A Corpus-based study on collocations of keywords in English business articles about the European debt crisis

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A Corpus-based study on collocations of keywords in English business articles about the European debt crisis Đào Thị Ngọc Nguyên Trường Đại học Ngoại ngữ Luận văn Thạc sĩ ngành: English Linguistics; Mã số: 60 22 15 Người hướng dẫn: Ph.D. Phạm Thị Thanh Thùy Năm bảo vệ: 2012 Abstract. One of the most problematic areas when vocabulary is dealt with is collocation. It is often seen as arbitrary and overwhelming, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle to the attainment of native like fluency. This piece of work presents a study on collocations of keywords within a 20,000-word corpus of various English business articles about the European debt crisis 2011. The aim of the present study is to find out high-frequency words used within the corpus, and above all, to examine collocation patterns of keywords that distinguish the business genre of the selected texts. Concordance Program 3.3 is the main methods employed throughout the study for the data collection and analysis. The major findings of the research are a good number of striking collocation patterns some of the most recurrent keywords possess. The major findings drawn from the research is the basis for the recommendation of pedagogical implications and suggestions for raising students' consciousness of the English collocation acquisition. Keywords. Ngôn ngữ; Tiếng Anh; Từ vựng Content I.1.Statement of the problem and rationale of the study The importance of vocabulary in language learning has always and long been recognized, although there were times when vocabulary was treated as separated from grammar and skills. However, under the light of recent studies, vocabulary has even gained much more attention. Essential and crucial as it has become, vocabulary has been highlighted as the basis of language and communication. Wilkins, an outstanding British linguist, once stated "without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed". Obviously, a rich knowledge of vocabulary not only makes one's ability of using the language recognized and appreciated but also makes him or her be more successful in communication. However, no matter how convinced learners of English in principles of the importance of vocabulary, the vocabulary acquisition actually poses enormous difficulties to them. One of the most complicated problems arising when vocabulary is dealt with is how to combine and use words appropriately in accordance with culture or language conventions, which is often referred to as “collocation competence” (Hill,1999). Collocations are usually defined as words that typically occur in association with other words; in reality, they run through the whole of the English language and they are as old as the language itself. No piece of natural spoken and written English is totally free of collocations. Because of their widespread use, the role that collocations play in the language is absolutely undeniable. For learners of English in general, with collocation competence, they should have the ability to combine lexical (and grammatical) chunks in order to produce fluent, accurate, as well as semantically and stylistically appropriate utterances. For business English learners in particular, a good knowledge of collocation patterns in English is also of great importance. The most important characteristics of the language of business English, as opposed to the language of general English, are a sense of purpose, intercultural dimension and a need for clear, straightforward and concise communication (Ellis & Johnson, 1994). In order to achieve these broad objectives of business English learners, teachers have to find out the best ways to teach business performance skills such as socializing, telephoning, meeting, presentation, and report writing. In all these situations, collocation competence is significantly essential. With the rise of computing power as well as the acceptance of corpus linguistics since 1990s, collocations have received serious treatment. The dramatic rise in processing power of computers now makes it possible to quickly compose lists of frequency for lexical items in a large corpus. At the same time, there have been a large number of different software programs installed for keywords and collocations extract from corpus data. Such software packages have made easier access to the investigation into typical lexical items and their collocations of any particular text genres. With the writer’s personal interest in collocations as a researcher and observations of students’ tough experience in dealing with collocations in business discourse as a tutor of business learners, this thesis provides a comprehensive research on collocations of keywords in a variety of business articles written about a currently hot topic for business learners, the European debt crisis. The thesis, therefore, is carried out in the hope that it may be of some help to business learners of English as well as those who find themselves interested in English semantics and collocation-related issues. I.2. Aims of the study The aim of this research is to conduct a close investigation into collocations of keywords from a corpus of a certain number of business articles written about the European debt crisis. To be specific, it identifies words with high frequency of occurrence within the chosen corpus and examines their collocations. The research, therefore, is carried out to answer the following research questions:  What are the top high-frequency words in the corpus of written articles about the European debt crisis?  