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George Woolard uses tnhe ten yearn since the - ~ Scientists are making researciB inio lhe

key words to-unlock

I publication 0i the ~exical
Approach Ly Michael Lewis,
collocation. oue of the central
ideas of the book.r.s beginning to
establish itself in E!lglish Language
causes 01AIDS
2 The result was an extreme

3 We'll experience many costs, and few

Teaching. This can be seen from the benefits wi/l come.
growing trend in m!,v coursebooks of In each case,. the leamer understands
providing vocabulajy exercises on the high1ighted word, but fails to
collocation, and serting tasks which collocate correctly. Each of these
encourage the kind of noticing that is .rniscollocations has something .
essential to learning collocation. instructive to tell us about the nature of
As teachers, we need to raise collocation itself.
awareness of colloc ation and to provide In l"make should be replaced by do.
activities and mate] ials which help This ex,ample high1ights the fixed nature
develop leamer corupetence, My own of collocation. There is no reason why it
approach is guided by the following should be do rather than make, it just is!
principls: -, I
This is certainly true of verb-noun
o Learning new vocabulary is not just collocations where the verbs do, get,
leaming new wous, it is often have, make, put and take. carry Iittle
, learning familiarwords in new meaning. This de-lexicalised use of the
combinations. ! verb accounts for an extremely large
I number of collocations in English.
o Practice must be ':Iirected towards
Leaming collocation, then, is knowing
helping the learni r collocate words
which words can go together.
and grammatical'se from word to
In 2, extreme should be replaced by
big, huge or bitter. This example
o The noun provides the most efficient demonstrates that collocation is often
focus for leamin], collocation. learning about constraints on language
use. We can say The result was extremely
11 Familiar words ln disappointing, but the simple grammar
transformation to The result was an
new comlnnatlons extreme disappointment is blocked by
A leamer 'can kn )Vl the meaning of a the speech community. Learning
word, use it in a ~r;lmmatically well- collocation is also about knowing which
formed sentence an 1 communicate words can't g together, .
effectively, yet stillIail to produce Sentence 3 shows that collocation is
acceptable English., For example, subject-defining. The competent
, ,

46 Issue 40 September 2005 '. ENGLlSH TEACHING professional o \~ i"1%'.<:lil[l:)li"(ll)V~5s@=C.<e:(C)00Il


business English user not only knows collocations and dominant grammatical II n. ,. .
key business terms like costs and benefits, patterns. For example, from the , IJlJ !J)Jr! ~O?iJiJ O(fi)
but also the particular verbs that they
collocate with. In 3, incur should
utterance My mothr holds very strong
views on the sujeciof marriage, the I (!!J~U(f7Jrg; ~iJUrg)W~@O~ ~
replace experience and accrue should learner notices thai' you can hold a view,
that a view can be ~{trong and that view
I @b!flJml]jJfi)U~l@tmM&77JJff1J@j
replace come. It is the learners' ability to
use appropriate collocations rather than is followed by the preposition on. This I ff~ d~ mm fhJU~JMU 1c
particular grammatical structures whch leaves the learner with a chunk of .
language: to hold v.;-rystrong views o~
I ..' !{jjj~ @ifY ~fhJ@ ~ry;f'V {lfiJ
determines their proficiency within a
particular subject area. (something). This kind of word I ~fhJ~@ @&1~J@f!iJ~
As.teachers, we encourage learners grammar approachlhelps the learner to
to keep vocabulary lists, but the type of avoid the type of niscollocation we
i f!@J~rrv@rr~rrv~[i) ~[Pij
error highlighted above demonstrates examined earlier. i
! cQJ@CJ:(u~d~@(dJ f!i(fJltlJl'
the need to raise awareness of the fact It should be noted that a word 1
that learning new vocabulary is not just grammar approach, as the term itself
learning new words, it is often learning suggests, tends to dissolve the strict directed towards helping the leamer
familiar words in new combtnaiions. This dichotomy that we draw between col/ocate words and grammaticalise from
means that learners need to return to grammar and vocabulary, as any focus word to sentence', It is this which is
the words on their lists at regular on the c.ombinatiOl! of words will lacking in current materiais and
intervals in order to extend their usually involve grammar, For example, methodology and so we need to enrich
knowledge of their collocations, As with if learners apply a word grammar our teacbing by adding a word
grammar, learning vocabulary is not approach to succes,; in the utterance I've grammar dirnension to it.
linear, but cyc1ical in nature. been looking for a job for some time now,

