Author Topic: Collocations  (Read 6497 times)

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Offline dbus2

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Collocations
« on: November 11, 2008, 11:21:56 AM »
What is a collocation? What do collocations have to do with writing?  I had never heard this word until I came to graduate school, and I really did not start to incorporate the teaching of collocations into my writing class until this week. So, please forgive my limited knowledge on this subject, but I think it's worth a post just to raise awareness of what collocations are and how they impact an ELL's ability to write. 

Collocations are basically explained by saying that certain words go together (as determined by a native speaker of a language) and certain words do not.  This phenomenon explains why in English we might say "tall building" but usually not a "high building."  Or, "take a picture" instead of "make a picture."  Sometimes, learners are not actually making grammar errors but rather making errors of collocation.  Just understanding this phenomenon has helped me greatly in assessing my students' writing.  Now I understand that while some things that students write may be grammatically correct, an error in collocation might make something sound strange to my ear. 

There is a lot of work being done currently regarding collocations, but here's an easy website from Frankfurt International School that explains them briefly and has a quiz that students (and teachers!) can take.  This website is just a start to understanding a huge issue in ELL composition classes.

http://esl.fis.edu/grammar/easy/colloc.htm

Thanks!
Danielle
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Offline Francine

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Re: Collocations
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2008, 11:43:48 PM »
Hi Danielle,  ;D

Actually collocation is not new to many international students, but I don't know how high the percentage of language learners who know this or pay attention to it. 

When I was in college, my teachers would suggest using collocation dictionaries and two of the most popular are:

One is translated work from Japanese (compiled by a group of Japanese professors), which is the best that I have seen so far. Unfortunately, it seems to me that this dictionary only has Japanese and Chinese versions. I'm not sure if it sells in Korea or in other countries. 

Another one is called: The Bbi Dictionary of English Word Combinations, a very popular English collocation dictionary. All in English!!

You may want to check it out and see if that will help your students in writing.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2009, 11:34:53 PM by Francine »
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Offline Randall Sadler

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Re: Collocations
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2008, 09:05:46 AM »
I took a look in Amazon.com and found several other books on collocations.  I have not used this series, but it seems interesting!

English Collocations in Use

It has 3 levels of texts and is based on the Cambridge International Corpus.  If you use the option to take a look inside the book on Amazon, you can see that this is set up as a textbook rather than a dictionary, which is an interesting idea! 

Has anyone seen/used this series?
« Last Edit: November 12, 2008, 09:47:44 AM by Randall Sadler »
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Offline Francine

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Re: Collocations
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2008, 06:27:08 PM »
Dr. Sadler,

I think the name of dictionary you revised for me (in the color red) is different from the one that I mentioned earlier. It's The BBI Dictionary of English Collocation, a much larger and more professional dictionary.

See this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/BBI-Dictionary-English-Collocation/dp/9027221669

 "English Collocation in Use" is also popular among language learners; I've seen it in bookstores (in my country). 

Still another option is: Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Students of English

« Last Edit: November 12, 2008, 08:42:21 PM by Francine »
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