Библиографическое описание:

Адамбаева Ф. Р., Фарходова Д. Ж. Some peculiarities of using collocations in teaching vocabulary // Молодой ученый. — 2017. — №16.2. — С. 44-46. — URL https://moluch.ru/archive/150/42519/ (дата обращения: 24.04.2018).

Знание словаря не только включает не только знание значения слова в отдельности, но и включает в себя знание слова, которое обычно происходит совместно с ним. Эти слова, которые сосуществуют с высокой частотой, называются коллокации. Эта статья посвящена определению коллокаций и их типов, важность коллокаций в изучении языка и преподавания.

Ключевые слова: коллокация, лексическая компетенция, лексикон, приобретение, идиоматические выражения, предпосылки, разговорный и письменный дискурс, высокочастотные слова.

Vocabulary knowledge doesn‘t only involve just knowing the meaning of a word in isolation, but includes knowing the word that usually co-occurs with it. These words that co-occur with high frequency are called collocations. This article focuses on defining collocation and its types, the importance of collocations in language learning and teaching.

Key words: collocation, lexical competence, lexicon, acquisition, idiomatic expressions, pre-requisites, spoken and written discourse, high-frequency words.

Vocabulary learning is an essential and indispensable part of any language learning process therefore vocabulary teaching and learning is a constant challenge for teachers as well as students because historically there has been minimal focus on vocabulary instruction in the ESL classroom. Due to this, an increased emphasis on vocabulary development is crucial for the English language learner in the process of language learning. As Adger states, the average native English speaker enters nursery school knowing at least 5,000 words while the average English language learner may know 5,000 words in his/ her native language but only a few words in English [1]. The reality is that native speakers go on learning new words while English language learners face the double challenge of building that foundation and closing that language gap. The following table shows how many words are needed for effective communication in an L2.


Number of words

Text coverage,%



















Technical vocabulary is words or phrases that are mainly used in a specific line of work or profession. For instance, a computer engineer needs to know technical words such as mount point and bootstrapping, words that people outside that field never use. Academic vocabulary on the other hand is the vocabulary critical to understanding the concepts of the content taught in schools.

Without some knowledge of vocabulary, neither language production nor language comprehension would be possible. Thus the growth of vocabulary knowledge is one of the vital pre-requisites for language acquisition and this growth of vocabulary knowledge can only be possible when teachers apply effective vocabulary teaching and learning strategies.

Vocabulary knowledge doesn‘t only involve just knowing the meaning of a word in isolation, but includes knowing the word that usually co-occurs with it. These words that co-occur with high frequency are called collocations, e.g. heavy rain, strong coffee but not powerful coffee, a brief discussion but a short man.

According to Cambridge dictionary of «collocation» is:

1. «a word or phrase that is often used with another word or phrase, in a way that sounds correct to people who have spoken the language all their lives, but might not be expected from the meaning».

2. «The combination of words formed when two or more words are often used together in a way that sound correct» [2].

The definition of collocations is varied. The term is used in a variety of senses in the fields of linguistics and language teaching. Nesselhaulf identifies two main views of the word collocation: the «frequency-based approach» and the «phraseological approach» [5]. In the frequency-based view, it designates two or more words that occur together in a sample of language. They can appear more often than expected or not. Because it occurs repeatedly, a collocation can be identified through corpus analysis. The phraseological view considers collocations a type of word combination, distinct from idioms on one side and free word combinations on the other, as McKeown and Radev assert: Idiomatic expressions are those in which the semantics of the whole cannot be deduced from the meanings of the individual constituents [4]. Free word combinations have the properties that each of the words can be replaced by another without seriously modifying the overall meaning of the composite unit and if one of the words is omitted, a reader cannot easily infer it from the remaining ones. Unlike free word combinations, a collocation is a group of words that occur together more often than by chance. However, unlike idioms, individual words in a collocation can contribute to the overall semantics of the compound. Woolard tries to define the term in a simpler, more pedagogical way [6]. He considers collocations as groups of words that language learners do not usually expect to find together. From that perspective, the expression heavy furniture/loads would not be considered a collocation, whereas heavy seas/smoker would. He also restricts the use of the term to relations between nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs only. In that view, guilty of, dependent on and reason for would not be called collocations.

A hundred different authors could come up with a hundred different ways to describe the term. Regardless of the definition, collocation acquisition is a major step in the English learning process and should be given greater attention in class. Hill points out several reasons why it is important to teach collocations, three of which are mentioned below. Further, he proposes a new approach to teaching the subject [3].

One reason why collocations should play a central role in ELT has to do with the predictability of vocabulary use. When a speaker thinks of drinking, s/he might say have. Automatically, the listener conjures up a list of possible continuations – coffee, water, tea, whisky, but not oil or shampoo. Similarly, when someone says do, the listener might expect something like the right thing or his best, but never a mistake. The way words combine in collocations is fundamental to language use.

