Towards a learner need-oriented second language collocation writing assistant

Written by
Language: English

© 2015 Margarita Alonso Ramos, Roberto Carlini, Joan Codina-Filbà, Ana Orol, Orsolya Vincze, Leo Wanner.

Crossref Similarity Check logo


The importance of collocations, i.e. idiosyncratic binary word co-occurrences in the context of second language learning has been repeatedly emphasized by scholars working in the field. Some went even so far as to argue that “vocabulary learning is collocation learning” (Hausmann, 1984, p. 395). Empirical studies confirm this argumentation. They show that the “collocation density” in learner corpora is nearly the same as in native corpora, i.e. that the use of collocations by learners is as common as it is by native speakers. At the same time, they also find that the collocation error rate in learner corpora is about 32% (compared to about 3% by native speakers). A CALL-based collocation writing aid could help learners to better master collocations. However, surprisingly little work has been done so far on collocation learning assistants. We propose a collocation writing assistant for American English learners of Spanish which may be used as checker of both isolated collocations and collocations in texts. In addition, it offers the possibility to actively explore and administer collocation resources.

Keywords: second language learning, writing assistant, collocations, miscollocation correction.


Alonso Ramos, M., Nishikawa, A., & Vincze, O. (2010). DiCE in the web: an online Spanish collocation dictionary. In S. Granger & M. Paquot (Eds.), eLexicograpy in the 21st century: new challenges, new applications. Proceedings of eLex 2009, Cahiers du Cental 7 (pp. 369-374). Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain.

Carlini, R., Codina-Filbà, J., & Wanner, L. (2014). Improving collocation correction by ranking suggestions using linguistic knowledge. Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on NLP for computer-assisted language learning, Uppsala, Sweden.

Carlini, R., Codina-Filbà, J., & Wanner, L. (2015). Improving the use of electronic collocation resources by visual analytics techniques. Proceedings of the eLex 2015 Conference. Herstmonceux Castle.

Cowie, A. (1994). Phraseology. In R. Asher & J. Simpson (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of language and linguistics, Vol. 6 (pp. 3168-3171). Oxford: Pergamon.

Firth, J. (1957). Modes of meaning. In J. Firth (Ed.), Papers in linguistics, 1934–1951 (pp. 190-215). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Granger, S. (1998). Prefabricated patterns in advanced EFL writing: collocations and formulae. In A. Cowie (Ed.), Phraseology: theory, analysis and applications (pp. 145-160). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Halliday, M. A. K. (1961). Categories of the theory of grammar. Word, 17, 241-292.

Hausmann, F.-J. (1984). Wortschatzlernen ist Kollokationslernen. Zum Lehren und Lernen französischer Wortwendungen. Praxis des neusprachlichen Unterrichts, 31(1), 395-406.

Lewis, M. (2000). Teaching collocation. Further developments in the lexical approach. London: LTP.

Mel’čuk, I. (1995). Phrasemes in language and phraseology in linguistics. In M. Everaert, E.-J. van der Linden, A. Schenk, & R. Schreuder (Eds.), Idioms: structural and psychological perspectives (pp. 167-232). Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Mel’cuk, I. A., & Wanner, L. (1996). Lexical functions and lexical inheritance for emotion lexemes in German. In L. Wanner (Ed.), Lexical functions in lexicography and natural language processing (pp. 209-278). Amsterdam: Benjamins Academic Publishers.

Nesselhauf, N. (2005). Collocations in a learner corpus. Amsterdam: Benjamins Academic Publishers. doi:10.1075/scl.14

Orol, A., & Alonso Ramos, M. (2013). A comparative study of collocations in a native corpus and a learner corpus of Spanish. Procedia–Social and Behavioural Sciences, 96, 563-570.

How to cite

Citation is provided in standard text format below. For full citation export options, click Export citation.

Alonso Ramos, Margarita; Carlini, Roberto; Codina-Filbà, Joan; Orol, Ana; Vincze, Orsolya; Wanner, Leo. (2015). Towards a learner need-oriented second language collocation writing assistant. In Francesca Helm, Linda Bradley, Marta Guarda, Sylvie Thouësny (Eds), Critical CALL – Proceedings of the 2015 EUROCALL Conference, Padova, Italy (pp. 16-23).

Request permissions

This article is published under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives International 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Under this licence, the contents are freely available online (as PDF files) for anybody to read, download, copy, and redistribute provided that the AUTHOR(s), EDITORIAL TEAM and PUBLISHER are properly cited. Commercial use and derivative works are, however, not permitted.

Permission is not required for the republication of tables, figures or illustrations, as long as they are reproduced accurately and the source material is fully cited. It may be the case that the licence does not give you all of the permissions necessary for your intended use. If this is your current situation, please do feel free to ask the copyright holders, i.e. the authors; email addresses are listed on individual papers.