Ctu english majored students’ ability in using english collocations

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CAN THO UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EDUCATION ENGLISH DEPARTMENT *** CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations B.A Thesis Instructor: Le Xuan Mai, M.Ed Student: Nguyen Anh Thuy Student ID: 7062925 Class: NN0652A1 Course: 32  Can Tho, April, 2010 CAN THO UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF EDUCATION ENGLISH DEPARTMENT *** CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations B.A Thesis Instructor: Le Xuan Mai, M.Ed Student: Nguyen Anh Thuy Student ID: 7062925 Class: NN0652A1 Course: 32  Can Tho, April, 2010 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  During conducting this thesis, I have received much help and contribution from many people to whom I would like to express my deep gratitude. First and foremost, I would like to show my deep gratitude to my supervisor, Ms. Le Xuan Mai for providing me enthusiastic support, meticulous guidance and precious advice during the time that I was doing this thesis. I could not forget her enthusiasm to help me correct every part of the thesis and her care about my teaching practicum at high school. Second, my regards are respectively sent to all teachers of the English Department for their encouragement, guidance, especially Mr. Nguyen Thu Huong, who suggested me a useful topic of this thesis. Also, my sincere gratitude is sent to Mrs. Nguyen Thi Phuong Hong, Mr. Nguyen Thanh Duc, Mr Huynh Trung Tin, and Mr. Hong Lu Chi Toan. During the time I did my research, they supported me useful materials and advice. And I would like to acknowledge Mrs. Ngo Thi Trang Thao who gave me useful instructions on how to analyze the data using SPSS program. Third, I would like to thank 76 English majored students from course 33. I sincerely appreciate the helpful comments from my friends. Special thanks are for my roommates for their supports and encouragement during the time of my study. Last but not least, I want to warmly thank my parents for their patience while I was away from home. Without their loving support, my thesis would not have been completed. Instructor: Le Xuan Mai i Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations ABSTRACT This study examines the ability in using English Collocations of third year English majored students at CanTho University (CTU) when studying English as a foreign language. Investigating whether or not the misuse of English Collocations does exist, discovering and categorizing the common Collocational mistakes, and finding out factors influencing the use of English Collocations in the case of CTU English majored 3rd year students are the main objective of the study. A Collocation test comprising 28 items which was duplicated based on the test of Angkana Mongkolchai at Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok in Thailand, and a twenty-item questionnaire were used as research tools. The work presents some factors that have strong influences on the learners’ ability in using English Collocations. The problems related to teaching methods, learning strategies and the lack of awareness of the importance of Collocations were theoretically analyzed to lay a foundation on which data collection and analysis were based and focused. The results of this study revealed that the students’ knowledge of English Collocations is rather limited. Collocational mistakes found were presented and classified into seven patterns of Collocations as follow. The pattern verb and adverb was at the highest level (52.63%), followed by the pattern verb and noun (52.30%), the pattern adjective and noun (51.64%), especially the pattern adjective and preposition, and the pattern phrasal verbs were at the same level (50.33%); next, the pattern noun and noun (48.68%), and the pattern adverb and adjective were at lowest level (44.08%). Also, from the analysis of data, teaching is the main factor that affects student’s ability in using English Collocations. Together with the findings this study may be of help for teachers and learners to choose good ways to teach and learn Collocations effectively. Instructor: Le Xuan Mai ii Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations TÓM LƯỢC Bài nghiên cứu này nhằm khảo sát khả năng sử dụng Collocations (sự sắp xếp từ theo thứ tự) của sinh viên chuyên ngành tiếng anh năm ba, trường đại học Cần Thơ. Mục đích nghiên cứu chính của đề tài này là nghiên cứu xem liệu có tồn tại việc sử dụng sai Collcations, tìm ra và phân loại những lỗi Collocations phổ biến, cũng như chỉ ra những nhân tố ảnh hưởng đến khả năng sử dụng Collocations của sinh viên. Bài kiểm tra gồm 28 câu được phỏng theo nghiên cứu của Angkana Mongkolchai ở trường Đại học Srinakharinwirot, Bangkok Thái Lan, và bảng câu hỏi 20 câu về Collocations được sử dụng như công cụ nghiên cứu. Nghiên cứu trình bày một số nhân tố ảnh hưởng đến khả năng sử dụng Collocations. Những vấn đề liên quan đến phương pháp giảng dạy, học tập và sự thiếu nhận thức về tầm quan trọng của Collocations đã được phân tích trên cơ sở lý thuyết để làm nền tảng cho việc thu thập và phân tích số liệu. Kết quả nghiên cứu cho thấy rằng kiến thức về Collocations của sinh viên còn khá hạn chế. Những lỗi thường gặp về Collocations được phân theo 7 kiểu Collocations. Kiểu động từ - trạng từ đạt mức cao nhất (52.63%), kiểu động từ - danh từ (52.30%), kiểu tính từ - danh từ (51.64%), đặc biệt kiểu tính từ - giới