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Importance and Challenges in Efl Language Learning

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Collocations: Importance and Challenges in EFL language learning:

As mentioned before, the literature on collocations shows an agreement among second language acquisition researchers and language pedagogues to the importance of learning collocations in order to increase EFL learners' language competence and enhance their communicative competence (Brown, 1974; Natihger, 1980, 1988; Bahan & Eldow, 1993; Benson, Benson and Ilson, 1997; Howarth, 1998; Hussein, 1990, Gitsaki, 1999). For instance, Benson, Benson and Ilson (1997) highlight the importance of this as follows:

Learners of English as a foreign or second language, like learners of any language, have traditionally devoted themselves to mastering words, their pronunciation, forms and meanings. However, if they wish to acquire active mastery of English, that is, if they wish to be able to express themselves fluently and accurately in speech and writing, they must learn to cope with the combination of words into phrases, sentences and texts (p. ix) .

It is obvious that the knowledge of normal collocations is part of a native speaker's communicative competence in using the language and also is a major factor that distinguishes native speakers from learners of the target language. Bonk (2000) indicates that native speakers have extensive knowledge of how words combine in their language, and they use this knowledge when retrieve lexical items and link them appropriately in language production. The systematic use of these combinations in the case of second language learners, subsequently, is considered to be very crucial to achieve like native production (McCarthy, 1990).

Brown (1974) is among the early advocates for the importance of collocations in L2 learning and their inclusion in L2 teaching. She emphasizes that learning collocations not only increase learners knowledge of collocation but it improves the learners oral proficiency, listening comprehension and reading speed. In addition, she points out that learning collocations enables learners gradually to realize language chunks used by native s speakers in speech and writing and to get the feel of using words in natural combinations with other words as well (cited in Gitsaki & 1997). Accordingly, Brown highlights that collocations should be included when we teach advanced learners new words because of their significance role in language learning. Like Brown, Lewis (2000) states that learning chunks of words helps language develop their communicative competence better than learning words in isolation. He also adds that collocational knowledge will help learners communicate more efficiently, because they have "the ability to say more of what they want to say with the limited language sources at their disposal (p.33).



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