An Investigation of High School EFL Learners’ Knowledge of English Collocations

Soraya Jeensuk, Apisak Sukying


Vocabulary knowledge is an important tool for second language learners. Specifically, in order to communicate effectively, learners need to know collocations, a group of associated words. This study investigated Thai high school learners’ receptive and productive knowledge of English lexical and grammatical collocations. Three hundred and fourteen participants, who voluntarily participated in the study, were given four different measures of receptive and productive knowledge of English collocations. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the quantitative data and a correlational analysis was also used to examine the relationship between receptive and productive knowledge of English collocations. The results showed that Thai EFL high school participants had relatively weak knowledge of English collocations, but performed better on receptive collocational tasks than productive tasks. Indeed, Thai EFL high school participants’ receptive knowledge of grammatical collocations appears to be acquired first, followed by receptive knowledge of lexical collocations, productive knowledge of lexical collocations, and productive knowledge of grammatical collocations. A correlational analysis also revealed that receptive and productive collocational knowledge were interrelated. Taken together, these findings are consistent with previous studies showing that, like vocabulary, receptive collocational knowledge is acquired before productive collocational knowledge. This study provides insights into vocabulary acquisition and development along the receptive and productive continuum. Future research would benefit from longitudinal studies designed to examine more precisely this developmental continuum.


English collocations; Lexical collocations; Grammatical collocations; Receptive knowledge; Productive knowledge

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