (his ma%es collocation an interesting area for language teaching.
&orpus 0inguists specify a /ey !ord in &ontext (/!I& and identify the words immediately surrounding them.
(his gi"es an idea of the way words are used.
(he processing of collocations in"ol"es a number of parameters, the most important of which is the measure of
association, which e"aluates whether the co-occurrence is purely by chance or statistically significant. 1ue to
the non-random nature of language, most collocations are classed as significant, and the association scores are
simply used to ran% the results. &ommonly used measures of association include mutual information, t scores,
and log-li%elihood.
2ather than select a single definition, 3ledhill
456
proposes that collocation in"ol"es at least three different
perspecti"es) cooccurrence, a statistical "iew, which sees collocation as the recurrent appearance in a text of a
node and its collocates, construction, which sees collocation either as a correlation between a lexeme and a
lexical-grammatical pattern, or as a relation between a base and its collocati"e partners and expression, a
pragmatic "iew of collocation as a con"entional unit of expression, regardless of form. It should be pointed out
here that these different perspecti"es contrast with the usual way of presenting collocation in phraseological
studies. (raditionally spea%ing, collocation is explained in terms of all three perspecti"es at once, in a
continuum)
78ree &ombination9 : 7;ound &ollocation9 : 78ro<en Idiom9
&ollocation in dictionaries
As long ago as =>??, @oe ,mith-s Second Interim Report on English Collocations highlighted the importance of
collocation as a %ey to producing natural-sounding language, for anyone learning a foreign language. (hus from
the =>5As onwards, information about recurrent word combinations became a standard feature of monolingual
learner-s dictionaries. As these dictionaries became -less word-centred and more phrase-centred-, more attention
was paid to collocation. (his trend was supported, from the beginning of the B=st century, by the a"ailability of
large text corpora and intelligent corpus-querying software, ma%ing possible a more systematic account of
collocation in dictionaries. Csing these tools, dictionaries such as the Macmillan English Dictionary and the
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English included boxes or panels with lists of frequent collocations.
(here are also a number of speciali<ed dictionaries de"oted to describing the frequent collocations in a language.
(hese include (for ,panish Redes: Diccionario combinatorio del espanol contemporaneo (BAA5, and (for
$nglish the LT Dictionary of Selected Collocations (=>>D and the Macmillan Collocations Dictionary (BA=A

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