từ và kiểu cụm động từ có cùng mức độ (50.33%); tiếp đến, kiểu danh từ - danh từ (48.68%), và kiểu trạng từ tính từ ở mức thấp nhất (44.08%). Cũng từ kết quả phân tích số liệu ta nhận thấy rằng việc giảng dạy là một nhân tố chính ảnh hưởng đến khả năng sử dụng Collocations của sinh viên. Kết quả nghiên cứu tìm được sẽ giúp ích cho người dạy cũng như người học trong viêc lựa chọn phương cách dạy và học Collocations sao cho hiệu quả. Instructor: Le Xuan Mai iii Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations TABLE OF CONTENTS Acknowledgements ......................................................................................................... i Abstract (English version) ............................................................................................. ii Abstract (Vietnamese version) ...................................................................................... iii Table of contents ........................................................................................................... iv List of tables .................................................................................................................. vi List of figures ................................................................................................................ vi Chapter 1: Introduction .............................................................................................. 1 1.1. Rationale ............................................................................................................ 1 1.2. Research aims .................................................................................................... 1 1.3. Research questions ............................................................................................ 1 1.4. Organization ...................................................................................................... 2 Chapter 2: Literature Review ..................................................................................... 3 A. Related Literature…………………………………………………………………...3 2.1. Definitions of Collocations ............................................................................... 3 2.2. Classification of Collocations ........................................................................... 5 2.3. Teaching of Collocations .................................................................................. 7 2.3.1. How to teach Collocations ......................................................................... 7 2.3.2. Encouraging Students to be aware of Collocations ................................... 8 2.3.3. Learners’ Problems about Collocations ..................................................... 8 2.3.4. Factors influencing performance in Collocations ...................................... 9 B. RelatedStudies ........................................................................................................ 10 Chapter 3: Research Methodology ........................................................................... 12 3.1. Research design ............................................................................................... 12 3.2. Participants ..................................................................................................... 12 3.3. Research instruments ...................................................................................... 12 3.3.1. Test ........................................................................................................ 13 3.3.2. Questionnaire .......................................................................................... 13 3.4. Procedures ....................................................................................................... 14 3.4.1. Collecting Collocation tests .................................................................... 15 3.4.2. Collecting questionnaires ........................................................................ 15 Chapter 4: Results ...................................................................................................... 16 4.1. Collocation Test Analysis ............................................................................... 16 4.2. Questionnaire Analysis ................................................................................... 21 Instructor: Le Xuan Mai iv Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations Chapter 5: Discussions and conclusions, limitations, pedagogical implications and suggestions for further research ...................................................................... 26 5.1. Pedagogical implications ................................................................................. 26 5.2. Limitations ....................................................................................................... 26 5.3 Suggestions for further research ....................................................................... 27 5.4 Discussions and Conclusions ............................................................................ 27 References .................................................................................................................... 29 Appendices ................................................................................................................... 30 Appendix 1 ........................................................................................................ 