University of Bahrain
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A Minimalist Approach to Collocation Acquisition: Integrating Syntax and Semantics

Show simple item record Shormani,Mohammed Q. 2018-07-25T10:03:36Z 2018-07-25T10:03:36Z 2015
dc.identifier.issn 2210-1578
dc.description.abstract How language, be it first (L1) or second (L2), is acquired has been the concern of much research and investigation, and perhaps no other phenomenon has witnessed such interest (Shormani, 2014b). One such area within language acquisition is collocability and how it presents a difficult aspect to L2 acquirers. This is so due to the fact that collocability involves formulaic language the mastering of which has been considered specific to native speakers of the language being learned. Thus, in this article, I propose a minimalist approach based on integrating syntax and semantics. The former concerns combining (collocating) two lexical items by means of Select and Merge operations, and the latter concerns what goes with what in a collocation based on feature specifications encoded on each lexis (i.e. word). My proposal is based on substantial evidence proving the availability of syntax and semantics in collocability, hence, abstracting from usage-based approaches. Thus, each collocation produced by Select and Merge (syntax) has to “pass” the semantic constraints manifested in the Collocating Feature Specification Rule (=CFSR). However, if this produced collocation fails to “pass” CFSR, it has to undergo acquisition once more in which parameters are reset and retriggered through acquisition reorientation. The proposal places much emphasis on mental properties of Universal Grammar (UG), and the same is true concerning L2 acquisition settings in relation to providing L2 acquirers with “equal” linguistic input native speakers have. The minimalist approach developed in this article stems from the fact that minimalism is seen as a theory, primarily concerned with language acquisition in its two spheres (i.e. L1 and L2). As far as L1 acquisition is concerned, minimalism sees it as acquiring only feature specifications manifested in parameters. L2 acquisition, however, is seen by minimalism, as merely acquiring features, peculiar to L2 being learned, which are different from and/or similar to those of the acquirer’s L1, where the learner’s only task is to reset and retrigger the UG parameters specific to L2, simply because UG principles are universal. Hence, our major task as linguists, language educators and teachers alike is how to make use of and benefit from the minimalist assumptions and hypotheses concerned with language acquisition in general, and those concerned with collocability in particular. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher University of Bahrain en_US
dc.rights Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International *
dc.subject Minimalism en_US
dc.subject Select en_US
dc.subject Merge en_US
dc.subject Feature Specifications en_US
dc.subject Collocation Acquisition en_US
dc.subject Language Educators en_US
dc.title A Minimalist Approach to Collocation Acquisition: Integrating Syntax and Semantics en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.volume 03
dc.issue 01
dc.source.title Journal of Teaching and Teacher Education
dc.abbreviatedsourcetitle JTTE

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