Analysis of collocations in the Iranian postgraduate students’ writings

Firooz Namvar, Nor Fariza Mohd Nor, Noraini Ibrahim, Jamilah Mustafa


It is widely acknowledged that collocations play an important role in second language learning, particularly at the intermediate and advanced levels. This study intended to explore the influence of first language (L1) and the cultural background of learners on the production of collocations. Thirty Iranian postgraduate students participated in this study and their academic writings were analyzed to determine the collocations they produced and to identify the basis for their difficulties in producing collocations. A focus group interview was used to determine the influence of L1 and cultural background of the learners on the production of collocations. The results showed that learners have difficulties with both lexical and grammatical collocations in their writing. First language influence appeared to have a strong effect on the learners’ production of collocation. In addition, as language and culture are not separable, the cultural difference between the first language and target language caused students to come up with odd and unacceptable lexical collocations from the perspective of native speakers. The results indicated that learners are often not aware of the collocations and are not able to control their collocation production.

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