~ Grammaticalising trom
but.I haven't had m.;!ch success in finding
one, not only do they note that success m Focus on nouns
collocates with have and is followed by If a word has ten or more significant
word to sentence the preposition in, {lUttheir attention is collocations, the size of the learning
Lewis states that 'language conslsts of also drawn to a ver;! common and task begins to look enormous. However,
grammaticalised lexis, not lexicalised useful use of perfect tenses, adopting a nun focus helps to make
grammar', The contrast he draws This particular combination of the the task mo-re manageable.
actually reflects two different ways of present perfect continuous tense + The justification for such an
looking at language, ' present perfect tense is used to deseribe approach is twofold. Firstly, language is
Lexicalised grammar refers to the an activity with a particular aim, used to communicate meaning, and
traditional 'slot and filler' approach in followed by an evauation of how far meaning generally centres on ~henoun.
which prominent structures such as the that ai:m has been 2fhieved. From tbis Secondly, a word grammar focus on the
tenses are highlighted. For example, in a observation, the ledmer can easily noun will draw in significant verbs and
typical lesson on the present perfect generate further ex.!.mples:I've been adjectives, leading to an efficient and
tense, the learner is presented with I've looking for a fiat foto some time now, but contextualised learning of vocabulary
been to , but I haven't been to . I haven't had much success in finding For example, in the earlier sentence My
yet and is encouraged to complete tbis one; I've been tryin:i to contact Boston mother holds very strong views on the
frame with suitable vocabulary items, eg for over an hour nOl~,but I havent had subject of marriage, a word grammar
I've been to Greece, but I haven't been to much success in get iing through. In approach to view drew in the words hold
idal)' yet. learning vocabulary, then, the leamer is .and strong as significant collocations,
Grammaticalised lexis, on the other also learning grammar. We could, of eourse, create
hand, refers to a 'word grammar' Rather than seeing the slot and filler collocation exercises with the adjectve
approach in wbich the learner moves approach and the word grammar strong - strong coffee, strong opinion,
out from a word to discover its approaeh as in some kind of . strong smell; or with the verb hold -
opposition, as the quote from Lewis hold a conversation, hold an opinion, hold
seems to suggest, I believe that, in a grudge. This is similar to the 'make or
A ffi1@rr@ @!mJfflffl~f! relation to languag . learning, they are do' exercises which are common in most
~~rooJf!=iJg &J~ fJt''f)@ in fact complementary, and further I current textbooks. My dssatisfaction
would argue that ttje learner needs to with these exercises is that the foeus is, 1
~[F,m(f@@(!~aJJ@@@~~D adopt both approahes in order to ' feel, in the wrong place, 'as make has
I" achieve a full competence, The slot and little or no meaning when it collocates
rr~f7)J~~@' cQJd~~@u'rJ@ tUu fller approach enables the leamer to with decision, appointment, noise, etc.
r; ....fI. n.r.
rQJOtfJ/[@fflJj 1f!(lj@)1[
_'11-. A
I produce huge amounts of If our aim in using language is to
grammatically well-formed language, communicate meaning, it is more
lf# @mw
-fi n n:
OO![&t@-@fl7J whi\e the word grammar approach
helpful to foeus on the noun in these
shows the learner h..>wmuch of that collocations rather than the
WJfmjm{f]['~! @)(fwdJ
language is actually acceptable, delexicatised verb - for instance to help
W@@@aJjU&irtJf Where Lewis is bght, however, is in the learner say various things about
his insistence that ')'ractice must be appointments: make an appointment,

, (

~iIWI1!lM,)\l[!!ll)'ql)a=e!<ll)=O, C~IJ!l1),'ENGLlSH TEACHING professional tssue 40 September 2005' 47


larger chunks of language such as the 41It's a very mild shampoo and doesn't
Noticing. . much-neglected but common noun +
preposition + noun structure, The
dry your hair out. This makes it ideal
for everydaylwidespread use.
and leafning sampIe exercises whid follow focus on
use as a noun and are aimed at the The third exercise type helps the learner

collocation higher-intermediate/edvanced student. to notice larger chunks of language. In

