Collocation Errors Made by Arab Learners of English

| July 5, 2005
Collocation Errors Made by Arab Learners of English

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Dr Abdulmoneim Mahmoud
Systematic and in-depth analyses of EFL learners’ lexical errors in general and of collocation errors in particular are relatively rare. This study presents empirical data verifying the informal observations and theoretic assertions that EFL learners produce ‘unnatural’ word combinations. A total of 420 collocations were found in 42 essays written by Arabic-speaking university students majoring in English. About two thirds of these collocations (64%) were incorrect and 80% of these were lexical collocations as opposed to grammatical ones. Sixty one percent of the incorrect combinations could be due to negative transfer from Arabic. The fact that post-intermediate and advanced students of EFL have a relatively large stock of vocabulary might have motivated interlingual transfer in the belief that it would be easy to find the EFL equivalents of the Arabic lexical items. These findings suggest the necessity of direct teaching of collocations, inclusion of bilingual glossaries in the EFL course books, and designing bilingual collocation dictionaries.
[private] See pages: 117 -126

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Category: Monthly Editions, Volume 5