31 Appendix 2 ........................................................................................................ 33 Instructor: Le Xuan Mai v Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations LIST OF TABLES Table Page Table 3.3.1: Clusters of the questionnaire ................................................................. 14 Table 4.1.1: The minimum, maximum, mean and standard deviation of the test scores ............................................................................................................................ 16 Table 4.1.2: Clusters of the Collocation test................................................................ 17 Table 4.1.4: Frequency of Test Scores ........................................................................ 18 Table 4.1.5: Classification of Average Score .............................................................. 19 Table 4.1.6: Classification of the informants’ Collocation ability .............................. 20 Table 4.2.1: Reliability Coefficient of the questionnaire ............................................ 21 Table 4.2.2: Descriptive statistics of the Collocation questionnaire ........................... 21 Table 4.2.4: The mean scores of each cluster .............................................................. 22 LIST OF FIGURES Figure Figure 4.1.3: The mean scores and the standard deviation of using English Collocations among third students at CTU .................................................................. 17 Figure 4.2.3: The total mean of the Collocation questionnaires ................................ 22 Figure 4.2.5: The mean scores and the standard deviations of each cluster ............... 23 Instructor: Le Xuan Mai vi Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In this chapter, I would like to state the rationale, the research aims, research questions, and the hypotheses of this research. The organization of the thesis is also included afterwards. 1.1. Rationale Mastering English Collocations helps English Foreign Language (EFL) learners communicate efficiently and naturally in the target language. For example, if we want to invite someone to look at something, it’s natural to say “Take a look at this,” or “Have a look at this”, rather than say “Get a look at this.” Unfortunately, Collocations have not been paid an appropriate attention to in English as Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms. Learners seem to be uncomfortable when they use Collocations; they tend to avoid using them by switching to use a single verb. It seems to be a tendency that the EFL users tend to say “I haven’t decided yet” rather than say “I haven’t made up my mind yet”. This study will investigate how effectively English students at Can Tho University (CTU) can use Collocations. 1.2. Research aims Firstly, in this research, I want to investigate whether or not the misuse of English Collocations does exist in the case of CTU English majored third year students. The second purpose of the study is to discover and categorize the common Collocational mistakes the CTU English majored 3rd year students have made. Finally, carrying out this research, I also want to find out factors influencing the use of English Collocations of CTU English majored 3rd year students. 1.3. Research questions: In this study, the researcher attempts to answer the questions: (1) What are common mistakes that CTU third year English majors make when using English Collocations? (2) What are common factors influencing the students’ ability on using Collocations? Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 1 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations 1.4. Organization This thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter I is the introduction to the research. The rationale, the research aims, the research questions, the hypotheses, as well as the organization of the thesis are introduced in this section. A report of other researchers’ ideas and statements relating to the thesis will be showed in Chapter II, Literature Review. Chapter III, Research Methodology, presents the research design, participants, research instruments, and procedures of the study. The next part is Chapter IV, which is about the results or findings of the research. In this chapter, data collected from the instruments (a Collocation test, and a questionnaire for students) will be analyzed and synthesized. Finally, Chapter V will focus on pedagogical implications, limitations, suggestions for further research, discussions and conclusions. Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 2 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW In this chapter, the researcher would like to present some ideas, and insights of other researchers about the definitions of Collocations, classifications of Collocations, teaching of Collocations and factors influencing performance in Collocations through the studies they have done relating to the thesis. Also, related studies are provided as the second part of this chapter. A. Related Literature 2.1. Definitions of Collocations In order to understand more clearly about the term Collocation, we will have a look at this term in its origin. “The term Collocation has its origin from the Latin verb collocare which means to set in order/to arrange” (Martynska, 2004, p.2). Collocation has been variously defined within linguistics and language teaching:  “How words typically occur with one another” (Carter & McCarthy, 1988, p.32). For example, in English, promise goes with make, keep, or break, as in If I make a promise, I’ll keep it, but not with do or take.  “Collocation means a natural combination of words; it refers to the way English words are closely associated with each other” (O’Dell & McCarthy, 2008, p.4).  “The term Collocation is used to refer to a group of words that come together, either because they commonly occur together like take a chance, or because the meaning of the group is not obvious from the meaning of the parts, as with by the way or to take someone in ” (Nation, 2001, p.317).  “The co-occurrence of words which are statistically much more likely to appear together than random chance suggests” (Woolard, 2000, p.29).  According to the Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Student of English (2002), Collocation is a means of combing words in a language to produce natural-sounding speech and writing. There are two different ways to approach this issue: “frequency-based approach” and “phraseological approach”.  First, “frequency-based approach” indicates that a Collocation is considered the co-occurrence of words as a certain distance (Nesselhavf, 2004). In the paper Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 3 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations of Firth-A Synopsis of Linguistic Theory, he first defines Collocation as “the company words keep” (Firth, 1957, p.179). According to Hill (2002), Collocation is about the meaning of a word and about its relationship with other words. Besides, two “neo-Firthians” are Halliday, who is Firth’s student, and Sinclair, who has done pioneering work in corpus linguistics have been inspired by Firth’s ideas about the relationship between lexis and grammar. Halliday (1966) highlights that “Collocation is the co-occurrence of two words, independence of grammatical types and likely to take place over sentence boundaries” (Wang, 2005, p148). Likewise, Collocations have been defined by Sinclair as “the occurrence of two or more words within a short space of each other in a text” (Sinclair, 1991, p.170). For Nesselhauf (2003), one of researchers chasing the “frequency-based approach” states Collocations as “cooccurrence of all frequencies” and “a relationship between lexemes”. Consequently, the “frequency-based approach” can be related to the fields of Corpus Linguistics and Computational Linguistics (Gyllstad, 2007).  Second, “phraseological approach” states that Collocations are seen as a type of word combination (Nesselhauf, 2004). Based on the viewpoint of Gyllstad (2007), Russian phraseology influenced this approach strongly, and this can be related to the fields of Lexicography and Language Pedagogy. Cowie and Howarth are major representatives for this approach. Cowie (1981, as cited in Nesselhauf, 2004) considered Collocations a type of word combination which is an abstract combination in actual texts. Also, Lewis (1997), who is another important representative on this side, indicates in his Implenting the Lexical Approach, that Collocations are those combinations of words which occur naturally with greater than random frequency. Although Collocations co-occur, not all words which co-occur are Collocation To sum up, as Woolard (2000) declares, there is the overlap in the number of definitions of Collocations. Similarly, according to Nesselhauf (2004), the mixed use of the term “Collocations” in both the sense of the “frequency-based approach” and the “phraseological approach” was often found in the same research. Among various definitions of Collocations, I appreciate the viewpoint of O’Dell and McCarthy (2008): Collocations as a natural combination of words which mention the way English words are closely associated with each other. This definition belongs to “phraseological approach” which Collocations are seen as a type of word combination. For example, in English, pay and attention go together, as do commit Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 4 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations and crime; blond goes with hair and heavy with rain. For another example, promise goes with make, keep, or break, as in If I make a promise, I’ll keep it, but not with do or take. In my opinion, it is easy to understand or follow this definition because of its clarity and illustrating examples. 2.2. Classifications of Collocations In one research on Collocations, Mongkolchai (2008) concludes that although Collocations can be classified in many different ways, two frequent classifications found are (1) lexical and grammatical Collocations and (2) unique, strong, weak and medium-strength Collocations. For Benson and Ilson (1986), English Collocations are categorized into two major groups: grammatical and lexical Collocations. 1. Grammatical Collocations: Benson (1985) defines that grammatical Collocation are the ones in which an important word (usually content word) combines with a grammatical one. They consist of the main word (a noun, an adjective, a verb) plus a preposition or infinitive such as apathy towards (noun + preposition pattern), fond of (adjective + preposition pattern), in advance (preposition + noun pattern). 2. Lexical Collocations: Benson also states lexical Collocations are the ones in which two basically “equal” words co-occur with each other. They do not contain prepositions or infinitives but comprise only content words. In other words, they consist of various combinations of nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs. For examples, do a course (verb + noun pattern), traffic accident (noun + noun pattern), argue heatedly (verb + adverb pattern). According to Hill’s viewpoint (2000), there are four types of Collocations: unique, strong, weak and medium-strength Collocations. 