The two-lexeme collocation (TLC)
There are already many definitions of collocation, so rather than explain my specific use of the term and expect people to remember it while keeping it separate from their own preferred understanding of the term, I gradually found myself using a compound word that became a new term in my work.
Part of the messiness among the definitions of collocation is that the word word is understood variously to refer to
So to avoid saying that a collocation consists of two words, the term lexeme is used as its specialized meaning is clear. This led to the term, the two-lexeme collocation (TLC). It automatically excludes compound nouns and phrasal verbs, among others, from being counted as collocations.
Like the definitions of collocation, TLC has a specific set of criteria that relate to the uses for which it is intended. The 'exam' sentence on the right contains some examples of the criteria.
The exams take place at your school and are given to you when you are ready to sit them.
- There are two lexemes only.
- They are both content words. Prepositions and particles are excluded from TLC.
- The two elements can be single or multi-word lexemes , e.g. give exam, exam take place
- The two lexemes retain their meanings, unlike many multi-word units, chunks and idioms whose meaning cannot be understood through knowing the individual words. In TLC the meanings of the lexems are retained and transparent.
- TLC is used particularly in the process of identifying collocation in text, where the pairs of lexemes appear as word forms. However, they are recorded as lemmas. For example, exam is the lemma of exams and give is the lemma of given.
- In text, key words are repeated and referred to via superordinates, pronouns and a variety of related words, e.g. vehicle, car, jalopy, Toyota. The collocates that appear with these words are worth considering as collocates of the key word. For example, sit is a collocate of exam as represented here by them.
- Many words can appear between the two lexemes of a collocate in text. TLC does not place any fixed span within which they need to occur. It is a long way from sit to exams. A TLC can appear beyond a single sentence.
- The syntactic relationships between the two lexemes is a property of TLC. When identified in text, the two lexemes may be noun + verb where the noun is the subject, e.g.exam take place, or verb + noun where the noun is object, sit exam. This applies to other content 'words' as well, e.g. adjective + noun.
- Once collocations have been observed in text, they are compared with corpus data using the Hoey Procedure to check how typical they are in the language at large.
TLC has arisen with guided discovery language teaching in mind. It is a foundation concept in Collocation Plus, a complex task-based procedure for learning language from language.