Chapter in:Beyond Concordance Lines: Corpora in language education
Edited by Pascual Pérez-Paredes and Geraldine Mark
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 102] 2021
► pp. 98–119
Collocations in learner English
A true-longitudinal perspective
The present paper analyses the use of V-N collocations with the four ‘light’ verbs do, give, make and take in a corpus representing longitudinal written data from 83 German learners of English in their four final years of secondary school. The paper focuses on the development of correct and incorrect collocation use, the development of L1 interference, as well as intersubjective variability regarding these aspects. Corroborating previous studies, the paper shows that roughly one quarter of collocations is atypical with no significant changes over the four years. Around half of all erroneous collocations can be interpreted as the result of L1-interference. As regards individual paths of acquisition, the paper shows that students show a large degree of variability. The paper argues that collocations need to be taught explicitly, focusing on frequent collocations of medium restrictedness that show incongruity of L1 and L2.
Keywords: collocations, learner language, longitudinal data, L1-interference, acquisition paths