Use of collocations in freshman composition: Implications for L1 English and Arabic ESL writers

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Asian EFL Journal


© 2018 Asian E F L Journal Press. All rights reserved. The production of English collocations by Arab ESL writers is an under-researched area. To fill this gap, the current study explores Arab ESL writers’ use of adjective-noun (AN) collocations as compared to L1 English writers. In contrast to some previous corpus-based research, this study exercises several controls: type of writing assignments, prompts, and rubrics were the same for the ESL and English L1 groups. Findings of the study reveal that Arab ESL writers use collocations with a greater frequency; however, they tend to repeat the same collocations tokens and types. This is true for both the shared and non-shared collocations. Moreover, Arab ESL collocation use in context has been more often judged as ‘not appropriate’ and ‘somewhat appropriate’ by native English instructors. Teaching implications that include form focused instruction, specialized collocations lists, and online collocation resources are suggested as potential solutions to promote accurate collocation production in L2 writing.

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