A List of Opaque Prepositional Expressions for EFL Undergraduates

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Wenhua Hsu


The purpose of this paper was toe stablish a list of the most frequent semantically non-compositional prepositional expressions for EFL undergraduates, who need to read English academic texts in their fields of study. Made up of a preposition and a noun phrase, prepositional expressions usually function as an adjective or adverb. In this research, high-frequency prepositional expressions were retrieved from the 112 million-word academic section of the 560-million-token Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), which contains approximately 100 academic magazines and journals. In consideration of widespread use, the researcher applied a series of selection criteria (viz. frequency, meaningfulness, well-formedness and non-compositionality), while compiling the list. A total of 220 semantically non-compositional prepositional phrases of 2 to 5 words were chosen and they accounted for 1.02% of the total words in the COCA-academic. As with other individual wordlists, this prepositional expressions list may serve as a reference for English for General Purposes as well as English for Academic Purposes syllabi.

Non-compositionality, formulaic language, lexical coverage

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How to Cite
Hsu, W. (2019). A List of Opaque Prepositional Expressions for EFL Undergraduates. Asian Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, 2(2), 1-11. Retrieved from http://journalajl2c.com/index.php/AJL2C/article/view/30099
Original Research Article