- Slides: 35
Collocation in English
What is collocation? Collocation is a pair of or group of words that are often used together (word partner). These combinations sound natural to native speakers, but students of English have to make a special effort to learn them because they are often difficult to guess.
For example The adjective fast collocates with food, but not with a meal. Natural English Unnatural English �the fast train fast food �the quick train quick food �a quick shower a �a fast shower a fast quick meal
Mitchell (1956) defines collocation as an association of roots or potential lexical meanings rather than actual words. Robins (1964) defines collocations as “the habitual association of a word in a language with other particular words in sentences”
Why should we learn collocations? • 12 - Your language will be more natural and more easily understood. Smoking is strictly forbidden is more natural than smoking is strongly forbidden. • It is easier for our brains to remember and use language in chunks or blocks rather than as single words. 3 - You will have alternative and richer ways of expressing yourself. Instead of saying it was very cold and very dark; we can say it was bitterly cold and pitch dark. 4 - • Improve your style in writing. We may not need or want to use these in informal conversations, but in writing they can give our text more variety and make it read better. •
Types of collocations Grammatical collocation Lexical collocation Restricted collocation Open collocation Bound collocation
Grammatical collocation Benson, M. (1986) defines grammatical collocation as “a dominant word (verb, noun, adjective) followed by a grammatical word, typically a preposition”.
Types of Grammatical collocations 1 - Verb-preposition combination Verb + Preposition : ex depend on (NOT depend of), look after, struggle for. 2 - noun-preposition combination noun + preposition : ex access to , administration for
3 - adjective-preposition combination Ex : afraid of, absent from, accountable to (with), answerable for. 4 - Verb-participle combination (phrase verbs). Some verbs need to be followed by specific adverbial particles. These are called “phrasal verbs” whose meaning is different from the meaning of the separate constituents of the verb and the particle
in transitive phrase verbs, the particle (adverb) can generally occur before and after the direct object. Did you make up this story? Did you make this story up? How do you account for this phenomenon’s? How do you account this phenomenon for?
Lexical collocations contain no subordinate element; they usually consist of two equal lexical components. Types of lexical collocations 1 -Noun-verb combinations • Snow was falling as our plane took off. • The bomb went off when he started the car engine.
2 • adjective-noun combinations The doctor ordered him to take regular exercise. • The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage.
Verb-noun combination a. Verbs denoting creation-nouns: compile a dictionary, make an impression, compose music, and inflict a wound. b. Verbs denoting activation - nouns: set an alarm, fly a kite, launch a missile, wind a watch. c. Verbs denoting eradication and/or nullification-nouns: reject an appeal, recall a bid, lift a blockade, invalidate a clause, break a code. • The prisoner was hanged for committing murder. • I always try to do my homework in the morning, after making my bed. • He has been asked to give a presentation about his work.
common verb-noun collocations (Make and do) When do you use DO? A- DO is used when talking about work, jobs or tasks. Note, they do not produce any physical object. Ex: Have you done your homework? Ex: I wouldn't like to do that job.
B- DO is used when we refer to activities in general without being specific. In these cases, we normally use words like thing, something, nothing, anything, everything etc. Ex: Is there anything I can do to help you? C- We sometimes use DO to replace a verb when the meaning is clear or obvious. This is more common in informal spoken English: Ex: Do I need to do my hair? (do = brush or comb)
Using make When do you use make? A- Make is for producing, constructing, creating or building something new. B- It is also used to indicate the origin of a product or the materials that are used to make something. Examples : His wedding ring is made of gold. The house was made of adobe.
C- We also use Make for producing an action or reaction: Onions make your eyes water. You make me happy. D- We use Make with Food, Drink and Meals: make a cake. make a cup of tea.
Adverb-adjective combination • These are used to emphasize purpose, or when we intend to add a strong feeling or a special kind of behavior to adjectives. Invading that country was an utterly stupid thing to do. • We entered a richly decorated room. • Are you fully aware of the implications of your action?
3 - open collocation Cowie (1983) characterizes these as combination in which “both elements (verb and object or adjective and noun) are freely recombirable … Typically, also, in open collocations, each element s used in a common literal sense”
Examples A- They hurt her badly. (physical or material) VS B- They hurt her terribly. (sentiments, feelings)
4 - restricted collocations Aisenstadt (1979) defines these as “combinations of two or more words used in one of their regular, non-idiomatic meanings, following certain structural patterns, and restricted in their commutability not only by grammatical and semantic valence, but also by usage”
This type of collocation occurs in various types of syntactic configuration. 1 - subject/Verb Ex: birds chirp (flysing) 2 - verb/object Ex: compile a dictionary , reject an appeal 3 - Adjective/noun Ex: grave concern , sincere condlences
Bound collocations Cowie (1981) defines it as “a bridge category between collocations and idioms “exhibits unique contextual determination. Examples : . foot the bill. (to pay for something) . curry favour. (‘to ingratiate yourself with someone) This kind of collocation is relatively uncommon in English.
Culture-bound collocations Some collocations reflect the cultural setting in which they occur. If the cultural setting of the source and target languages are significantly different, there will be instances when the source text will contain collocations which convey what to the target reader would be unfamiliar associations of ideas. Such culture-specific collocations express ideas previously unexpressed in the target language. Like culture-specific words, they point to concepts which are not easily accessible to the target reader.
Example: ( Happy hour) this is an English expression some shops reduce their prices and introduce several activities in the afternoons and put happy hour sign on their windows and menus. For Arabic language we don’t have this expression.
How collocations differ from Compound words and Idiom? Compounds: compounds are units of meaning formed with two or more words. Sometimes the words are written separately, sometimes they have a hyphen and sometimes they are written as one word. Usually the meaning of the compound can be guessed by knowing the meaning of the individual words. Some examples of compounds are bookstore, narrow-minded. . etc
Idioms are group of words in a fixed order that have a meaning that cannot be guessed by knowing meaning of the individual words also, an idiom is a full expression. For example, pass the buck is an idiom meaning to pass responsibility for a problem to another person to avoid dealing with it oneself.
Examples for idioms Speak of the devil. Raining cats and dogs. Once in a blue moon. When pigs fly. Let the cat out of the bag.
Put the following expressions into the correct category in the table below. Heavy rain, To hit the nail on the head, Passport, Ensure safety , teapot, break a leg. Collocations idioms compound
Put the following expressions into the correct category in the table below. collocation idiom compound Ensure safety break a leg teapot Heavy rain To hit the nail on the passport head
Difficulties in the use of collocations First difficulty: Collocation is not only a matter of association of ideas. For example: We should not often say white milk , though the expression white paint is common enough.
Second difficulty: Words may have more specific meanings in particular collocations. For example: An exceptional child is not an abnormal child Exceptional being used for greater than usual ability and abnormal to relate to some kind of defect.
Third difficulty: It would be a mistake to create a distinguishing line between those collocations that are predictable from the meanings of words that cooccur and those that are not. For Example: Pretty describes only a feminine kind of beauty Rancid is to be defined in terms of the very specific, unplanned, taste associated with butter and bacon
Referencess Aisenstadt, E. E. (1979). Collocability Restriction in Dictionaries. ITL: Review of Applied Linguistics, 45, 71 -74. Aisenstadt, E. E. (1981). Restricted Collocations in English Lexicology and Lexicography. ITL, 53 -62. Cowie, A. P. (1981). The Treatment of Collocations and Idioms in Learner Dictionaries. Applied Linguistics Collocations in English and Arabic: A Comparative Study Khalil Hasan Nofal Bc. Pavla Stodůlková On Collocational Restrictions (A Case Study) Master‟s Diploma Thesis