Volume 19, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811
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Tests of second language learners’ knowledge of collocation have lacked a principled strategy for item selection, making claims about learners’ knowledge beyond the particular collocations tested difficult to evaluate. Corpus frequency may offer a good basis for item selection, if a reliable relationship can be demonstrated between frequency and learner knowledge. However, such a relationship is difficult to establish satisfactorily, given the small number of items and narrow range of test-takers involved in any individual study. In this study, a meta-analysis is used to determine the correlation between learner knowledge and frequency data across nineteen previously-reported tests. Frequency is shown to correlate moderately with knowledge, but the strength of this correlation varies widely across corpora. Strength of association measures (such as mutual information) do not to correlate with learner knowledge. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for collocation testing and models of collocation learning.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): collocation; formulaic language; frequency; SLA; testing; vocabulary
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