Evaluating a new test of whole English collocations

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingContribution to book/anthologyResearch


The research reported in this chapter explores an alternative approach to the study of L2 collocation knowledge. This approach is characterized by four underlying assumptions. First, collocation knowledge can viewed as an independent construct. Second, collocations constitute lexical items in their own right and, as such, feature formal, semantic, and usage properties similar to those borne by single words. Third, the semantic properties of the constituent words that combine to form collocations are likely to play a role in EFL learners' ability to 'produce' English collocations. Forth, testing of L2 collocation knowledge needs to focus on the recognition and production of whole collocations. It is this set of assumptions that the new collocation test presented in this chapter is desined to probe. More specifically, the test is designed to assess L2 learners' productive knowledge of whole collocations of the verb-object-noun syntactic type (e.g. make a complaint). It is also designed to explore whether test takers' ability to generate targetd English word combinations is influenced by the semantic properties of such items.

The chapter consists of two parts. In the first part, I address a number of theoretical and practical issues informing the experimental study. Once I have desribed how collocations are defined and classified, I go on to explain how collocation knowledge is conceptualized and operationalized in the present research and how the collocation test was designed and developed. In the second half of the chapter, I present a description of the study before I report and interpret the results in terms of reliability and validity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearching collocations in another language : Multiple Interpretations
EditorsA Barfield, H Gyllstad
Number of pages14
Place of PublicationBasingstoke, England
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication date9 Oct 2009
ISBN (Print)9780230203488
ISBN (Electronic)9780230245327
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2009


  • language acquisition
  • language assessment
  • validation
  • quantitative method


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