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Why do you say deep water and not profound water?
“A word is known by the company it keeps” (JR Firth)
- tremble with fear tremble with excitement* - quiver with excitement quiver with fear* There is no definable reason why we choose to say “tremble with fear” but not “quiver with fear”. It is simply a question of COLLOCATION.
and other phrases like the rich and powerful. 3 .other examples: hot dog.What is collocation? COLLOCATION refers to a relationship between words that frequently occur together The words together can mean more than the sum of their parts (The Times of India. Broad/bright daylight (but not narrow darkness). Valid or invalid? a stiff breeze but not a stiff wind (while either a strong breeze or a strong wind is okay). disk drive) . mother in law Examples of collocations noun phrases like strong tea and weapons of mass destruction phrasal verbs like to make up.
g. pretty car overcoat 4 .Collocational meaning (1) Collocational meaning refers to the associations that a word acquires in its collocation: girl boy woman flower garden colour village boy man handsome e.
i.e. the change in verbal context 5 . These different meanings of “green” and “white”are polysemous but they are caused by the different collocation.g.Collocational meaning (2) A word can gain different collocational meaning in different contexts: green on the job green fruit green with envy white man white wine white noise white coffee e.
A phrase can be a collocation even if it is not consecutive (as in the example knock . Collocations usually cannot be translated into other languages word by word.non-substitutability .non-modifiability.Criteria for collocations Typical criteria for collocations: .non-compositionality . door). . 6 . .
strong tea. new companies A phrase is non-compositional if the meaning cannot be predicted from the meaning of the parts e. Idioms are the most extreme examples of noncompositionality. e. e. hot dog Collocations are not necessarily fully compositional in that there is usually an element of meaning added to the combination. 7 .g.g. e.g. to hear it through the grapevine.g.Non-compositionality A phrase is compositional if the meaning can predicted from the meaning of the parts.
but not whiter wine mother in law. e. We can’t say yellow wine instead of white wine even though yellow is as good a description of the color of white wine as white is (it is kind of a yellowish white). but not mother in laws 8 .g. white wine. e.Non-substitutability We cannot substitute near-synonyms for the components of a collocation.g. Many collocations cannot be freely modified with additional lexical material or through grammatical transformations (Non-modifiability).
g. to go down Proper nouns . make lunch.g. Bill Clinton Terminological expressions refer to concepts and objects in technical domains.g. . take and do.e. take it easy.Linguistic Subclasses of Collocations Light verbs: .e.e. Verb particle constructions .e.Verbs with little semantic content like make. .g. Hydraulic oil filter 9 .
For example knock collocates with door but at a distance .a man knocked on the metal front door 10 .she knocked on his door .100 women knocked on Donaldson’s door .they knocked at the door .Collocations at a distance Many collocations occur at variable distances.
i.e. by counting the words which most frequently appear together This usually produces a lot of function words which need to be filtered out 11 .Finding collocations Software is able to scan texts for the most frequently collocated words using the criterion of frequency.
The are all function words (except New York) 12 .An example of a frequency count This shows the most frequent collocations of pairs of words (bigrams) in a corpus of newspaper articles.
Frequency count after filtering This chart shows the most frequent collocations after filtering out the function words. The capital letters refer to the part of speech (A = Adjective. N = Noun) 13 .
characteristics (1) Idioms are strictly non-compositional Although the word that make up the idiom have Their own literal meanings. You canot predict the meaning of an idiom from the sum of its parts: e.Idioms . in the idiom they have lost their individual identity.g. how do you do? I’m under the weather to wear your heart on your sleeve red herring 14 .
g. Constituents cannot be deleted or added to e. as good as gold / as good as play ? 2.Idioms .g. out of the question / out of question ? 15 . Constituents cannot be replaced e.characteristics (2) Structural stability (syntactic frozenness) 1.
In which areas of language learning is collocation useful? Collocation is important at all levels for Writing Translation You will only be able to write well if you know which words go together. 16 .
How do I learn collocations? Noticing collocations when you read Storing collocations: organised lexical notebook Revising and practicing collocations 17 .
trenchant criticism. to be recovering from a major operation) Weak collocations (white wine. a blue movie) It is best to learn the strong collocations because they are unusual 18 . to be moved to tears) Medium collocations (to make a mistake. a black mood. red hair. rancid butter. shrug your shoulders) Strong collocations (ulterior motives.Which collocations should I learn? Unique collocations (foot the bill.
high house You should record your written miscollocations 19 .g. e.Note down your collocation mistakes Collocation is mostly about pairings of words so students will often use a miscollocation.
S: I have to make an exam T: what verb do we use with “exam”? S: “take” T: that’s right.Learn extra collocations Note down the extra collocations you learn in class: e. other verbs we could use are “to pass”.g. “to fail” or also “to retake” 20 .
Try to extend what you know Even when you get something right you can extend your collocational knowledge e.g. S: I was very disappointed T: You could also say “bitterly” or “deeply” disappointed 21 .
Finding collocations in a text Underline useful collocations and put them in your notebooks Read different types of text so you build up your mental lexicons in a balanced way 22 .
flu sufferers Crime victims.Some typical collocation exercises Synonyms: identify words appearing frequently in similar contexts Blast victims were helped by the neighbours Flu victims were helped by the doctors Crime victims were helped by the police Collocations: identify synonyms that don’t appear in similar contexts Flu victims. crime sufferers?? 23 .
Record and recycle Always write down new collocations in special notebooks in a systematic order such as recording them in topic groups. It is important to repeat the content of the notebook in order to acquire it fully (recycling) 24 .
It is helpful to organise it like this: attract be subject to .use only strong.Use special notebooks for collocation Prepare a special lexicon for collocations. frequent collocates criticism deserve react to 25 .do not record more than five collocates .
Learning idioms Since collocations and idioms have a lot in common they should be learned in a similar way e.g. identifying of idioms. guessing meaning from context. recording them in notebooks 26 .
Dictionaries The LTP Dictionary of Selected Collocations Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Students of English Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms Collins COBUILD Dictionary of Idioms Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms 27 .
Concordancing software Tapor freeware (this will give you concordances of any word in a text) Wordsmith Tools (excellent but expensive) 28 .
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