The word ‘collocation’.
Wednesday 31 August 2011
by Liz Walter
Can someone invent a new word for ‘collocation’, please? I’ve lost count of the time spent in meetings with marketing colleagues, agonizing over how to advertise the fact that a book is strong on teaching something that most of the world has never heard of.
When collocation is just one feature of the material, there are several possible strategies. Headings in chapters, subsections and panels can have subheadings, e.g.: Collocations (word partners), Collocations Nouns frequently used with x (insert relevant word here). Often, the word ‘collocation’ is dispensed with altogether, so a heading or subheading might be something like: Using words together.
None of this is much help when collocation is the primary subject of your book, as with our Collocations for Natural English. Then, it seems, there is no real alternative to using the word itself. The problem with simpler terms such as ‘word partners’ or ‘word pairs’ is that they are not explicit enough, so while on the one hand they may be more accessible to a student who does not know the word ‘collocation’, a teacher could be left wondering if they do actually refer to collocation or to other word relationships.
If we look at what people actually say when they are talking about collocation, we find at the more academic end of the spectrum phrases like: syntactic relations, measure of association, co-occurrence, mutual information, collocational preferences, verbs that operate nouns. None of these is likely to enlighten anyone who does not already know what a collocation is.
At the other end of the scale, we have formulations such as: two or more words that often go together, natural combinations, putting words together, blocks or chunks of words, relationships between words, all of which explain, to a greater or lesser extent, what a collocation is, but at the same time are slightly vague, and certainly not usable as part of a snappy title.
I’d like to reclaim all the hours spent with designers, poring over images of jigsaw pieces and chain links over the years, attempting a visual representation of something that is so difficult to express in words. Our Delta book has actual collocations on its front cover – about as explicit as you can get – but it still seems frustrating that there is no truly satisfactory term for such a fundamental aspect of learning fluent English.
Delta Development Blog
This blog will be updated at least once a week, so add it to your bookmarks. You can also subscribe to the feed to be notified when it's updated.
Meet the Bloggers
- Bob Dignen & Steve Flinders (February to April 2013)
- Hania Kryszewska & Paul Davis (April to June 2012)
- Louis Rogers (January to March 2012)
- Ken Paterson (December 2011 to February 2012)
- Richard Brown & Lewis Richards (September to November 2011)
- Liz Walter & Kate Woodford (September to October 2011)
- Kyle Mawer & Graham Stanley (April to August 2011)
- Nik Peachey (from November 2010)
- Nicky Hockly (September & October 2010)
- Julie Pratten (July & August 2010)
- Gill Johnson (April 2010)
- Chaz Pugliese (March 2010)
- Luke Meddings (August 2009)
- Lindsay Clandfield (July 2009)
- Duncan Foord (June 2009)
- Scott Thornbury (May 2009)
The Developing Teacher
The Developing Teacher has been awarded the 2009 Duke of Edinburgh/ESU Award for Best Entry for Teachers. The Developing Teacher suggests that teachers themselves are the most powerful agents of change and development in their own professional career.
The Business English Teacher
From the multi-award-winning DELTA TEACHER DEVELOPMENT SERIES. The Business English Teacher is a book not only for teachers who are thinking of making a career move into the field of business English teaching but also for those who would like to increase their skills and develop their potential.
Culture in our Classrooms
Part of the Delta Teacher Development Series. Culture in our Classrooms acknowledges the role of culture in the English Language Teaching classroom and provides lesson content which is relevant, useful and engaging for students.
Part of the Delta Teacher Development Series. Being Creative takes you on a journey that reveals how all teachers have the potential to become creative. Whether you are experienced or new to the classroom, Being Creative allows your teaching to take flight.
Teaching Online is essential reading for any teacher interested in online teaching and course delivery. It deals comprehensively with both the tools and the techniques necessary for online language instruction.
The Company Words Keep
Part of the multi-award-winning Delta Teacher Development Series. The Company Words Keep is a practical and thought-provoking guide for language teachers, showing how the latest insights into “language chunks” can lead to learners acquiring natural and fluent English.
DIGITAL PLAY - 2012 ELTONS WINNER IN INNOVATION IN TEACHER RESOURCES! Digital Play is a pioneering book on the use of computer games in language teaching. Authors Kyle and Graham are experts in teaching with technology and training teachers in innovative classroom practice.
The Book of Pronunciation
Part of the multi-award-winning Delta Teacher Development Series. The Book of Pronunciation is a definitive account of the key role pronunciation plays in teaching and learning, providing a highly authoritative but hugely accessible overview of the essential elements of English pronunciation as well as a wide range of classroom practice.
Teaching Unplugged was awarded the British Council 2010 ELTons UK Award for Innovation. Teaching Unplugged is the first book to deal comprehensively with the approach in English Language Teaching known as Dogme ELT.
Sophie Rome on Financial Fridays with Julie Pratten – Stress Testing for Banks :
March 21, 2015 9:46 am
Arlington Ebune-Nakeli on Absolute Banking English :
We’re piloting a course in Banking...
March 10, 2015 5:24 pm
Ton Koenraad on Going Mobile :
Congrats Nicky and Gavin, This publication will undoubtedly...
February 15, 2015 10:47 pm
Sunil on Nicky Hockly introduces ‘Going Mobile’:
Informative video blurb. I...
February 12, 2015 1:31 pm
David Shaffer on Delta Professional Development Webinars :
Thank you. I’m glad I...
February 2, 2015 10:48 am
13 Nov 14
30 Oct 14
30 Oct 14
15 Oct 14
6 Oct 14
1 Oct 14
6 Aug 14
2 Jul 14
28 Apr 14
24 Apr 14
24 Apr 14
14 Apr 14
19 Mar 14
19 Mar 14
8 Mar 14