Vocabulary and Receptive Knowledge of English Collocations among Swedish Upper Secondary School Students
Abstract: The aim of this study is to examine the vocabulary and receptive collocation knowledge in English among Swedish upper secondary school students. The primary material consists of two vocabulary tests, one collocation test, and a background questionnaire. The first research question concerns whether the students who receive a major part of their education in English have a higher level of vocabulary and receptive collocation knowledge in English than those who are taught primarily in Swedish. The second concerns if the students who started to learn English before the age of 7 have a higher level of vocabulary and receptive collocation knowledge in English than those who started after 7. The third concerns if the level of the students' vocabulary and receptive collocation knowledge correlates. The fourth addresses whether external inputs of English may have had an effect on the students' vocabulary and receptive collocation knowledge level. The results indicate that reinforcement of English through an education mostly in English has rendered a higher level of vocabulary and receptive collocation knowledge in English. In addition, starting to learn English before age 7 also appeared to have had a positive effect on these levels. In addition, the results suggest that an early onset (before 7) of English compensates for lack of reinforcement of English. Conversely, reinforcement of English compensates for a late onset (after 7) of English. However, the results imply that the combination of an early onset (before 7) of English and reinforcement of English is the most efficient means to achieve a high level of vocabulary and receptive collocation knowledge. Moreover, a clear correlation was found between vocabulary knowledge and receptive collocation knowledge, which also points to the importance of a large exposure to English. For the high performance students, external influences such as English in primary and secondary school, and a high motivation to learn English may have contributed to a higher language confidence, and possibly a higher level of vocabulary and receptive collocation knowledge.
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