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The effect of contextual informativity on collocation learning and retention

de la Viña, Inés, Kim, Christina S., Chamorro, Gloria (2023) The effect of contextual informativity on collocation learning and retention. In: Book of Abstracts AMLap 2023. . Basque Centre on Cognition Brain and Languages (KAR id:105659)


Collocations, while critical to L2 learners achieving native-like proficiency, pose a challenge due to the combined learning burden of form cooccurence and non-compositional meaning: beyond associating form with meaning, knowledge of collocations requires understanding their usage in context. While contextual informativity may aid learning by facilitating meaning inference from linguistic environments (Nation, 2001), it may not have a net positive effect: the processing effort required to infer meanings from unsupportive contexts may result in greater lexical retention (Haastrup, 1989), counteracting facilitation from supportive contexts. We investigated the effect of contextual informativity – measured by quality and quantity of supportive words – on collocation learning and retention.

English learners (L1 Spanish, n=94) read texts featuring collocations like bone marrow, which differed by informativity (low/mid/high). Learning was assessed using form and meaning recall tests, immediately post-treatment and after 2 weeks. For form and meaning recall, mid-informativity predicted greater learning at immediate posttest and greater retention at delay than low-informativity contexts. High-informativity did not improve performance relative to low-/mid-informativity at either delay. This suggests that, while informativity can facilitate learning and retention, there is a trade-off between ease of meaning inference from supportive contexts and complexity from processing increased meaning associations in a given context.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Poster)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Funders: University of Kent (
National University of Distance Education (
Depositing User: Christina Kim
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2024 12:53 UTC
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 17:57 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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de la Viña, Inés.

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Kim, Christina S..

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Chamorro, Gloria.

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