Author Topic: Teaching L2 collocation  (Read 805 times)

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Offline omid

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Teaching L2 collocation
« on: April 29, 2015, 01:37:13 PM »
Collocations are not a new thing in applied linguistics research, but teaching them and how to incorporate them in teaching materials is a less commonly explored area. As a non-native teacher of English, one thing that has been challenging for me is to make sure that the examples of language that I give to my students in the class reflect correct language usage, as much as possible. This often involves having to decide what collocates with what in the language. There are excellent resources on collocations for language teachers, language learners, and linguists!

One such example is the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA): http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/
Once you have signed up for an account and logged in, there is a giant corpus of authentic language across different domains (spoken, written, media, academic, etc.) at your fingertips. You can search to see how frequent a certain string of language is (whether or not those words collocate with each other) in the corpus.

This does not quite solve the problem of teaching collocations. As teachers, we need ideas for how to build activities and tasks that can be used inside class to help our students learn collocations. The following is a link to a sample Unit from the textbook "English Collocations in Use" by Cambridge University Press: http://assets.cambridge.org/97805216/03782/excerpt/9780521603782_excerpt.pdf
The unit offers various examples of tasks that focus on collocations in units that are thematically designed to each focus on one particular area of meaning (Eating & Drinking, Films & Books, Music, Sports, etc.). This is something students at intermediate and higher levels of proficiency can really appreciate.

For more advanced levels, students can also be given a resource such as Oxford Collocations Dictionary ( http://www.amazon.com/Oxford-Collocations-Dictionary-Colin-McIntosh/dp/0194325385 ). Teachers can encourage the students to use resources like this to make sure that their language production is accurate.