A Lexical Examination of the Collocation Patterns and Degrees of Opacity in Multiword Units: Illustrations from Animal Firm
Mbutu, Anthony Maina
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The aim of this study is to lexically examine the types of opacity and collocation patterning in multiword units with illustrations from, Animal Farm (2002), edition. The objectives of the study are: to identify and describe the types of multiword units used in Animal Farm, to identify and describe the patterns of collocation in the multi word units; and to find out and describe the degrees of opacity in the multiword units. The research design used is the case study design. In addition, the research identifies multiword units from the whole novel, which ensures that, the frequencies generated from the multiword units are representative of the whole text. Intensive reading of the novel is done to identify and extract the multiword expressions. The next thing the analyses do is to sample ten units in each of the four categories of the data for a detailed analysis. Forty units are sampled in total but since not all the multiword units have the aspects the study seeks, the analyses select 8 multiword units with an occurrence of six times and above from the sample and subjects them to the restriction cline. The analyses also select 18 multiword units, which are randomly chosen and subject them to the opacity cline. The data generated are multi word units, which are classified into phrasal verbs, compound words, prefabs and idioms. There are data on types of multiword units, data on patterns of collocation and data on degrees of opacity. The Lexical Approach Theory posited by (Lewis, 1993) and the Idiom Principle, which was propounded by (Sinclair, 1991), guide the study. The two theories help account for the multiword units in the novel and aid in the analysis of the data. Quantitative and qualitative techniques are used to analyze the data. The categories or types of multiword units are presented and analyzed using percentages, graphs and charts. The degree of opacity and patterns of collocation are analyzed using content analysis. All the multi word units extracted from the novel are subjected to graphical analysis. The researcher then purposively samples ten multiword units from each category and further analyzes them using the opacity and restriction clines. The data analyses are then presented and recommendations for further research made. The following are some of the aspects, which the findings reveal about multiword units. First, Multiword units can be ranged along restriction and opacity clines. Secondly, multiword units are examples of complex collocations. In addition, there are four types of multi word units. Another aspect is that culture affects the interpretability of multiword units. Finally, patterns of collocation in the multi word units affect the meanings of the multiword units. These findings are useful to educationists and linguists because they dictate the types of ESL learning resources which should be developed, the teaching and learning strategies that should be used as well as design of the language syllabus which is lexical in nature. The explanation behind this proposition is that the study underscores the central place of lexis in language as opposed to the traditional scenario where lexis was relegated to the backyard.