University of Leicester
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Investigating Iraqi EFL University Students' Knowledge of Grammatical Collocations in English

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posted on 2021-03-17, 11:34 authored by Adnan Z. Mkhelif
This cross-sectional mixed-method study aimed to investigate the effects of grammatical collocations (GCs) frequency, their L1-L2 congruency and transparency, as well as L2 proficiency on Iraqi EFL university students' (IUSs') productive and receptive knowledge of GCs. The study also involved a comparison between IUSs' productive and receptive collocational knowledge as well as an attempt to explore how consciously aware IUSs and their teachers are of GCs and their different types. In addition, the study attempts to explore the way GCs tend to be learned and taught in the study setting. The study involved 112 participants with different L2 proficiency levels. The data collection instruments included a productive knowledge test, a receptive knowledge test (both innovatively designed by the researcher using the BNC and demonstrated good reliability and validity), the grammar part of the Oxford Placement Test (OPT), and semi-structured interviews. The findings of the study revealed that GC frequency, L1-L2 congruency, transparency and L2 proficiency have not only significant main effects on IUSs' collocational knowledge but also significant interaction effects and that L2 proficiency was the best predictor of IUSs' performance. It was also found that IUSs' receptive knowledge of GCs was significantly better than their productive one. Apart from the most common types of time, place and manner GCs, the participants showed that they did not have sufficient L2 explicit knowledge of GCs and their different types or the ability to use accurate terms to refer to them. Most participants' responses indicated that the type of teaching employed to teach GCs tends to be explicit and intentional, especially at the earlier stages. In addition, the vocabulary items comprising GCs often tend to be taught as individual words (i.e. not as part of the GCs). Moreover, explicit teaching tends to be associated with only the most common types of GCs.



Nicholas I. Smith; Agneta M. Svalberg

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Education

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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