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Collocative Meaning

By | November 2008
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Collocative meaning consists of the associations a word acquires on account of the meanings of words which tend to occur in its environment.In other words, it is that part of the word-meaning suggested by the words that go before or come after a word in question.

Collocation belongs to linguistics.It’s an indispensable part of semantics. They are closely linked.On the one hand,semantics decides collocation;on the other hand,collocation also decides semantics.Collocative meaning is the meaning of a word produced in the specific context. As a result of conventionality of collocation,a word will produce different meanings when collocates with different words. heavy smoker (a person who smokes a lot);

heavy news (a piece of sad news);
heavy schedule (a very tight schedule).
fast color (the color that does not fade)
fast friend (a reliable friend),
fast woman (a lady of easy virtue)
or as the Chinese word “臭”is translated into differently when match with different with different words. 臭鸡蛋 addled eggs
臭熏肉 rancid bacon
臭牛奶 sour milk
Collocative meaning belongs to the peculiarity of every word.It is the conventionality of collocation between word and word or the meaning of a word in a fixed term. Collacation is formed by people’s habit in using language in the long term process.Its “ accepted through common practice”. For example:

we can use "a heavy smoker "to express" a person who smokes a great deal ", but we cannot express" a prolific writer "by using "A heavy writer"; we can say"make a speech "or" give a talk ", but cannot say “give a speech” or “make a talk”. We should get rid of the interference of our mother-tongue,and pay attention to the set phrases in English.

For example:

八五折(15%off),教练车(student driver),红茶(black tea),多如牛毛(as plentiful as blackberries),挥金 如土(spend money like water)etc. Ingnoring collocation will lead to Chinglish. For example:
我觉得这个店里的衣服即使打六折也还是太贵。 Misinterpretation:I think the clothes prices in the...

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