The Influence of Features of Collocations on the Collocational Knowledge and Development of Kurdish High School Students: A Longitudinal Study
Ramadhan, Jamal Mohammad
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
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This study explored the influence of four features of collocations- frequency of occurrence, syntactic structure, semantic transparency, and congruency with L1- on the collocational knowledge and development of 252 Kurdish high school learners of English as a foreign language. The importance of collocations in learning English as a second or foreign language and the difficulties that challenge learners at different levels of language proficiency have been well established. However, few studies have adopted a longitudinal research design or a hybrid definition of collocations, incorporating both frequency-based and phraseological views. The present study took this approach to explore learners’ collocational knowledge and development and the influence of features of collocations on their collocational knowledge and development at the high school level of learning English as a foreign language. The study employed two tests: an appropriateness judgement test to measure learners’ receptive knowledge and a gap-filling test to measure their productive knowledge of collocations. The data were collected in two waves, one at the beginning of their school year and the other at the end. Data analyses were conducted to determine the relationship between features of collocations and learners’ collocational knowledge and development. The results revealed frequency of occurrence as the most influential factor affecting learners’ knowledge and development. Influence of the syntactic structure of collocations on the learners’ knowledge and development came second whereas congruency with L1 occupied the third position. Semantic transparency seemed to have the least influence on their collocational knowledge and development. Gender appeared as an influential factor in the individual tests. However, its influence was not significant in terms of overall knowledge development. In general, the results indicated that learners’ productive collocational knowledge lagged behind their receptive. However, receptive and productive collocational knowledge did not increase at the same rate over the study period. While learners’ receptive collocational knowledge did not show an increase in knowledge, their productive knowledge increased significantly over the school year. The results also revealed that grammatical collocations were less challenging than lexical collocations at this level of language learning. Finally, according to the study results, some pedagogical implications and suggestions for further studies are presented.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)
PhD in Education
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