A Study of Collocation Behaviors on Lexical Pragmatics

| December 24, 2010
A Study of Collocation Behaviors on Lexical Pragmatics

Keywords: collocational behaviors, corpus analysis, lexical pragmatics, near-synonym

Ching-Ying Lee
National Taiwan Normal University & Kang Ning Junior College, Taiwan

Bio Data
Ching-Ying Lee currently is a doctoral student in the Department of English, National Taiwan Normal University. She is also an English lecturer at a vocational college of medical care and management. Most of her research interests are central to computer-assisted language learning and corpus-based approaches to EFL learning, in particular concerning lexical choices and writing. She has published many papers on Call-based EFL learning as well as corpus-assisted English writing.

Lexical pragmatics explores the meaning conveyed by a word underdetermined by its semantics, and the process of bridging the encoded and communicated meaning of words. Due to complication of word interpretations and pragmatic felicities, lexical pragmatics is considerably sophisticated. In other words, it examines the processes by which linguistically specified word meanings are modified in use (Blutner, 1998, p.115; Wilson & Carston, 2007, p.1560). The interaction between lexicon and pragmatics is often overlooked by most L2 learners because they rely on dictionaries and thesauri to provide denotational meaning of a lexical item which lack ample collocational information. The purpose of the study is to describe how collocational behaviors of near synonyms can be recognized from contextual usage data in corpora to improve L2 lexical learning. It also emphasizes that pragmatic misuse of near synonyms in the L2 context calls for more attention and treatment. The present study used computational techniques to identify target words which typically co-occur with a lexical item under investigation. Further, it generally expanded with software that elicited usage data within a corpus and matched it with statistical information for the purpose of analysis. The findings suggested that it could be beneficial for L2 learners to observe the collocates of near synonyms so that recognition of pragmatic characteristics help improve their lexical usage.

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 12 Issue 4