CHALLENGES OF TEACHING COLLOCATIONS IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSES AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM
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collocations, collocational awareness, constructions, motivation, teaching methodology, activities
Despite the increased interest in collocations in the EFL methodology lately, due to the diversity and a high number of these constructions language teachers often find it challenging to teach them to students. The difficulties that language learners may encounter in the acquisition process are multifold (negative transfer from L1 (or L2), the tendency to see and learn words in isolation instead of multiword chunks, lack of collocational awareness) which makes it even more difficult to find appropriate methods for teaching these constructions efficiently. After presenting the factors that hinder the acquisition of collocations the paper presents possible ways of teaching them to students. It is believed that collocational awareness and motivation bear great significance in the acquisition process and that emphasis should be laid on teaching methodologies that capture and draw students’ attention to these constructions. Activities that present collocations in their entirety (as constructions, pairings of form with a specific meaning), are humorous or align with language learners’ interest in some way (involve the use of computers, of different websites, games, etc.) can be the most efficient. When done with enough regularity, they can lead to a better understanding and acquisition of these constructions not only by more advanced speakers of English (where collocations can contribute to the quality of native-likeness) but less experienced learners as well. While the ideas presented are generally applicable in EFL classes, the paper has been written with Hungarian-Romanian bilingual language learners, students at the Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania, in mind.