What are significant patterns and features of collocations of such keywords? I.3.Scope of the study This study is about to discuss keywords and their collocations in 15 written articles about the European debt crisis. The designed corpus of over 20,000 words is taken from online business articles from websites of high reputation such as The Washington Post, Money CNN, ….Keywords chosen for analysis of significant patterns of collocation within the study are those which can distinguish the business genre of the selected articles. I.4. Structure of the thesis The study is organized as follows:  Chapter I-Introduction- is firstly introduced, briefly stating the rationale, aims, scope and organization of the study.  Secondly, chapter II-Theoretical Background- deals with the theories setting the background for the study.  Thirdly, chapter III- Research Methodology- is a presentation on the methodology of the research, referring to the research design, data collection procedures and data analysis procedures of the study.  Next, on chapter IV-Results and Discussion-, a detailed discussion of collocations keywords in the selected corpus is carried out, through which some interesting aspects can be revealed.  In chapter V-Conclusion- major findings of the study and pedagogical implications and suggestions are presented. References Berber Sardinha, T. (1999).Using Keywords in Text Analysis: Practical Aspects Biber, D. (1998). Corpus Linguitics : Investigating Language Structure and Use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bowker, L. & Pearson, J. (2002).Working with Specialized Language: A Practical Guide to Using Corpora.New York: Routledge. Chitra, Fernando. (1996). Idiom and Idiomacity.Oxford University Press. Ellis, M. & Johnson, C. (1994). Teaching Business English. Oxford: Oxford University Press Gains, Ruth & Redman, Stuart. (1986). Working with Words: A Guide toTteaching and Learning Vocabulary. Cambridge University Press. Goddard, Cliff. (1996). Semantic Analysis- a Practical Introduction.Oxford University Press. Halliday, M.A.K. (1966). Lexis as a Linguistic Level.Longman. Halliday, M.A.K. (1994). An Introduction to Functional Grammar. Arnold. Hill, J. (1999). Collocational competence. English Teaching Professional, 11, (pp.3-6) Hoa, Nguyen. (2004). Understanding English Semantics.NXBDHQGHN. Kearns, Kate. (2000). Semantics. Mac Millian Press Ltd. Kjellmer, G. (1987). "Aspects of English Collocations", in Meijs, W. (ed) Corpus Linguitics and Beyond. 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"Linguistic 'going on'.Collocations and other lexical matters arising on the syntagmatic record", in ArchivumLinguisticum, Vol. II. Scott, M. (2009).WordSmith Tools 5.0.Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sinclair, J.M. (1966). Beginning the Study of Lexis. Longman. Sinclair, J.M (1997) Corpus, concordance, collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Dictionnaires Procter, P. et al. (1996). Cambridge International Dictionary of English. Cambridge University Press. Rideout, P.M. et al. (1996). The Newbury House Dictionary of American English.Heinle and Heinle. Runcie, Moira (2002). Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Students of English.Oxford University Press. Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary 2011. Oxford University Press. Oxford Business English Dictionary 2005.Oxford University Press Collins English Dictionary.Complete and Unabridged. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.Longman University Press. MacMillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners. Mac Millian Press Ltd. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary Web documents and sites Amelia Maria Cava. (2011). A corpus-based approach to research article abstracts.Retrieved from http://www.ijls.net/volumes/volume5issue3/cava1.pdf Brett Edward Laybutt. (2009). Collocations and textual cohesion: A comparative corpus study between a genre of Written Sports Reports and a large reference corpus. Retrieved from http://asian-efl-journal.com/thesis/2011/03/09/ Gabrielatos, Constantinos. (1994). Collocations: Pedagogical implications, and their treatment in pedagogical materials. Retrieved from http://www.gabrielatos.com/Collocation John Flowerdew. Concordance in Language Learning.Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/ . the study The aim of this research is to conduct a close investigation into collocations of keywords from a corpus of a certain number of business articles written about the European debt crisis. . corpus data. Such software packages have made easier access to the investigation into typical lexical items and their collocations of any particular text genres. With the writer’s personal interest. comprehensive research on collocations of keywords in a variety of business articles written about a currently hot topic for business learners, the European debt crisis. The thesis, therefore, is carried
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