this particular exercise, the focus is on the
Practising coocation noun + preposition + noun structure.
o"> cancel an appointment, keep an
appointment, miss an appointment,etc. rQ\ ln order to appreciate the richness Exercise type 3'
As a general strategy, the learner W of language that surrounds the key Complete the sentences below wifu GlJ
should be encouraged to focus on nouns word, try to think ofjverb and adjective suitable preposition:
in texts and notice the language around collocations with thenoun use, and any
them. Teachers can exploit the texts in . ~ The steep increase the
other significant chunks of language
their current coursebooks by directing use of mobile phones in recent years
containing use before you try the
their students' attention to key nouns in has led to a dramatic reduction in the
exercises below. Not inany higher-
thes texts and by creating use of phone boxes.
intermediate/advanced students will
supplementary word grammar tasks produce this sort of l}lllguage unassisted. 2 The stone steps in the old castle had
which help: the learners to notice and been worn away by years .
record their significant collocations. The first exercise type uses the use.
traditional gap-fill fOI mat to focus on 3 Our organisation has to follow very
Teaching collocation verb collocations. strict guidelines the use of
Even if teachers follow the above personal details on computers.
Exercise type 1
suggestions, the problem of coverage Complete the sentences below with 41It's very user-friendly. There is a large
remains, as key nouns in coursebook handle at the front of the device for
the correct form of lhe following verbs:
texts are not revisited in the same ban have l;e make ease use.
systematic way that key grammar items
tend to be. By this I mean that the ~ I'm afraid she can't walk. She
various collocations of words like .................... the use of her legs in a
opinion and success are not threaded road aeeident.
Supplementary exercises of this sort
through the units in the coursebook to 2 In order to reduee pollution we need to provide rich and structured practice in
provide a fuller picture of the uses of .................. :. more se of the energy collocation and word grammar.
these words. Consequently, the learners' provided by the SL,<1 and the wind. Furthermore, once the learner has
exposure to the significant collocations completed these exercises, they remain a
3 Let's go for a driv~i:I the
of a particular key word is unstructured reference source which can be revisited
use of my father's car for the weekend.
and haphazard. How then can we I and reactivated to develop fluency. @
improve on the situation? What ~ The United Natlons should try to
materiaIs can we provide? .................... the use of ehemieal .".~ GeorgeWooi2lrois2I1l
weapons and get ali eountries to agree " experienced lEo..rtelllc~er
Designing a coursebook to satisfy
and trainer who hllls
the above demands would be an not to produce them. 11. .. worked in Greece,
enormous task and probably ,. Malaysia and tIlle UI}(.
" . ,. He now teaches lIlt
unmanageable. If each key word has ten The second exercise type offers the t~ ~ ....., Stevensoll C09Uege,
or more significant collocations then the learner two choices trl complete the \ ;' Edinburgil. He as~e
"" author of Key Words for
number of items to be threaded through collocation. In this case, two semantically- \ ,/ Fluency, a 1l8Wsenes o'i
the coursebook becomes unworkable. related terms are given, but only one is collocatDon prllctDce books
) __/' published by Thomsolrn
However, I do think that supplementary appropriate. This for mat is particularly I/\""'"--... ELT. His previollls
materiaIs which provide concentrated useful in helping the Iearner avoid v !. publications incOlllclle
'-- ' -.Ll.--I Lessons with 8.augMe:r
and structured practice in collocation miscollocations. In the following exercise and Grammar with
can fill this gap and work alongside the the focus is on adjective collocations. -Laughter, s9so puiDOasilloo
by Thomson lEo..y.
Exercise type ,2
A further argument for this
approach lies in the fact that Choose the correc\ collocation:
collccation, by its nature, lends itse1f to ~ This entranee is iq eonstaqt/full use.
independentlanguagelearning.ltisthe Please do not park in front of it.
kind of task the learner can perform
2 Your son i very e!ever, but he doesn't
outside the classroom, and the kind of Do you have something to say about
make complete/fu!! use of his abilities
activity that wilI help make maximum an article in the current issue of ETp?
in the classroom. He could achieve
use of the coursebook in the classroom. This is your magazine and we would
much better results.
One possible format for really like to hear from you.
supplementary materiaIs is to provide 3 The sign next to ti le fire alarm said Write to us or email:
exercises which highlight significant , 'Penalty for wronMimproper use- talkback@etprofessi@:roaH.(C(U)1I!I'il
verb and adjective collocations and ~200'. '

48 . Issue 40 September 2005 ENGLlSH TEACHIN<!l professional ~~7W.$il~Q"(ll;V$=Dca>croalD.a:;ca>1l!I'J