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A micro-analysis of collocation in the interlanguage of Pakistani adults learning English as a second language Mian, A. Hafeez


A micro-analysis of the interlanguage (IL) employed by Pakistanis learning English as a second language (ESL) is performed on ten subjects' speech samples in order to gain insights into their second language acquisition. Only one aspect of ESL — collocation is studied. Collocation is idiomatic in nature and has single-lexemic function; it is assumed therefore to present some acquisitive and productive difficulties for second language learners, who would tend to fail to recognize collocations as "fixed" expressions and to view each word within them as independent and therefore replaceable. The objective of this study is to analyze the conversational collocation errors that Pakistani-Canadians make in ESL. This study addresses the following three hypotheses: 1) that in the English variation in collocation across discourse domains; speech of Pakistani subjects correctness will be found 2) that a continuum will be found for this variation, running between more Target-like collocations in the Work Talk Domain / Exposition Activity and fewer Target-like collocations in the Life Story Domain / Narrative Activity; 3) that formally educated subjects will show more Target-like use of collocations than informally educated subjects. The results of this study show that there exists an IL in Pakistani-Canadians' use of the English language. The IL of Pakistani-Canadians' English seems to indicate that: 1) IL collocations are domain specific; 2) Non-target-like collocations occur most often when referring to quantification; in T-unit initial position; and adjacent to parallel contextual and/or structural forms; and they often contain article ellipsis; 3) In addition, this study shows that formally educated subjects produce more Target-like collocations than informally educated subjects. Furthermore, this study has generated some questions and highlighted areas that merit further research.

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