Guessing Verb–Adverb Collocations: Arab EFL Learners' Use of Electronic Dictionaries

Safi Eldeen Alzi'abi


Collocational studies have recently attracted a great deal of interest. To date, hardly any study has tackled Arab EFL learners' competency in the use of verb–adverb collocations. This study explores the way advanced Arab EFL learners handle verb–adverb collocations using two learner's dictionaries. The subjects (N = 82) were required to look up 22 verbs, 12 frequent and 10 infrequent, and guess three adverb collocates of each verb. The results showed that even advanced EFL learners had considerable difficulty in providing extra adverb collocates of both frequent and infrequent verbs. Dictionary use was effective; the subjects performed significantly better especially with infrequent verbs. Many reasons were posited for this finding, foremost of which included the subjects' deficiency in collocational skills and the lack of sufficient clues in the definitions to facili­tate dictionary users' correct use of collocations. Whereas knowledge of the meaning of the stimuli was found to be a significant contributing factor to the subjects' overall collocational competence, basic prior training in dictionary usage did not show any positive impact on their overall perform­ance.


verb–adverb collocations; Arab EFL learners; frequent verbs; infrequent verbs; training in dictionary use; collocations dictionaries; dictionary use; learner's dictionaries

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ISSN 2224-0039 (online); ISSN 1684-4904 (print)

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