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What is a collocate?

 

Definition
 

Collocates are lexemes that co-occur with each other in natural texts.

Discussion
 

Collocates may be characterized as follows:

 
  • Syntactically and semantically permissible

    Example:

    'There was green grass growing everywhere.'

  • Syntactically permissible but semantically impermissible (commonly referred to as collocational clashes)

    Example:

    'There were green ideas growing everywhere.'

  • Syntactically impermissible but semantically permissible

    Example:

    'There was green grass grows everywhere.'

  • Syntactically and semantically impermissible

    Example:

    'There was green ideas grows everywhere.'

 

Collocates may also be characterized as follows:

 
  • Syntactically and semantically permissible, but incidental, as in live metaphors

    Example:

    'The barn was painted red like a tomato.'

  • Syntactically and semantically permissible, but fixed in usage, as in dead metaphors

    Example:

    'He turned as red as a beet.'


Context for this page:

Go to SIL home page This page is an extract from the LinguaLinks Library, Version 5.0 published on CD-ROM by SIL International, 2003. [Ordering information.]

Page content last modified: 18 September 1998

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