L2 learner production and processing of collocation: A multi-study perspective
journal contributionposted on 01.02.2021, 01:22 by A Siyanova, N Schmitt
This article presents a series of studies focusing on L2 production and processing of adjective-noun collocations (e.g., social services). In Study 1, 810 adjective-noun collocations were extracted from 31 essays written by Russian learners of English. About half of these collocations appeared frequently in the British National Corpus (BNC); one-quarter failed to appear in the BNC at all, while another quarter had a very low BNC frequency. Based on frequency data and mutual information (MI) scores, it was discovered that around 45% of all learner collocations were, in fact, appropriate collocations, that is, frequent and strongly associated English word combinations. When the study data were compared to data from native speakers, very little difference was found between native speakers (NS) and non-native speakers (NNS) in the use of appropriate collocations. Unfortunately, the high percentage of appropriate collocations does not mean that NNSs necessarily develop fully native-like knowledge of collocation. In Study 2, NNSs demonstrated poorer intuition than NS respondents regarding the frequency of collocations. Likewise, Study 3 showed that NNSs were slower than NSs in processing collocations. Overall, the studies reported here suggest that L2 learners are capable of producing a large number of appropriate collocations but that the underlying intuitions and the fluency with collocations of even advanced learners do not seem to match those of native speakers. © 2008 The Canadian Modern Language Review.