Collocation and textual cohesion: A comparative corpus study between a genre of Written Sports Reports and a large reference corpus

| March 9, 2011
Title
Collocation and textual cohesion: A comparative corpus study between a genre of Written Sports Reports and a large reference corpus

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Author
Brett Edward Laybutt
The School of Humanities of the University of Birmingham

Abstract
One of the most problematic areas for foreign language learning is collocation. It is often seen as arbitrary and overwhelming, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to the attainment of nativelike fluency. The following study takes an approach suggested by recent corpus research by investigating the functional role of collocation for cohesion within a genre-specific corpus of written sports reports (WSR). Through a comparison with a large reference corpus, the study found that certain key collocations contributed to cohesion both within individual texts, or what will be termed `intratextual` cohesion, and also across texts within the genre, or `intertextual` cohesion. It was also found that many of these collocations are the result of underlying metaphors. The study suggests that, for foreign language learners, focusing on this functional role of collocation within genre may provide a more systematic and manageable technique for the study of collocation. It also goes on to suggest the need for a distinction between teaching genre , suitable for ESP or EAP classes, and genre teaching , which encourages learners to view language not as rule-generated but as a system of choice within differing stratum of text, context and genre.
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