University of Leicester
2022MAlqaedPhD.pdf (5.33 MB)

The Effect of an Explicit Awareness-Raising Approach on Lexical Collocation Awareness and Knowledge

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posted on 2022-10-20, 11:10 authored by Mai A. Alqaed

This study investigates an explicit awareness approach to the acquisition of academic LCs focusing on learners’ engagement with consciousness-raising activities and measuring the effect of such treatment, compared to an implicit approach. It investigates learners’ awareness and knowledge. The approach aimed to encourage learners to notice the targeted collocations and to construct an awareness of collocations as well as develop their ability to use these collocations in novel situations. The theoretical framework adopted for the current study was a combination of the Language Awareness and Focus-on-Forms approaches (Ellis, 2001b).

The former empirically operationalises Svalberg’s (2009) engagement with language construct analysing learners’ engagement with form-focus tasks cognitively, socially and affectively.

While most of the literature focuses on two main LCs patterns (i.e., verb + noun and adjective+ noun); this study explores an explicit awareness approach to the six grammatical categories of academic LCs (i.e., verb + noun, noun + verb, noun + noun, adjective + noun, adverb + adjective, verb + adverb) proposed by O’Dell and McCarthy (2017). For the purposes of this study, a quasi-experimental design was applied, involving the selection of English major students in an experimental (N=34) and control group (N=32). The experimental intervention followed a focus-on-forms approach with explicit instruction of LCs and peer interaction. On the other hand, the control group were exposed to an implicit approach to vocabulary acquisition through reading texts and  comprehension questions.

The research study examined L2 learners’ receptive (i.e., noticing targeted and other LCs) and productive (i.e., bubble diagrams and free writing) knowledge. The results showed on one hand the experimental groups’ improved awareness and knowledge of LCs which was not present in the control groups’ findings. On the other, the participants in the experimental group showed a higher level of engagement with LCs whereas the control group lacked cognitive, social and affective engagement. The experimental group showed a significant improvement in their test results, rich peer interaction and positive attitudes towards the intervention. Thus, the explicit awareness approach had a positive effect on developing L2 learners’ awareness and knowledge towards the targeted LCs.



Agneta Svalberg

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Arts

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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