Martin John Warren

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic research


Evidence from corpus linguistics studies shows that single words do not create meaning. Meaning comes from the co-selections of words. The field of corpus linguistics has contributed significantly to our understanding of the extensive patterning to be found in language, by which is meant the variety of ways in which speakers and writers co-select words which combine to make meanings. One of the patterns of co-selection is collocation and, in terms of its role in meaning creation, it was brought to prominence by Firth in 1951 (1957, p. 194) through his notion of “collocability.” Firth's central claim is that the meaning of a word is best understood by the company it keeps, in other words by its associations. He describes these associations as “meaning by ‘collocations’”. One of his best-known examples of collocation is dark night and he writes that “one of the meanings of night is its collocability with dark, and of dark, of course, collocation with night” (1957, p. 196).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe encyclopedia of applied linguistics
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781405198431
ISBN (Print)1405194731, 9781405194730
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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