Phraseology and language pedagogy: Semantic preference associated with English verbs in the British National Corpus

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The key role of phraseology in language acquisition and use has been recognised by a number of distinguished linguists during the twentieth century. Research in cognitive science has shown that frequency of occurrence and frequency of experience establishes words and collocations as units of learning, and becomes a determinant in their use. This chapter first describes the distribution of phraseology associated with a number of very high frequency lexical verbs in the British National Corpus, and explores the extent to which the collocates of particular verbs tend to reflect underlying semantic preference and grammatical processes. Collocations associated with the verbs <i>enjoy</i>, <i>give, receive, start, begin, stop, end,</i>and <i>finish </i>are analysed. Frequency of occurrence and the extent of collocational bonding as revealed by the Mutual Information measure are used in the study to identify collocational relations. The chapter then explores why, in light of the evidence from corpora on the nature and pervasiveness of phraseology, there has not been a more explicit and prominent place in language pedagogy for the learning of multi-word units.


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