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Collocational competence in the written production of Croatian learners of German at secondary school level


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Košuta, Nataša. (2016). Collocational competence in the written production of Croatian learners of German at secondary school level. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, UNSPECIFIED.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij glotodidaktike) [mentor Stojić, Aneta].

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Collocation competence among foreign language students, defined as the ability to recognize, understand, and use collocations (acceptable word combinations at the syntagmatic level), is a topic that has particularly in recent decades been attracting the attention of researchers. One of the reasons for this is the role of collocations in everyday communication, and thus in mastering a foreign language because they, as stated in relevant literature, allow a fluent and economical use of language similar to that of native speakers. This means that a collocation-competent speaker is also communicatively competent (Kromann, 1989; Valentić, 2005; Petrović, 2007; Stojić and Barić, 2013). Therefore the need is increasingly emphasized to carry out contrastive research on collocations as the very foundation for scientific research and development of collocation competence among foreign language students (e.g. Bahns, 1993a, 1997; Valentić, 2002; Bergerová, 2012). The importance of a contrastive approach to the topic of collocations is reflected in the fact that previous research, which focused on the acquisition of collocation competence in a foreign language, had already determined that errors in collocation phrases are usually a result of the linguistic transfer from the native language (e.g. Bahns, 1997; Reder, 2006a, 2006b, 2008, 2013; Manfraß, 2011; Nesselhauf, 2003; Fan, 2009; Paviĉić Takaĉ and Mišĉin, 2013), and that errors in the use of collocations occur even at advanced stages of foreign language acquisition (Bahns and Sibilis, 1992; Nesselhauf, 2003; Borić, 2004; Reder, 2006a, 2013). The reason for this is the impossibility of a free combination of collocation components in a language because these are fixed combinations of which native speakers of a particular language possess intuitive knowledge, unlike a student of a foreign language who has yet to master them. Such word combinations at the level of interlinguistic comparison are arbitrary and specific to each language. The application of the contrastive approach should therefore establish incongruent structures – those which in a foreign language do not have a direct translation equivalent from the native language, and it is those collocations that should be taught (Bahns, 1993a). In contrast to the European context and beyond, research, especially empirical, conducted in the Republic of Croatia on the collocation competence among students of a foreign language is still insufficient and sporadic. In addition to the topic of collocation competence within the framework of Croatian as a foreign language (Petrović, 2007; Bergovec, 2007), contrastive research of collocation competence is emphasized in the context of English as a foreign language (Borić, 2004; Valentić, 2002, 2005; Špiranec, 2005; Carević, 2010; Mišĉin, 2012; Paviĉić Takaĉ and Mišĉin, 2013), while deliberations on collocation competence at the level of Croatian as a native language and German as the target language are still scarce (Šnjarić, 2008, 2009; Stojić and Murica, 2010; Košuta, 2012; Stojić and Barić, 2013). Given the above mentioned, research was conducted on the written collocation competence among Croatian students of German language at the end of their high school education. These students were estimated to have mastered the German language at the B2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. This thesis is designed so that the introductory part is followed by an outline of the collocation topic. Collocations are in the theoretical part observed from the linguistic and glottodidactic aspects, as well as within the framework of statistical and phrasal approaches that are essential for observing collocations from the applied aspects. In the theoretical part the impossibility of a single determination of collocations is emphasized that most authors place between free word bonds, one the one hand, and phrasemes, on the other. Therefore, in this thesis, the status of collocations is determined with the help of recent German collocations dictionaries (Quasthoff, 2011 and Häcki Buhofer et al., 2014) and the corpus provided by the Institute for the German language in Mannheim ( Collocation competence is examined with the application of Hausmann's typology of bound collocations (Hausmann, 1990:vi-vii) which is, according to the opinion of many authors, applicable to teaching collocations in foreign language acquisition (e.g. Herbst and Götz-Votteler, 2007; Konecny, 2010b; Stojić and Barić, 2013) and the typology of errors that Reder (2006a:136-144) used in her research with students of the German language, native speakers of the Hungarian language. On a sample of 300 essays on two different topics from eleven Croatian counties it was attempted to establish the representation of certain types of bound collocations in Hausmann's typology of bound collocations (Hausmann, 1990:vi-vii), acceptable and unacceptable collocations in the respondents' texts, as well as typical errors in collocation phrases in order for the research results to be correlated with the results of previous research especially in the context of German as a foreign language (Reder, 2006a, 2006b). In this research, and in accordance with the available literature, the largest representation of the bound collocation type verb + noun, in the function of an object, and adjective + noun was established, as well as a greater representation of acceptable collocations, while errors in collocation phrases show the highest representation of the native language transfer. However, an almost equal number of errors was determined which can be explained by the the source-language transfer and a number of other errors. These findings emphasize the need of conducting further research. Statistically significant results show that the type of collocation phrase, the type of transfer and error vary with regards to the essay topic, and that the type of transfer and of error vary according to the type of collocation phrase. Based on the conducted research some other quesitons have arisen such as the need to revise Hausmann's typology of bound collocations for the purposes of research and teaching collocations to Croatian students of the German language. Final considerations relate to the emphasis of the need to conduct further research so as to determine the incongruous structure at the level of Croatian as the source language and German as the target language in order to create appropriate exercises for the development of collocation competences among Croatian students of the German language based on the results of this research. It is expected that the above mentioned results will contribute to the deliberations on the topic of collocations at the level of Croatian as the source language and German as the target language, and provide a basis for future contrastive research on collocations.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: collocation competence, foreign language production, B2 level according to CEFRL, contrastive approach, German as the target language, Croatian as the source language
Subjects: German language and literature
Supervisor: Stojić, Aneta
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij glotodidaktike
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2016 08:21
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 08:21

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