A Study of Turkish L1 Students English Verb Collocations and Collocational Errors

Author : Ali BIÇKI
Number of pages : 2718-2738


By their very nature, words in any given language have particular preferences of co-use a.k.a collocations. These collocations are identified with specialised natural language processing programs often with Mutual Information, Log Likelihood and t-score statistics. It is crucial that language learners use these collocations appropriately in order avoid misunderstanding and effective communication. Thus, the focus of this paper is to analyse the errors commonly committed by English language learner with Turkish L1 background. This study employs Error Analysis and Learner corpus analysis methodology commonly accepted in applied linguistics and the data is presented accordingly. Learner errors in 177 selected texts incorporated in ICLE which have been collected from Çukurova University, ICLE – TR were analysed and pinpointed trough both with corpus analysis program Wordsmith 5.0 and by hand. These errors were collated into structural (Verb+NP, NP+Adj. etc.) semantic (Occurrence, Action, Existence etc.) and other categories beyond the scope of this study. The errors then were crosschecked trough COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English) and BNC (British National Corpus) and collocation dictionaries. The most prevalent group of errors were that of Verb+NP combinations and they were quite simplistic errors. While arguably those errors may attributed to personal differences or the proficiency level of the students this paper argues that those errors might perfectly natural given the difference in acquiring the “conceptual” structure of the Verb versus the Noun. The study finds that by the nature of their acquisition and semantic domains Occurrence and Existence Verbs are often mis-conceptualized and therefore prone to misuse and collocational errors.


Learner Corpus Analysis, Learner Error Analysis, Acquisition of Verbs, Collocational Errors

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