ERIC Number: EJ948919
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
English Learners' Knowledge of Prepositions: Collocational Knowledge or Knowledge Based on Meaning?
Mueller, Charles M.
System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics, v39 n4 p480-490 Dec 2011
Second language (L2) learners' successful performance in an L2 can be partly attributed to their knowledge of collocations. In some cases, this knowledge is accompanied by knowledge of the semantic and/or grammatical patterns that motivate the collocation. At other times, collocational knowledge may serve a compensatory role. To determine the extent to which second language learners' interlanguage relies on collocational knowledge in lieu of precise semantic knowledge, an experiment examined the performance of advanced adult English learners (N = 90) from Chinese, Korean, and Spanish L1 backgrounds on a fill-in-the-blanks test in which matched items targeted the same specific sense of a preposition but varied in word co-occurrence frequency, as determined through a corpus analysis. An ANOVA indicated that collocational frequencies of the phrase in which the preposition was embedded had a significant effect (p less than 0.001) on the performance of the learners. The study suggests that even fairly advanced NNSs use collocational knowledge when acquiring prepositions' noncentral senses. (Contains 1 figure and 4 tables.)
Descriptors: Semantics, Form Classes (Languages), Second Language Learning, English (Second Language), Knowledge Level, Phrase Structure, Grammar, Interlanguage, Adult Students, Asians, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Native Language, Language Tests, Computational Linguistics, Statistical Analysis
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
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