The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

John Madden

Second Advisor

Isolde Mueller

Third Advisor

Shawn Jarvis

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Collocations, Language Corpora, Dictionary, Teacher Education, Teaching English, Foreign Language


Most second language learners express a desire to sound more native-like. While this may be difficult to achieve phonetically, it is possible to help language learners _!llake more appropriate lexical choices. One such way to do this is through the use of collocations. Collocations can be defined as two or more words that frequently occur together. Collocations are natural choices for native speakers of a language, but must be explicit!y taught to second language learners. Recently, a variety of publishers have made specific collocations dictionaries available to language learners. Language programs are quickly adopting these materials, but what do students and teachers think about using them? This study is aimed at finding out more about the attitudes and behaviors surrounding collocations dictionaries and their use. Over ninety university ESL students and ten university ESL teachers were surveyed regarding these issues. One-on-one follow-up interviews were conducted with seven students and three teachers to gain further insight. The findings of this study reveal some interesting trends: even though the collocations dictionary was a required course material, many students and teachers reported never using it, both students' and teachers' level of perceived usefulness of collocations dictionaries did not match their reported use, students reported that they would be more likely to use collocations dictionaries if their teachers required them to do so more frequently, teachers would be more likely to use collocations dictionaries in their teaching if they received more training and ideas about how to incorporate them into their curriculum, and most students and teachers would prefer an electronic collocations dictionary. Overall, these results indicate that a collocations dictionary should not be implemented into a program without first taking into consideration the needs and preferences of both students and teachers.


I would like to express my gratitude to several people who helped make this thesis a reality. First, and foremost, I would like to thank my committee chairperson, Dr. John Madden. Not only did he make time in his busy schedule to meet with me, but he also gave me productive feedback and had high expectations that I strived to reach. Next, I would like to thank Kristin Brietzke for all of her help with my statistical analyses. Many thanks to all of my colleagues who supported me emotionally and spent long hours in the office with me, especially Kristen Lorincz, Claire Brakel-Packer, and Edward Hart. Finally, thanks to my parents and sister for their support and encouragement. Without all of these people's contributions, this project would not have come to fruition.



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