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Home Journal Index 2023-2

Relationship Between Collocational Competence and Collocation Learning Strategies in an English for Specific Purposes Context

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Mihaela Tabak

Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia


Višnja Pavičić Takač

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Osijek, Croatia



Development of L2 learner's collocational competence is among the most complex aspects of language acquisition. It is strongly influenced by external factors such as instruction, L2 language proficiency, L1 influence, as well as the psychological-affective ones such as motivation and language learning strategies. Collocation learning strategies (CLS), a subcategory of vocabulary learning strategies, can be defined as mental and physical actions learners consciously use to assist them in the specific task of learning collocations. The overall aim of this study was to examine the relationship between collocational competence and CLS in an English for specific purposes (ESP) context. ESP collocations are multi-word expressions containing at least one specialised term which is usually the node of collocation. CLS frequency use was measured by the CLS Questionnaire (Tabak, 2022). The collocation knowledge test included the following three parts: 1) receptive knowledge test, i.e., a combination of a fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice task, modelled after the COLLMATCH format (Gyllstad, 2007), 2) test of receptive-productive knowledge of whole collocations adapted from the CONTRIX format (Revier, 2009), and 3) productive knowledge test, i.e., an L1-L2 translation task. Multiple regression analysis revealed that CLS are not a significant predictor of receptive collocation knowledge. CLS referring to learning collocations in context emerged as a positive predictor, and organisational CLS as a negative predictor of receptive-productive and productive collocation knowledge. Also, CLS referring to discovery of collocation meaning by guessing negatively correlated with the translation test scores. The results point to the importance of teaching and learning collocations in context.



Collocation learning strategies, collocational competence, collocation testing, ESP