Collocations with mind in Corpus and Implications for Language Teaching

Umit Deniz TURAN
Assoc. Prof. Dr., Anadolu University.


Problem Statement: Collocations are frequent constructions that pertain to the level of language between the lexicon and grammar. In order to reach advanced proficiency levels and to communicate effectively and fluently, foreign language learners must acquire the knowledge of numerous collocations. However, it is observed in the literature that even advanced learners have problems in using correct collocations, especially with verbnoun collocations. It is, therefore, important for learners to be frequently exposed to collocations.

Purpose of Study: This study aims at finding out whether the degree of frequency of verb-noun collocations with mind in naturally-occuring English data is represented in textbook materials (TeMa corpus) and two widely used advanced grammar textbooks. In additon, potential problems in learning collocations are discussed and solutions are sought.

Method: Since the role of frequency in learning collocations is significant, a corpus-based analysis of mind collocations in L1 data and their functional analysis are given and then the frequency of these collocations are compared to the collocations attested in advanced level textbooks. Since collocations in textbooks are sparse, a quantitative analysis cannot be conducted.

Results: The analysis reveals that collocations found in the English native speaker corpus are not represented in terms of frequency and diversity in advanced level textbooks under investigation. It was also found that the most frequent collocations used are conceptual metaphors. For this reason, they can be understood by learners via evoking concepts of experience. Nevertheless, learners may encounter problems in productive skills such as speaking and writing. Due to this, they may require special attention.

Conclusions and Recommendations: Textbooks seem to lack a consistent focus on collocations under investigation. Moreover, they may forego presenting some most frequent collocations; while including the rarest and marginal ones. Corpus-based studies such as this one can shed light on such inconsistencies and have implications for pedagogical grammar and language teaching practice.

Keywords: collocations, restricted and idiomatic collocations, idioms, metaphors, teaching English, corpus studies, significance of frequency of input in language learning