Another reason to teach collocations is the fact that they improve thought processing and lead to effective communication. Native speakers read, talk and listen to quick-paced discourses because they have a vast repertoire of chunks of language in storage, ready to be produced and recognized. Having these ready-made pieces of speech makes it easier for us to express complex ideas and think faster, since all our brain space is not occupied looking for words.

Thirdly, collocations facilitate the acquisition of correct pronunciation. Producing speech from individual words often results in bad stress and intonation because the speaker cannot utter correct chunks of language. On the other hand, fixed expressions provide the students with the stress pattern of the phrase as a whole, allowing for a better pronunciation. Besides, students cannot recognize and store chunks if they do not know them correctly.

In addition to what has been said, Hill emphasizes that collocations should be given the same emphasis in class as individual words. In fact, students cannot really learn a new word unless they learn how to use it. That is why teachers should teach new a word along with their most common collocates. If the word is ferry, the teacher must also mention go on the car ferry, a roll-on roll-off ferry, take the ferry from_____ to _____. To higher level students it is interesting to mention that less common vocabulary – like impetuous and initiative – is used in very few collocations – impetuous behavior, take the initiative.

Collocation knowledge is one of the most important properties of lexical competence. Language is phrasal in its nature, and collocations represent building blocks of spoken and written discourse.[7]. They facilitate communication by speakers and hearers alike. Knowing collocations will improve your English speaking and writing skill because:

Using wrong collocation is an error; using correct collocation will show the level of your English, the better you use collocation, the better your English will be; using correct collocation makes your English more like a native speaker.

There are six main types of collocations, they are:

  1. Adjective + noun

There are many adjectives which can gather with noun. Here are the examples of collocation adjective + noun

Ø He has been aheavy smokerand drinker all his adult life.

Ø She speaks English quite well but with strong French accent.

Ø They have a hard life and worked through a hard time. We don’t have hard evidence that they had used hard drugs.

  1. Noun + noun (such as collective noun)

Ø I would like to buy two bars of soaps

Ø There is a glass of water on the table.

Ø Would you like to have a cup of coffee?

  1. Verb + noun

Ø I always try to do my homework in the morning after making my bed

Ø Do you think the bank would forgive a debt?

Ø We are going to have lunch together, would you like to join??

Ø Every day, I take a shower at 6 o’clock

  1. Adverb + adjective

Ø This test is ridiculously easy! I didn’t even study, but I will get high score.

Ø Janet is a highly successful businesswoman. She owns several restaurants and hotels around the country.

Ø That is utterly ridiculous. She didn’t steal your favorite book. She wasn’t even in the office yesterday.

  1. Verbs+ prepositional phrase (phrasal verb)

Ø Their behavior was enough to drive anybody to crime

Ø We had to return home because we had run out of money

Ø I am going to look up the meaning in the dictionary

  1. Verb +adverb

Ø Mary whispered softly in John’s ear.

Ø The boy speaks politely, and is very well-behaved.

Ø The accident happened because he was driving dangerously.

What techniques can we use to help to learn collocations?

 Read newspaper, magazine or even story in English.

 As you read, connect the keywords and make a line between them.

 Use different highlighters for every type of collocation.

 Write down the example which you find from the article onto your notebook.

Through collocation acquisition a student is able to enhance vocabulary skills as well as gain knowledge on how English is structured. Slowly but steadily, collocations are proving to be a major facilitator to ELT and should be further explored inside the classroom.


  1. Adger, C. T. What teachers need to know about language. McHenry, IL: Center for Applied Linguistics. 2002.
  2. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2014.
  3. Hill, J. Revising priorities: from grammarical failure to collocational success. In: LEWIS, M.Teaching Collocation: Further Developments in the Lexical Approach. Hove, England: Language Teaching Publications, 2000.
  4. Mckeown, K. R.; Radev, D. R. Collocations. 1999.
  5. Nesselhauf, N. Collocations in a Learner Corpus. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2004, vol.14.
  6. WOOLARD, G. Collocation: encouraging learner independence. In: LEWIS, M. Teaching Collocation: Further Developments in the Lexical Approach. Hove, England: Language Teaching Publications, 2000.
  7. Wray, A. Formulaic language and the lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2002.
Основные термины (генерируются автоматически): collocations, words, Vocabulary knowledge doesn‘t, free word combinations, collocation, language, collocation acquisition, effective vocabulary teaching, individual words, word collocation, English language learner, correct collocation, English language learners, average English language, Collocation knowledge, native English speaker, English learning process, wrong collocation, language learning, idiomatic expressions.

Ключевые слова

приобретение, коллокация, предпосылки, идиоматические выражения, лексическая компетенция, лексикон, разговорный и письменный дискурс, высокочастотные слова


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