Habilitation: The Advanced Foreign Learner‘s Mental Lexicon

The Advanced Foreign Learner‘s Mental Lexicon

Storage and Retrieval of Verb-Noun Collocations like ‘to embezzle money‘

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PHILOLOGIA – Sprachwissenschaftliche Forschungsergebnisse, Band 93

Hamburg , 472 Seiten

ISBN 978-3-8300-2744-7 (Print) |ISBN 978-3-339-02744-3 (eBook)

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This is the first psycholinguistic study that focuses on combinations of words and not on single lexemes.

After comparing different approaches to collocation the author develops a theoretical concept of collocation which will not only satisfy the theoretical linguist but also the foreign language teacher.

Basing his study on verb-noun collocations of English which are commonly found in newspapers (such as to launder money, to hatch a plot or to plant a bomb) the author probes into the mental lexicon of advanced foreign learners of English. Over a period of more than two years experiments were conducted which aimed at exploring how collocations are stored, networked in and retrieved from the students’ mental lexicon.

In addition diverse mnemonic strategies were developed and tested. A comparison between the performance of the test group students and the performance of the control group students reveals what types of strategies are particularly conducive to efficient collocation storage and retrieval.

The psycholinguistic evidence has been drawn upon to develop a language production model which is rooted in the connectionist tradition.

The investigations of the working mechanisms of the mental lexicon are rounded off by the blueprint for a dictionary of collocations on DVD which takes into account the insights gathered from the evaluation of the psycholinguistic data.

The interdisciplinary approach adopted by the author will be of particular interest to applied linguists and psycholinguists but also to foreign language teachers, lexicographers and lexicologists. Last but not least it will be a particularly rewarding book for anybody interested in the mental processes that take place in our brain before concrete linguistic utterances are produced.

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