Thai EFL Learners’ Knowledge of Congruent and Incongruent Academic L2 Collocations

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Waraphorn Khantiwong
Atikhom Thienthong


This article reports the results of a study that explored Thai EFL learners’ repertoire of congruent and incongruent academic English (L2) collocations in relation to their native-Thai language (L1) and academic experience. Eighty Thai tertiary students performed a gap-filling translation test on 15 congruent and 15 incongruent collocations by providing equivalent L2 collocates. The results indicated that the students’ greater exposure to academic discourse increased their acquisition of academic collocations. However, overall they demonstrated insufficient knowledge of academic collocations, especially incongruent L1-L2 combinations. This is because they depended heavily on their L1 lexicon and general L2 lexis to compensate for their lack of knowledge and awareness of typical academic L2 collocations. The results suggest that although L2 exposure has a facilitative effect on collocation acquisition, it is still imperative that EFL learners receive explicit instruction which is devoted to elaborating and disambiguating the L1 and L2 meanings of academic collocations and their component words in isolation.


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Author Biographies

Waraphorn Khantiwong, English and Communication Program, Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand

A fourth-year undergraduate student in English and Communication Program, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand. Her research interest includes formulaic language in academic discourse.

Atikhom Thienthong, English and Communication Program, Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand

A lecturer in English and Communication Program, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand. His research interests in academic writing are collocation, synonymy, pattern grammar, written discourse, and corpora.


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