Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Not just 'small potatoes': knowledge of the idiomatic meanings of collocations

Macis, Marijana; Schmitt, Norbert

Authors

Marijana Macis

Norbert Schmitt



Abstract

This study investigated learner knowledge of the figurative meanings of 30 collocations that can be both literal and figurative. One hundred and seven Chilean Spanish-speaking university students of English were asked to complete a meaning-recall collocation test in which the target items were embedded in non-defining sentences. Results showed limited collocation knowledge, with a mean score of 33% correct. The study also examined the effects of frequency, semantic transparency, year at university, and everyday engagement with the second language (L2) outside the classroom on this collocation knowledge. Mixed-effects modelling indicated that there was no relationship between frequency and semantic transparency and the knowledge of the figurative meanings. However, a positive relationship was found between this knowledge and year at university, time spent in an English-speaking country, and time spent reading.

Citation

Macis, M., & Schmitt, N. (2017). Not just 'small potatoes': knowledge of the idiomatic meanings of collocations. Language Teaching Research, 21(3), 321-340. doi:10.1177/1362168816645957

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 5, 2016
Online Publication Date May 10, 2016
Publication Date May 1, 2017
Deposit Date Nov 27, 2017
Print ISSN 1362-1688
Publisher SAGE Publications (UK and US)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 3
Pages 321-340
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168816645957
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1126816
Publisher URL https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1362168816645957