Enhancing Sentence-Level Idiomaticity and Collocational Competence among Post-High school Saudi EFL Learners through the online Corpus of Contemporary American English

Author: Awad Alshehri

Keywords: COCA, Collocational Competence, idiomaticity, Implicit Instruction, lexical, bundles


The use of Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) can enhance sentence-level idiomaticity of Saudi learners of English as a foreign language. It can also help develop learners’ collocational competence by giving them access to the most frequent lexical bundles in a written context. Idiomaticity appears to be a key component for language learners particularly those who are expected to be involved in sentence writing tasks. To decide to what extent COCA can contribute to increasing EFLs’ idiomaticity competence and enhance their writing skill, the researcher conducted some task-based activities involving writing at the sentence level. Learners were first tested to give feedback on a written text with some words and expressions miscollocated and misused (1A). Then, they were introduced to this online corpus analysis as a tool to explore and enhance idiomaticity and were given a list of words to explore using the corpus. Afterward, in order to find out if the corpus could enhance their idiomaticity and collocational competence, they were given a similar test for analysis of word lexical bundles that are best used to convey meaning precisely as a native speaker would (1B). Finally, and in order to find out if the corpus could improve their idiomaticity and collocational competence in a new context, they were given a third test with expressions that are non-native, native and expressions that are acceptable in both languages. The findings show that COCA could increase language learners’ awareness of the appropriateness or inappropriateness of collocational expressions. This could apply to other corpora such as iWeb and Glowbe.