This cross-sectional study investigates the underlying constructs of second language (L2) lexical collocation knowledge in adult L2 acquisition. Three research questions were addressed: What is the relationship between receptive and productive knowledge of L2 lexical collocations? To what extent do different grammatical structures of lexical collocations pose different degrees of difficulty to L2 learners? To what extent do different collocation tasks distinguish among levels of L2 collocation knowledge? Previous studies have largely ignored how productive knowledge of L2 collocations is related to receptive knowledge of L2 collocations, and focused only on verb-noun and adjective-noun collocations.
Four groups of learners of English (n = 205) and two groups of NSs of English (n = 85) completed four tasks: a sentence writing task, fill-in-the-blank task, multiple-choice task, and Yes/No acceptability judgment task. Each task targeted the same sixty-four academic English collocations selected from the literature, including verb-noun (e.g., commit a crime), adjective-noun (e.g., wide variety), adverb-adjective (e.g., readily available), and adverb-verb (e.g., clearly indicate) collocations. Corpus frequency, mutual information, and NSs’ judgments were used in the collocation identification process. Although the results showed that learners’ productive knowledge of L2 collocations was substantially lower than their receptive knowledge of the same collocations, there was no compelling statistical evidence showing that receptive and productive knowledge of L2 collocations are two distinct constructs. The results also showed that different grammatical structures of collocations do not pose significantly different degrees of difficulty to learners when collocation frequency is held constant. The eight-option multiple-choice task was best at distinguishing among learners of different levels of L2 collocation knowledge, followed by the fill-in-the-blank task, the sentence writing task, and the Yes/No acceptability judgment task. Interlanguage analysis of learners’ unacceptable word combinations revealed that highly-advanced learners’ word combinations tended to be synonymous to the target collocation, low-advanced learners’ word combinations tended to be somewhat semantically related to the target collocation, and intermediate-level learners’ word combinations were often semantically implausible.
|Advisor:||Bardovi-Harlig, Kathleen, Shin, Sun-Young|
|Commitee:||Yılmaz, Yücel, Kübler, Sandra|
|Department:||Second Language Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Linguistics, Language, Educational tests & measurements|
|Keywords:||Collocations, Formulaic language, L2 vocabulary, Language testing|
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