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FEATURE
What's in a word?
Professor Michael Hoey
considers the consequences
of changes in lexicography

COLUMNS
Language Interference
False Friends between
Spanish and English
Read about cognates, false friends
and unreliable friends

Focus on Language
Awareness: Word formation

Introduction
Common processes of
word formation in English
UK version  US version

New word of the month
Compounds and blends

Top Tips for the CD-ROMs
Using the CD-ROM for
teaching collocations

onestopenglish.com

Top Tips for the CD-ROMs
Using the CD-ROM for teaching collocations
by Mairi MacDonald

1 Collocation boxes

Like the paper dictionary, the CD-ROMs give additional information about collocation at the entry of the relevant word. Unlike the paper dictionary, the CD-ROMs allow you to jump straight to any entry that has this information.

Essential CD

MED CD
Select SmartSearch Select SmartSearch
Check Vocabulary notes Check More search options
Check Collocations Check Editorial notes
Click on Go Check Collocations
  Click on Go

The search results panel on the bottom left of the screen will display 130 entries in the Essential CD and 447 in MED CD. Click on any of these results to go to that entry. The collocation box will be on the right.

Activity 1 Guess the word

Aim: To introduce/revise the concept of collocation
Level: Upper intermediate to advanced

Procedure
1 Select 5-10 entries which have collocation boxes using the search results from above.
2 Copy the collocates from the panel on the right.
3 Read out the words to the class who have to guess what the original word is. This can be played as a team game.
4 Students can then complete the worksheet as consolidation.

2 Other ways of finding collocations and patterns

a At the entry of the word

What do you do if there is no collocations box for a word you want your students to concentrate on? The following entry for crime is from the Essential CD-ROM. Collocations (e.g. commit/solve a crime, fight crime, crime rate, rising crime) are clearly marked in bold in the dictionary.

b Using WordSearch

You can also widen your search using WordSearch. Type in crime in the search box. Expand the search panel by clicking on WordSearch. Select Phrases and Collocations and click on Go.

This will give you 11 results in the Essential (26 in MED): crime, crime wave, organized crime, war crime, committed a crime, solve the crime, fight crime, the crime rate, rising crime, crime doesn't pay and violent crime. Click on each of these to find the following examples:

She was unaware that she had committed a crime.
It took police eight years to solve the crime.
new laws to help fight crime
The crime rate in the city has risen sharply.
Rising crime is a key election issue.
a fall in violent crime
The message is simple: crime doesn't pay.

c Using TextSearch

TextSearch can produce a list of examples to allow students to look at the word in context. Type crime into the search panel. Expand the TextSearch button by clicking on it. Check the Examples option and then click on Go. Click on each result to view an example. Click here for selection of examples copied from the Essential CD.

Activity 2 Exploring collocations

Aim: To get students to think about how a specific word (e.g. crime) is used.
Level: Upper intermediate to advanced

Procedure
1

Show students the following examples from the main entry for crime and ask them the difference between the following columns:

Column 1

new laws to help fight crime

The crime rate in the city has risen sharply.

Rising crime is a key election issue.

Column 2

She was unaware that she had committed a crime.

It took police eight years to solve the crime.

2 Elicit that Column 1 shows examples of crime as an uncountable noun and Column 2 shows examples of crime as a countable noun.
3 Get students to use TextSearch to find examples for crime (see above).
4

As they find the examples, students paste them into a table according to whether the example is countable or uncountable. It doesn't matter that some of the patterns and collocates are repeated as this will reinforce how the word is used.

Tip

You might want to give a pre-prepared list of examples depending on the level of your students.

5

Next get the students to subdivide the examples into the following categories and add them in the correct part of this table:
  1
verbs associated with crime
  2 adjectives associated with crime
  3 nouns associated with crime

6 Students should highlight the relevant word or phrase in a different colour.
7 Once this is complete you can use the table as a basis for discussing similarities and differences between collocates of crime as a countable noun and uncountable noun, any patterns that emerge and word order issues.

Tip

Use TextSearch in the same way to find example sentences for other words. Students can try and identify grammar patterns as well as collocation in the examples you extract from the dictionary e.g.:

Type cause* into the search box to find example sentences containing cause, causes, caused etc.
Do the collocates have a mostly positive or negative meaning?