Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Summer 8-10-2021

Degree Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Julie Washington

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Malins

Third Advisor

Mark Seidenberg


From infancy through adulthood, the lexicon continuously grows, reaching an estimated 20,000 lexical units of language for a monolingual English-speaker (Nation & Waring, 1997). In addition to words, speakers must master meaningful phrases and “chunks.” One of the biggest lexical challenges is collocation acquisition, where a speaker must learn meaningful units of language to build grammatical phrases (Goldberg, 1995). Collocations are words that naturally co-occur in a linguistic context, e.g., “strong coffee” (Benson, Benson, & Ilson, 1986; Nation, 2001). Knowledge of collocations is beneficial to second language and dual language learners to gain proficiency in both languages. Research has suggested that bilinguals have lower comprehension, and often misuse collocations when compared to native speakers (Bahns & Eldaw, 1993; Laufer & Waldman, 2011). The purpose of this study is to determine whether Spanish-English bilingual college students comprehend collocational phrases, and whether English language proficiency impacts comprehension and utilization of translation strategies.


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