1. Unique Collocations: These are fixed and cannot be replaced by any other words. That means they are so strong that they cannot be changed in any way such as to and fro or foot the bill. “The meaning of some fixed Collocations cannot be guessed from the individual words. These Collocations are called idioms” (O’Dell & McCarthy, 2008, p.8). 2. Strong Collocations: These Collocations are strong or very strong but not unique. Usually, strong Collocations have few other possible collocates. For example, moved to tears or reduced to tears. “A strong Collocation is one in Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 5 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations which the words are very closely associated with each other. For example, the adjective mitigating almost always collocates with circumstances or factors. It rarely collocates with any other word” (O’Dell & McCarthy, 2008, p8). 3. Weak Collocations: they consist of a number of word co-occurrences and can be easily guessed, such as a white shirt, a red shirt, a green shirt, a long shirt, a small shirt, etc. “Weak Collocation are made up of words that collocate with a wide range of other words” (O’Dell & McCarthy, 2008, p8). 4. Medium- strength Collocations: These Collocations are of the same meaning as suggested by Lewis (2000). They can sometimes be weak Collocations such as to hold a conversation and to make a mistake. In normal circumstances, learners have already realized each individual word such as to make and a mistake but they can be used as a single item or as a Collocation. Similarly, Lewis (2000) classifies Collocations as follows. 1. Strong Collocations: these refer to Collocations that have a very limited number of collocates. Most collocates are fixed, for example, rancid butter or rancid oil. 2. Weak Collocations: these refer to Collocations that have a wide variety of collocates; for example, many things can be long or short, cheap or expensive, good or bad. 3. Medium-strength Collocations: these are words that always go together more frequently than weak Collocations. Some examples are hold a meeting, carry out a study, etc. There are seven Collocation patterns as these following examples: Patterns Examples 1) adjective + noun great reputation 2) noun + noun traffic accident 3) verb + adverb smile broadly 4) verb + noun do homework 5) adjective + preposition pleased with 6) adverb + adjective perfectly happy 7) phrasal verbs pass away Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 6 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations 2.3. Teaching of Collocations 2.3.1. How to Teach Collocations Wei (1999) highlights some interesting points about how to teach Collocations The overwhelming number of Collocations: According to some rough estimates, there are ten thousands of Collocations. For example, in Collins COBUILD English words in use, more than 100,000 Collocations are given. Also, there are more than 70,000 Collocations listed under about 14,000 entries in the BBI Combinatory Dictionary of English (Bahns, 1998). Obviously, Collocations are too numerous for all of them to be taught in the classrooms. Focus needs to be placed on building students’ consciousness of how words work in combination with one another so that they can continue developing their Collocational competence after they leave the ESL classes. Clear and explicit presentation should be used to provide guidance in building students’ awareness of the importance of Collocations. Selection of words and Collocations: In deciding what to teach, it is important to consider the frequency of words, and in selecting words, a useful source is The Educator’s Frequency Guide (1995), the comprehensive word frequency study that has ever been done. In teaching advanced ESL/EFL students to use English Collocations, the teachers use the frequency guide to select some words that are common but may be problematic for students. After selecting the words, it may also be necessary to select meanings. For instance, the word manage, with the meaning succeed in has much higher occurrence than the meaning be in charge of. The two have their own distinct Collocations: the former most frequently occurs in the structure manage to do something; the latter usually collocates with a noun that refers to business such as a shop, a company, a restaurant, etc. In this case, learner’s dictionaries are excellent sources of commonly used Collocations. Techniques, activities, and exercises can be used in teaching Collocations. Actually, there are many useful ways to approach learners. The most useful ones are interactive and presenting challenges to students. Besides, the good exercises should be designed to reinforce learning. Moreover, the activities need to be interactive and studentcentered to encourage students’ initiative and maximize feedback such as peer correction, sentence making by individual or group work. Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 7 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations 2.3.2. Encouraging Students to be Aware of Collocations Collocational knowledge is an essential part of language acquisition. “A central element of language teaching is raising students’ awareness of, and developing their ability to chunk language successfully” (Lewis, 1993, p6). Likewise, Ellis claims, “The acquisition can be hastened as a result of explicit instruction or consciousness-raising” (Ellis, 1997, p133). Besides, Hatch and Brown in “Vocabulary, Semantics and Language Education” emphasize that the awareness of the importance of what people has a great contribution to their success. In addition, EFL learners often fail to express their thoughts because they are unaware of the important Collocations of a key word that is central to their writing or utterance (Hill, 2000). Therefore, the learners’ awareness of the importance of Collocation is also required in learning Collocation process. Students who meet words initially with their common collocates, use them more naturally and pronounce them better, so teachers should raise learner’ awareness of Collocations as early as possible. 2.3.3 Learners’ Problems about Collocations Deveci (2004) figures out some common learners’ problems about English Collocations: 1. Have interlingual problems. For example, instead of making mistakes, learners may misuse doing mistakes. 2. Make negative transfer from their mother tongue. For example, some Vietnamese learners tend to use strong rain instead of heavy rain. 3. Look for general rules for Collocations that do not work for all Collocations. For example, learners believe that the opposite of put on your coat is put off your coat. 4. Decrease ability to use and remember appropriate Collocations when learning words through definitions. 5. Fail to make sense of an idiom because of cultural differences. 6. Not identify Collocations as meaningful phrases when reading texts. Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 8 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations 2.3.4. Factors Influencing Performance in Collocations There are many factors influencing the use of English Collocations, but the researcher only states three main factors: teaching, learning strategies, and students’ awareness about the importance of Collocations. Teaching: Collocation is arbitrary and unpredictable (Lewis, 1997). For example, it is correct to say “to make the bed” but not “to do the bed”; “to turn on” but not” to open the light”, etc. Obviously, it is hard for EFL learners to cope with and to produce Collocations effectively if Collocations are not focused on and practiced. Hill states that “Collocation should play an important part in our teaching from lesson one” (Hill, 2000, p.60). Hence, EFL teachers should observe Collocational errors of students. When a teacher teaches new vocabulary, s/he might realize the necessity to introduce a chunk, not a single word, so as to let learners register from the very beginning the word being taught and its word partner/s (Conzett, 2000). For example, if a teacher wishes to teach the word “homework”, s/he should introduce “to do homework” as a chunk instead of letting students register in their memory only the single word, homework. As a result, it is possible that students may be confused whether a collocate of homework is to do or to make. Therefore, English teachers should remind students of the correct use of Collocations and suggest the ways to students to learn Collocations efficiently such as encouraging learners to look for certain Collocations in a dictionary in order to draw learners’ attention to Collocations or encouraging learners to guess the meaning of an unknown word from the context and suggest that they look up difficult words and pay attention to the examples provided in a dictionary. Learning strategies: There are some researchers paying attention to Collocation learning strategies such as Ahmed (1980), who conducts a research on vocabulary learning strategies that learners apply. He figures out that successful learners are more aware of what they could learn about new words, and become more conscious of textual learning. They also pay more attention to Collocations in the context. In contrast, less successful learners are so passive in learning. Additionally, Schoutenvan Parrern (1989) finds that the less successful students tend to neglect the context. Moreover, contextual learning, dictionary and note-taking strategies also contribute to their Collocation learning results. Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 9 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations Students’ Awareness about the Importance of Collocations: Students who meet words initially with their common collocates use them far more naturally and pronounce them better. Hatch and Brown (1995) in “Vocabulary, Semantics and Language Education” believe that the awareness of the importance of what people do has a great contribution to their success. Also, learning Collocations requires the learners’ awareness of the importance of Collocation. Especially, it is more necessary when learners study English at a high level because Collocations can help learners communicate more effectively. As the result, teachers should emphasize the importance of Collocations when teaching them. B. Related Studies In Huang’s study (2001), he investigated Taiwanese EFL students’ knowledge of English Collocations and the Collocational errors they made. The subjects were 60 students from a college in Taiwan. The research instrument was a self-designed Simple Completion Test that measured the subjects’ knowledge of four types of lexical Collocations: free combinations, restricted Collocations, figurative