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2006.09.01

033_Colocations

Have you ever noticed that there are many word partnerships in English? Like the phrase 'strong coffee'. These partnerships are called 'colocations'. In this episode Mark explains colocations to Nichibei student Yukari.


Kevin:
Hello everyone and welcome to Nichibei Kaiwa Gakuin Podcasting, A great way to review English words and phrases. My name is Kevin Jones. Today we are here with Nichibei student Yukari...
Yukari:
Hi Kevin,
Kevin:
And here today to help us out today is Nichibei Instructor Mark Melichar. Hello Mark, how are you today?
Mark Melichar:
Very well, thanks.
Kevin:
Yukari, You're in the SIC daytime program at Nichibei, right?
Yukari:
Yes, that's right.
Kevin:
Could you tell us about the SIC program? What is it exactly?
Yukari:
SIC stands for School of Intercultural Communication. The SIC program is a two year program which meets everyday from Monday thru Friday from nine in the morning to three in the afternoon. Sometimes to four thirty.
Kevin:
How do you like the program?
Yukari:
Oh! it's been great. The teachers here at Nichibei are great and I've also made a lot of good friends.
Kevin:
So Yukari, what question do you have for us today?
Yukari:
My question has to do with adjectives and nouns. I was listening to a native English speaker and this person said "I like strong coffee". So I was wondering why do English speakers use the adjective 'strong' with coffee and not some other adjective.
Kevin:
Let's turn to Nichbei instructor Mark Melichar. Mark, how would you answer this question?
Mark Melichar:
Well Yukari, that's a good question. What you are talking about is known as a collocation in English.
Yukari:
Collocation? What exactly does that mean?
Mark Melichar:
Collocations are words that English speakers put together by habit. These combinations have become the most popular combinations used by English speakers to express an object or idea. Strong coffee is an example of a collocation. I guess we could say powerful coffee, ...the communication might be OK but it sounds a little strange since it is not the common collocation we expect to hear.
Yukari:
Well OK. so what's the rule of making collocations?
Mark Melichar:
Actually, There are no clear rules for why certain adjective go with certain nouns, they just do.
Yukari:
Well, if there is no rule for making a collocation, how do I learn them?
Mark Melichar:
The two best things you can do are to read and to listen. For example, when you're reading a book or a newspaper or listening to a movie, try to understand the phrases that appear more than once. If you notice a phrase which you remember seeing two or three times, this should be a sign to you that this may be a common collocation.
Yukari:
So I've just got to memorize collocations!
Mark Melichar:
I'm afraid so. You could also take a look at a good dictionary. You will often find common collocations.
Yukari:
OK, I guess that answers my question. But while we are here, could you tell me some common collocations.
Mark Melichar:
Sure, First lets try some collocations with the adjective strong. Repeat these after me.
Strong influence.
Strong case.
Strong accent
Now let's try some with the adjective severe.
Severe weather.
Severe shortage
Good, now here are some with the adjective heavy
Heavy smoker
Heavy cold.
Yukari:
Great. Thanks a lot.
Mark Melichar:
No problem. My pleasure
Kevin:
Now let's review the collocations for this episode.
Strong coffee
Strong influence
Strong case
Severe weather
Severe shortage.
Heavy smoker.
Heavy cold.

END

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