Patterns, meaningful units and specialized discourses
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811
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This paper investigates the idiom principle realized as four-word phrases (4-grams) headed by prepositions in specialized corpora in English and Italian. Concentrating on at the end of, it reports that the collocates of at the end of regard time, and that apparently synonymic 4-grams are not used in the same contexts. It then explores realizations of at the end of in a specialized comparable corpus of Italian. Two findings emerge: firstly, that the most obvious equivalent, alla fine d*, occurs more frequently than in the English corpus; secondly, this n-gram is frequently used, but has weaker collocational relations, and several synonymic 3-grams share its collocates. This invites contrastive research on lexical variation and repetition and on the strength of collocations of multi-word units in English and Italian. Lastly, the paper recounts an experiment with students who gained awareness of language by concentrating on phraseology in comparable corpora.


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