idioms, and pure idioms. The results indicated that, for the subjects, free combinations created the least amount of difficulty, whereas pure idioms were the most challenging. Additionally, they performed about equally well on restricted Collocations and figurative idioms. In general, the subjects’ deviant answers demonstrated their insufficient knowledge of English Collocations. It is concluded that EFL learners’ errors in Collocations can be attributed to negative L1 transfer. In the study Collocation problems in EFL Learning, Higuchi (1999) investigated the Collocational problems and devising exercises He conducted the research on his Japanese students whose age was from 18 to 20. After collecting thirty sets of short essays and personal letters, he realized that Collocation is a major problem in their performance. Meanwhile, he recognized that the teachers should train students in Collocation from the early stages because it is actually very difficult for the students at high-beginning level to tackle the exercises he devised and draw rules from the Cobuild Corpus data. He suggested the way to raise students’ consciousness of Collocation by taking up examples with Collocation problems from the students’ texts, discussing problems and devising exercises. Moreover, to conclude his paper, he notes that “EFL teachers, especially non-natives, should consult computer corpora such as the Cobuild Corpus data, unbiased perspectives of the real usage of English. Examining these data is difficult for high-beginning students, yet these activities Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 10 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations surely raise their consciousness about Collocation and lead them to gain naturalness in this area afterwards.” Mongkolchai (2008) was interested in investigating the level of Collocational ability of the third year English majors at Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok in Thailand. This study aimed to study the ability of the third year English majors at Srinakharinwirot University about English Collocations, studied the patterns of Collocation used by the students, and attempted plausible explanations for the students’ violations about English Collocations. The research instrument used to investigate the informants’ ability of English Collocations was a test of two parts: the first was in a sentence completion form and the second was in a multiple choice form. The analysis based on seven patterns of Collocation on the basis of Lewis (2000)’s strategy. The 56 item test was used as a research tool and it was conducted with 57 third-year English majors. The results showed that the students’ ability was fair with the mean of 52.32%. The findings revealed that the informants’ ability in using noun + noun Collocations was at the highest level (68.64%), followed by adjective + noun (67.32%), verb + noun (55.26%), adjective + preposition (51.10%), phrasal verb (46.05%), verb + adverb (41.67%) and adverb + adjective (36.18%) respectively, and the problems mostly resulted from the informants’ limited knowledge of Collocation, and their transfer of L1 to L2 Collocations. Plausible explanations were also attempted to account for the violations. In summary, in this section, the notion of Collocation is presented by providing an overview of the various definitions of Collocations and the way in which Collocations have been classified. In the next chapter, the research methodology will be presented. Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 11 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925 CTU English Majored Students’ Ability in Using English Collocations CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY In this chapter, I will present (1) the research design, (2) the participants, (3) the instruments, and (4) the procedures of the research in order to answer two research questions: (1) What are common mistakes that Cantho University (CTU) third year English majors make when using English Collocations? (2) What are common factors influencing the students’ ability on using Collocations? 3.1. Research design This research follows a descriptive design in which the ability in using English Collocations of English majored juniors is surveyed. Moreover, discovering, categorizing mistakes, and indicating factors influencing the use of English Collocations of CTU English majored 3rd year students are also focused. 3.2. Participants “ Collocation can probably be considered a more advanced type of word knowledge, and so may be best left to higher-level students who are enhancing and consolidating vocabulary that has already been partially learned” (Schmitt, 2000, p.86). That is the reason the researcher wants to choose 76 English majored students from course 33 who have had the input of Collocations. Almost these advanced students have learnt semantics in which a lot of Collocations are taught. Furthermore, all of them have studied the same English program in the university. In other words, third year students are supposed to be advanced students and acquire enough linguistic knowledge about Collocations, so they are suitable participants to my research. The participants’ ages are not much different, commonly from 20 to 21. 3.3. Research instruments In this study, a Collocation test and a questionnaire are employed as two kinds of instruments. Instructor: Le Xuan Mai 12 Nguyen Anh Thuy - 7062925
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