Role of Collocation in Lexical Behavior of Foreign Language Learners: A Corpus-based Study of Pakistani English Learners.
“Speaking natively is speaking idiomatically using frequent and familiar collocation” (Ellis, 2005: p.128). Collocation is the best tool in describing lexical and grammatical behavior in language learning and it has gained currency in the recent years (Lu, 2016). In Pakistan, there is a lack of research work, done at collocational level, which may highlight the language behavior of Pakistani learners towards the acquisition of foreign language. The present study seeks to contribute an effort by exploring the lexical behavior of Pakistani English language learners, particularly, their usage of word combination in academic writing. Two corpora: one comprising of 100 argumentative essays composed by Pakistani Graduate university students (from ICNALE) and other 100 argumentative essays composed by native speakers extracted from LOCNESS corpus are compiled. The both corpora are annotated by PoS tagger for the comparison of frequency of lexical patterns (Benson et al, 2005) through Antconc N-gram tool. For qualitative analysis model for levels of Co-occurrence restrictions propounded by Sinclair (1991) and Allerton (1984) has been followed. Online Oxford collocations Dictionary has been used as a reference source for identification of collocations The results shows that Pakistani language learners often fail to choose the correct combination of two words due to their unawareness of collocational properties in vocabulary. Their choice of collocation lacks the variety and density in comparison with the native learners. The findings have also pedagogical implications for language learners, teachers and stakeholders regarding the importance of collocational knowledge in SLA.