How a corpus-based study of the factors which influence collocation can help in the teaching of business English

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In this paper I use two case studies to show how corpus linguistics can be used to help in the teaching of business English. Senior managers in global companies often find themselves having to do their job in a foreign language. Given that language is one of the key tools of management, the senior managers are normally very keen to develop a sophisticated command of what they perceive to be key lexis. Consequently, the business English teacher may be required to answer searching and demanding questions in a very precise and accurate way. In this paper I show how a corpus-based investigation of the collocational behaviour of key lexis can be used to answer many of these questions. For example, a study of this kind can reveal the different senses of a word and show how it may be associated with a particular semantic prosody. By studying the collocations associated with a group of so-called synonyms it is often possible to identify slight but significant differences in the meaning of the words in the group. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-112
Number of pages12
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • Corpus, Business, Collocation, Semantic prosody