Does Your English Flow Naturally?
The development of English into a global lingua franca has led to the mushrooming of English-language study worldwide. With so much interest, one would expect the international level of spoken and written English to be quite high; however, that is not the case. This is due to an emphasis on grammar rather than vocabulary and conversation, which are far more important in the development of natural-sounding speech.
Particularly for advanced learners of English, fluency depends on mastering not only thousands of words, but also their arrangement into the thousands of fixed expressions that are used in everyday speech. Native English speakers know more than 5,000 words before they enter elementary school and can use them appropriately in a wide variety of situations. Students of English as a second language can match this achievement only by using the same learning technique: conversation.
Conversation allows the student to easily absorb the “three C’s” of vocabulary learning: collocation, context, and connotation.
- Collocations, which are high-frequency word combinations, include a wide variety of idioms, phrasal verbs, euphemisms, clichés, and many other types of discourse-structuring devices.
- Context is the circumstance that forms the setting for a statement or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.
- Connotation is the emotional subtext of a word, phrase or sentence, and is separate from the dictionary meaning, or denotation.
Native speakers of English use collocations constantly, so it is vital that students learn to understand these colorful expressions, and to use them. Some are easy to interpret, while others are impossible to make sense of by translating the individual words. Collocations must be learned as chunks, in contexts that are meaningful to native speakers. Don't panic! Fortunately, it is much easier to memorize words in combination than individually.
On this website, you will learn the collocations that are most frequently used. They have been divided into Idioms, Phrasal Verbs, Proverbs, and a catch-all category of extremely common collocations that fit none of those descriptions. In addition, minor but still important categories of collocations such as euphemisms and cliches are described under the Miscellaneous Expressions tab. Exercises present the expressions in sentences such as you might expect to hear on an American street. Shades of meaning are fully explained. Each tab also lists many additional collocations you are likely to encounter in conversation with a native speaker.
By marrying vocabulary study with collocations, context, and connotation, the student can achieve a close meshing of knowledge and culture that will allow him or her to produce truly natural-sounding speech. You're on your way to English Fluency+ !