Introduction A dictionary specializing in the presentation of the idiosyncratic word combinations or collocations of current English is a welcome innovation and potentially a very useful tool for language production. Consequently, collocations are mostly relegated to the example material, and therefore only shown on a very selective basis. Especially foreign learners are likely to benefit from a comprehensive dictionary of collocations, which will help them avoid translating word combinations from their own language directly, thereby violating the usage restrictions of the target language. In the following I will look at the word combinations included in the BBI and the typology on which it is based, but since the BBI is not the first dictionary of English word combinations, I will begin by saying a few words about its predecessors 2. Dr Albrecht Reum from Leipzig in co-operation with A.
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Introduction A dictionary specializing in the presentation of the idiosyncratic word combinations or collocations of current English is a welcome innovation and potentially a very useful tool for language production. Consequently, collocations are mostly relegated to the example material, and therefore only shown on a very selective basis. Especially foreign learners are likely to benefit from a comprehensive dictionary of collocations, which will help them avoid translating word combinations from their own language directly, thereby violating the usage restrictions of the target language.
In the following I will look at the word combinations included in the BBI and the typology on which it is based, but since the BBI is not the first dictionary of English word combinations, I will begin by saying a few words about its predecessors 2. Dr Albrecht Reum from Leipzig in co-operation with A. Knight, Trinity College, Cambridge. Rodale — was first published as early as Consequently, it did not include many of the recurrent combinations that are now normally referred to as collocations.
Nevertheless, the dictionary was recommended to Danish students of English even in the s. The first volume, published in , contains verbs with prepositions and particles. It shows the collocational patterns of the verb entries in a very comprehensive and consistent way and, although it is narrower in scope than the BBI, it may serve as a standard of comparison.
It does not include id- ioms like to kill two birds with one stone, which are defined as frozen expressions in which the meaning of the whole does not reflect the meaning of the component parts. However, it does include some phrases that lie between collocations and idioms, in that the meaning of the component parts are reflected partially in the meaning of the whole. Such expressions are mainly similes like free as a bird and sweet as sugar, but also fixed phrases like to mix business with pleasure.
The typology of the BBI can be illustrated as follows the types of word combination included in the dictionary are underlined : All word combinations Idioms Transitional Combinations Collocations Free Combinations Grammatical Collocations Lexical Collocations It is worth noting that there is no transitional category between collocations and free combinations to parallel that between collocations and idioms.
The failure to address the problems of demarcation involved results in some vacillation as to whether certain types of combination should be included or not see 3. However, the BBI uses the concept of grammatical collocation, defined as a phrase consisting of a dominant word noun, adjective, verb , and a preposition or grammatical structure such as an infinitive or clause. Extending the concept of collocation to include combinations between a lexical item and a grammatical structure irrespective of the lexical items it contains does call for a new concept, however.
The grammatical structures are subject to usage restrictions connected with specific lexical items and the patterns found here e. Such information can also be found in general-purpose dictionaries and, in a dictionary of word combinations, it might have been preferable to leave it out in order to be able to show lexical collocations including combinations with prepositions on a more comprehensive scale. However, it may also be argued that, because of their idiosyncratic nature, grammatical patterns of this kind are complementary to lexical collocations and that it is therefore natural to include them.
At any rate, the patterns are described in a very user-friendly way with examples, possible alternatives and usage notes as well as by means of a coding system referring to the introductory notes. The choices made as to which types of combination to include are accounted for in the Introduction, the main principle being that structures which can be produced by using the general rules of grammar do not belong in the dictionary. The combinations with apathy also given as examples do not pose the same problems.
Apathy of as in the apathy of the electorate, is not an alternative to apathy towards as in his apathy towards the poverty of the people.
Seven types of lexical collocation are included, five of which are accounted for by combinations with nouns: three are combinations of nouns and verbs, one covers adjective plus noun combinations, including compounds with an adjectival noun as the first element, and a further type gives the unit associated with a given noun.
The two remaining types of collocation are combinations of adverbs and adjectives and of verbs and adverbs, respectively. Generally combinations with nouns are found in noun entries, so that in practice a hierarchical relationship is assumed between the constituent elements.
From the point of view of language production this is much to be preferred Cp. Hausmann Collocations are syntagmatic combinations with a main element, or base, which is determined by another, secondary element and it is natural for users to look up a noun to find the verbs, adjectives or prepositions to go with it, not the other way round. Verbs and adjectives are only relevant as base items in collocations with adverbs and prepositions or in grammatical collocations including infinitives or clauses.
