Collocations Advanced | Advanced Introduction


What is this episode about?

Learn what collocations are and the importance of learning them. Also learn the different types of collocations and their register in this new series Collocations Advanced from English Plus Podcast.

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I am using an automatic transcript service as it is not possible for me to do it on my own and I cannot afford human transcription at the moment. The service claims to have about 95% accuracy, which means there will still be some mistakes, so my apologies for having a less than perfect transcript, but I hope I can afford human transcription soon and I will solve this problem. However, the service is pretty good, and the transcript is almost perfect.


Welcome to a new episode from English plus podcast. Today’s episode is about colocations and we’re going to talk about colocations from an advanced level perspective. So today’s going to be an advanced introduction to colocations. Remember that you can find the transcript of this episode in a link, I will leave in the description and you can become a patron of the show on Patreon, and then you will get PDF practice worksheets with every episode we release.

[00:00:34] So now without further ado, let’s start with our advanced introduction to colocations. Now, what are co-locations? A co-location is a combination of two or more words, which frequently occur together. If someone says she’s got yellow hair, they would probably be understood, but it is not what would ordinarily be said in English.

[00:00:57] We’d say she’s got blonde hair. In other words, yellow doesn’t co-locate with hair in everyday English yellow co-located with safe flowers or paint, but not with hair. Co-locations are not just a matter of how adjectives combined with nouns. They can refer to any kind of typical word combination. For example, verb was now, like, when we say arouse someone’s interest, lead a seminar, an adverb was an adjective, like fundamentally different, an adverb with a verb like flatly contradict.

[00:01:28] And now I’m with a noun. Like when we say a lick of paint, a team of experts, words of wisdom, et cetera. And there’s more phrasal verbs, like come up with run-up adhere to and compound nouns. Like economy drives, stock market are sometimes described as types of colocations, but it is not always easy to separate co-locations and compounds.

[00:01:51] And that being said, it can be difficult for learners of English to know which words co-located as natural co-locations are not always logical or guessable. There is, for example, no obvious reasons why we say making friends rather than saying, just getting friends and why we say heavy rain, not strong rain.

[00:02:09] Learners also need to know when specific collocations are appropriate. And this is usually referred to by linguistics as knowing which register to use. For example, a light from a bus is a formal co-location used in notices and other official contexts in everyday situations. We would, of course, always talk about getting off a bus, not a light from a bus.

[00:02:31] And now we come to a very important question. Okay, these are the co-locations very nice about why is it important to learn colocations and appreciation of co-location will help you to use the words, you know, more accurately. In other words, you will make fewer mistakes, not, you will do fewer mistakes. So because we use make with mistakes and not do.

[00:02:50] You will sound more natural when you speak. And right now, by saying, for example of great importance, rather than of big or high importance, you won’t just be understood. You will quite rightly sound like a fluent user of English. And another benefit for learning goal locations is to vary your speech and probably more importantly, your writing instead of repeating everyday words, like very good, nice.

[00:03:14] You will be able to exploit a wide range of language. You would gain more marks in an exam, for example, because compare these two ways of writing. Exactly the same thing we can write. We had a very happy holiday in a nice little village, surrounded by beautiful mountains. And that’s perfectly correct. No problems at all, but with some knowledge of colocations, you can.

[00:03:35] Change this into a better version by saying, for example, we had a blissfully happy holiday in a picturesque little village, surrounded by spectacular mountains. Much better now. And finally, you can understand when a skillful writer departs from normal patterns of co-location like a journalist poet, advertiser, or other inventive user of language, they often create an effect by not choosing the expected co-location when you know the collocations, you will understand this even better.

[00:04:06] For example, a travel article about the Italian capital might be entitled, no place like Rome, and that’s a reference to the popular expression. There’s no place like home. So with that being said, let’s move on to talk about three types of, of co-location strong, co-locations fixed colocations and we call locations.

[00:04:24] Now, what is the difference between these and why is it important to know what’s strong, fixed and weak colocations are, well, first let’s talk about strong. Co-locations a strong location is one in which the words are very closely associated with each other. For example, the adjective mitigating almost always co-located with circumstances or factors.

[00:04:44] It’s rarely co-located with any other word. For example, although she was found guilty, the jury felt there were mitigating circumstances and that means factors or circumstances that lessen the blame. Now, let me give you some more examples of strong colocations. For example, we say inclement weather was expected.

[00:05:03] That is very formal and it means unpleasant weather inclement. Co-located almost exclusively with weather. We don’t find it with other words. She has Auburn hair. O’Byrne co-located only with words connected with hair like curls, stresses, locks, et cetera, but we don’t find it with other words. I felt deliriously happy, which means extremely happy.

[00:05:26] Now, deliriously, strongly associated with happy. It’s not used with glad content or sad, for example. The chairperson adjourned the meeting that means have applause or rest during a meeting or trial. And adjourn is a very strongly associated with meeting and trial. So these were examples of strong colocations.

[00:05:46] What about fixed skull locations? Physical locations? Our co-location is so strong that they cannot be changed in any way. For example, you can say I was walking to and fro, and that means I was walking in one direction and then the opposite direction. I repeat a number of times. No other words can replace two or fraught or end in this co-location it is completely fixed.

