A RE-EXAMINATION OF COLLOCATION AND MEANING IN LANGUAGE

AUTHOR: NWANKWEGWU, JEREMIAH ANENE

FROM: THE DIGNITY OF A FRENCH TEACHER: CELEBRATING PROF. JULIE AGBASIERE

Collocation, as a linguistic phenomenon of universal spread, has always received scholarly attention. However, its conceptualization in literature is, largely, hazy. Oftentimes, the concept is muddled with idiom and selectional restriction. In the Igbo language, most seriously, the distinction between collocation and verb-noun complementation is quite unclear. Although, at a cursory look, it would be difficult to figure out the subtle lines of demarcation among these phenomena, it is not entirely impossible. We have argued that collocational combinations are merely formal because the restrictions under which strings of words co-occur in collocation are not definable by syntax or selectional restriction alone. Collocations in contrast to idioms are permitted patterns within the frame of the selectional restrictions – having compositional meanings and permitting, to some extent, internal constituent variation, and in any case, not violating selectional restrictions as do idioms. They simply display idiosyncratic tendencies, but not obligatory selection.

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