A standard lexical function was defined as follows A standard lexical function is a meaning relation between a key word or word combination C0 and other words and word combinations Ci , which meets the following three requirements: 1 2 3 this relation occurs in a sufficiently great number of word pairs, i.
The BBI has chosen to focus on a limited number of lexical functions, some of which do however, cover several of the functions identified by Apresyan et al. In one type of collocation the verb thus denotes the function creation and or activation inflict a wound, run a test , in a second type the function is eradication and or nullification as in lift blockade.
Further functions express characteristic action silence reigns or high degree? The failure to address the problems of demarcation between collocations and free combinations was seen in the combinations of nouns and prepositions cp. Although, cook vegetables is not included, cooked vegetables is, and whereas cook potatoes has been left out, bake potatoes is included. From a decoding point of view, such collocations may well be predictable on the basis of the meaning of their constituent elements, but for encoding purposes they have to be included if they express a lexical function central to the meaning or use of a given lexical item.
This is especially necessary if they belong to a set of alternative expressions and leaving them out would give users the wrong impression that they had better be avoided, as in the examples of combinations with blockade given earlier. Thus the entry for inflation gives. In a citation bank including combinations with inflation, reduce inflation occurred 15 times, curb inflation 10 times, and control inflation 7 times; cp Poulsen By comparison, the entry for unemployment includes reduce. A further aspect is that the most open collocations also tend to be the most neutral ones from a stylistic point of view, so that leaving them out will lead to a misrepresentation of the collocational range of an item, in that the unmarked level of formality will be missing.
To present users with a comprehensive choice, I think it is necessary to decide what lexical functions are relevant in the case of individual items and then to show the full range of alternatives in each case, including open as well as more restricted collocations.
At least a distinction should be made between open sets of collocates to which other words can be freely added, and sets that virtually exhaust the possible range of combinations. This would prevent the rather incomplete and uneven treatment of items which I have found in a number of entries. Thus the entry for injunction includes issue but not serve an injunction on sby, whereas the entry for writ includes issue as well as serve.
Deficit is in the dictionary, but to run a deficit is not. Concluding remarks As will appear from the above comments on the BBI, I do not think it quite lives up to what one might expect from a specialized dictionary of collocations, namely that it should present users with a truly comprehen- sive range of alternative collocates expressing the lexical functions required in the case of individual items.
A special problem is the failure to address the problem of demarcation between collocations and free combinations. In spite of the critical remarks about the BBI, I still think it deserves much credit for its functional approach to word combinations, which are represented in a user-friendly way and on a much more comprehensive scale than is found in general purpose dictionaries.
Literature Apresyan, Yu. Zolkovsky : Semantics and Lexicography: Towards a new type of unilingual dictionary, in F. Kiefer ed. Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel , Benson, Morton : Collocations and Idioms, in: C.
Pergamon Press in association with the British Council, Studies in Language Companion Series, Vol. Cowie, A. Hausmann, Franz Joseph : Un dictionnaire de collocations est-il possible? A theoretical framework and a possible concept for a specialized dictionary of English collocations for text production. Rodale, J. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Books, Inc.
The Bbi Combinatory Dictionary Of English: A Guide To Word Combinations
The methods and terminology used to present these collocations in the Dictionary are explained in the Introduction. Much of the material provided in this Dictionary has never before been published. This material is of vital importance to those learners of English who are native speakers of other languages. Heretofore, they have had no source that would consistently indicate, for example, which verbs are used with which nouns they could not find in any existing dictionary such collocations as call an alert, lay down a barrage, hatch a conspiracy, impose an embargo, roll a hoop, draw up a list, administer an oath, enter make a plea, crack a smile, punch a time clock, inflict a wound, etc. This Dictionary provides such collocations in order to enable the user of the Dictionary to find them quickly and easily, they are given in the entries for the nouns. Knowledge of other languages is normally of no help in finding English collocations. For administer an oath, French has faire preter serment, Spanish — hacer prestar juramento, German — den Eid abnehmen, Russian—privesti k prisjage, etc.
The BBI Combinatory Dictionary of English
This book is a reference work that records English collocations in alphabetical order. Since its focus is exclusively on collocations, it omits the usual kinds of information one expects to find in conventional dictionaries. There are no etymologies. Pronunciation is given rarely and only to differentiate homographs. The system of transcription is the same as the one used in The Lexicographic Description of English by the same authors.
The Bbi Dictionary of English Word Combinations: Revised Edition
Bbi Combinatory Dictionary of English: A Guide to Word Combinations