[00:06:09] And the meaning of some fixed colocations cannot be guessed from the individual words. And these co-locations are called idioms. And then we have the week colocations. Which are thankfully the majority of co-locations we call locations are made up of words that co-located with a wide range of other words.

[00:06:25] For example, you can say you are in broad agreement with someone that means generally in agreement with them. However, broad can also be used with a number of other words, like a broad Avenue, a broad smile, broad shoulders, uh, products, and needs a strong accent abroad, hint, and so on. These are weak colocations in the sense that broad co-located with a broad range of different nouns, a strong locations in weak co-locations form a continuum with stronger ones at one end and weaker ones at the other.

[00:06:56] And most co-locations lie somewhere between the two, for example, the formal adjective picturesque co-located with village location in town, and so appears near the middle of the continuum. And as I said, thankfully, most co-locations. Are in the middle between weak and strong. They’re not always weak. That can be used with a broad range of different words.

[00:07:16] And they’re not strong that can be used with very limited words. And of course colocations have grammatical categories and we will learn colocations from all the grammatical categories in this co-locations advanced series. But these categories can be verb with noun noun, with verb noun, with noun adjective, with noun adverb, with adjective and verb with adverb or prepositional phrase.

[00:07:38] I won’t give you examples of these because we will have a lot of examples in the coming episodes of the series. But I want to talk about one more thing that is very important to fully understand the power of co-locations and the differences that we have in colocations. And that is registered now, what is registered our use of language changes according to the situation that we are in.

[00:07:59] If your close friend hosts a party, you could say, thanks for the party. It was a blast. And here it was a blast is very informal. However, if your boss was the host, you would probably say, thanks for the party. I really enjoyed it. That’s neutral in this example. Well, in this example, neutral and very informal are both examples of register.

[00:08:21] The register of most language is neutral, which means that it can be used in any situation. However, register can also be formal informal characteristic of certain professional field like legal journalistic or media, or specific to official notices and forms. Our choice of registered depends on what we are talking about.

[00:08:40] Business than use the neighbors and who we are talking to. Are we talking to friends, strangers figures of authority and how we are talking to them? Are we talking to them in a letter, in an email in public and private now to understand this better, I will say the same thing in different ways, and I will show you how different the register is.

[00:09:01] And when the register is different, we can use different words and obviously different colocations with the same words, but the meaning is the same. So let’s start with the first one, which is neutral. The police are investigating or are looking into the arms deal. Now it is neutral. That means either version would not seem out of place in any spoken or written context.

[00:09:21] You can use it anywhere, anytime it’s neutral, but let’s use it in an informal register. The cops are trying to dig out info about the arms deal. Now dig out info about the arms deal is informal. Phrasal. Verbs are often an informal alternative. Although some are neutral, let’s use it in a formal register.

[00:09:41] The police are conducting an investigation into the arms deal that is formal, longer words of Latin or Greek origin often indicate more formal language. And sometimes the register is not only neutral, informal or formal. It can be neutral, but journalistic. Like when we say police to probe arms deal. Now probe is typical of newspaper headline style, or it can be legal and official by saying the arms deal may be subject to police investigation.

[00:10:10] Now subject to investigation is typical of a bureaucratic or legal style. I’ll be careful not to think of formal language as written and informal language has spoken. There’s a lot of overlap. For example, markedly formal language is most typical of official or Academy criteria and official legal or bureaucratic speech.

[00:10:28] Informal language is typical of conversation, personal letters and emails, messages on social media and some journalism. Now let’s take a look at an example for formal versus neutral. Co-location now to be formal, we can say students must submit their assignments by the 1st of May, but if we want to use neutral or spoken, we can say you have to hand in your assignment by may the first.

[00:10:51] Not submit. We can be formal by saying students may request an extension after consulting their tutor, or we can be neutral or spoken by saying, you can ask for an extension after you’ve talked or after you’ve had a word with your tutor. Now let’s see informal versus neutral co-locations for example, the film was totally awesome.

[00:11:13] And that is mainly used by teenagers predominantly in the United States. And the neutral equivalent will be absolutely amazing. Fantastic, et cetera. We can say the party was well good. Well used to mean very, or really mainly by younger UK speakers. Now, obviously, if you want to be neutral, you can simply use very, or really.

[00:11:33] Another example, I haven’t a clue or I haven’t the foggiest idea what you mean. If we don’t want to sound informal, the neutral equivalent is I have no idea. We can grab a snack before the meeting, if you’re hungry and the neutral equivalent for that is to have a snack. So with that being said, I hope that was a good introduction.

[00:11:54] I know it’s advanced and that’s the point because this is called locations advanced. So if you feel that it is a little bit difficult for you, don’t forget that we have colocations intermediate, which you might find more suitable for your level at the moment, but you can always come back to this level and improve your English even further, but that is going to be co-location advanced.

[00:12:15] With that being said, that will be everything for this episode. I would like to thank you very much for listening to this episode. And don’t forget, you can find the transcript of this episode in a link. I will leave in the description and there’s also a link to Patreon where you can go and become a patron of the show and get a PDF practice worksheet with every single episode we release.

[00:12:34] This is your host, Danny. Thank you very much for listening to another episode from English plus podcasts. I will see you next time.

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