Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Word Collocations






Word Collocations

How many English words are there?  Nobody knows. Who can enumerate them all? Nobody can.

Another ineffective but widely-accepted  practice? Memorizing words in isolation.


It's good to memorize words. Of course. BUT, memorizing words in isolation has created another problem for English learners. They sometimes misuse those words.

When memorizing a new word, that word has to be used in a sentence within a paragraph, a text, or a short story. This helps the student  develop his ability in using context clues. Knowing word collocations is very important. 

When students memorize only words and their synonyms, they tend to  misuse the words. For example, one synonym of the word payment  is honorarium.We can say payment for the engineer's services, payment or wage for the house helper, but it's not good to say honorarium for the helper. The word trade is given as a synonym for exchange, but we don't trade email addresses, we simply exchange email addresses. Dispel means get rid of, but we don't dispel the garbage, we simply get rid of it, or throw it away.

Also, there are a lot of words that are spelled and sometimes pronounced the same but their meanings are entirely different. When we read the sentence "They are enjoying their lives", we know automatically  that the word "lives" in the sentence is the plural of life and the letter i has to be pronounced  the same way we pronounce the letter i in the word  night. But, if we see the sentence "She lives in Nagoya", we know that the  word "lives" functions as a verb and the letter i is pronounced with a short sound, similar to "gives". A student who is well-trained in using English doesn't get confused with words like these.

That  is why here at ACE WORLD we don't encourage students to memorize words in isolation. Instead, we train them how to use context clues.



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