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Volume 8 Number 3, Autumn 2011, Pages 1-270   


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Collocations in High School and Pre-University English Textbooks Versus New Interchange Book Series

    Ali Roohani


Collocations help L2 learners to build up chunks of language and look for patterns of use, but they have not received enough attention. Given this, the present study investigates the extent to which lexical and grammatical collocations are used in high school and pre-university English textbooks, compared with the New Interchange book series. Although both instructional textbooks claim to improve EFL learners' language and communicative skills in an integrated syllabus, the former ones are produced by the Ministry of Education, written by nonnative speakers of English and taught in public schools in Iran, whereas the latter ones are produced internationally by native speakers of English and taught in many private language institutes in Iran. Besides, to make a better judgment about the saliency of collocation use in the above textbooks, this study explores the comparative performance of groups of EFL learners studying the aforementioned textbooks in two different teaching situations in Iran to see how they perform on the collocation tests. To achieve the purposes of this study, content analysis was first carried out in the corpora obtained from the textbooks to see the frequency and proportion of lexical and grammatical collocations. Second, textbook-based collocation tests were developed and administered to the participants of this study, who consisted of 200 Iranian EFL learners, including 100 students at high and pre-university schools as well as 100 learners in English language institutes. The results showed that the frequency and proportion of collocations in the high school and pre-university English textbooks were generally lower than those in the New Interchange book series, but the frequency differences between the two types of textbooks were not statistically significant in the chi-square tests. Also, t tests indicated that the learners studying the New Interchange book series in the private language institutes had a better performance on both lexical and grammatical collocation tests. Finally, the pedagogical implications for EFL teachers and materials developers are presented.

Keywords: grammatical and lexical collocation, textbook, public school, language institute