Collocation and colligation are two closely related concepts associated with the distributional properties of linguistic items in actual language use. Specifically, collocation and colligation refer to the likelihood of co-occurrence of (two or more) lexical items and grammatical categories, respectively. Both terms have been attributed to J. R. Firth (1957: 194–195; 1968: 181–183; see Östman and Simon-Vandenbergen 2005 and Shore 2010 for a summary of Firth’s work). Since the terms were introduced, collocation in particular has become a fundamental concept in usage-based studies in many linguistic fields, most notably lexical syntax and semantics. Typically, collocations and colligations are studied in large electronic corpora which allows for statistical analyses of the co-occurrence patterns of linguistic items.
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