# collocation

## English

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### Etymology

1605. From Latin collocātiōnem < collocāre. Compare French collocation.

The technical sense in linguistics was established 1951, although it may have been used this way earlier.

### Noun

collocation (plural collocations)

1. (uncountable) The grouping or juxtaposition of things, especially words or sounds.
• 1869, Friedrich Max Müller, Lectures on the Science of Language delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in April, May, and June, 1861, 2nd ed, Scribner, p 288:
Everything in fact depends in Chinese on the proper collocation of words in a sentence. Thus ngò tà ni means “I beat thee;” but ni tà ngò would mean “Thou beatest me.”
2. (countable) Such a specific grouping.
• 1880, William Dwight Whitney, Richard Morris, Language and its study, with especial reference to the Indo-European family, 2nd ed, Trübner & Co., p 56:
We said at first breāk fâst—“I broke fast at such an hour this morning:” he, or they, who first ventured to say I breakfasted were guilty of as heinous a violation of grammatical rule as he would be who should now declare I takedinnered, instead of I took dinner; but good usage came over to their side and ratified the blunder, because the community were minded to give a specific name to their earliest meal and to the act of partaking of it, and therefore converted the collocation breākfâst into the real compound brĕakfast.
3. (linguistics, translation studies) The statistically significant collocation of particular words in a language.
• 1917, Otto Jespersen, Negation in English and Other Languages, Copenhagen: A.F. Høst, p 39:
Little and few are also incomplete negatives; note the frequent collocation with no: there is little or no danger.
• 1938, H.E. Palmer, A Grammar of English Words, Longmans, Green:
[subtitle] One thousand English words and their pronunciation, together with information concerning the several meanings of each word, its inflections and derivatives, and the collocations and phrases into which it enters.
• 1951, John Rupert Firth, Papers in linguistics, 1934–1951, Oxford University Press, p 194:
I propose to bring forward as a technical term, meaning by ‘collocation’, and to apply the test of ‘collocability’.
• 1968, John Rupert Firth, Frank Robert Palmer, Selected Papers of J.R. Firth, 1952–1959, Longmans, p 181:
Collocations of a given word are statements of the habitual or customary places of that word in a collocational order but not in any other contextual order and emphatically not in grammatical order
• 1995, Paul Kussmaul, Training the Translator, Benjamins Translation Library, p. 17:
The problem here was the translation of "period" by German "Periode". In describing the symptoms we may say that in connection with "Schlaf" the German word "Phase" would have been a better collocation.
• 2004, Sabine Bartsch, Structural and Functional Properties of Collocations in English: A Corpus Study of Lexical and Pragmatic Constraints on Lexical Co-Occurrence, Gunter Narr Verlag, p 30:
It is not entirely clear who was the first linguist to use the term collocation in the sense of a recurrent, relatively fixed word combination. Among the first linguists to base a theory of meaning on the notion of “meaning by collocation” is J.R. Firth (1957) who is commonly credited with systematically introducing the concept of collocation into linguistic theory.
• 2006, Tony McEnery, Richard Xiao, Yukio Tono, Corpus-Based Language Studies: An Advanced Resource Book, Taylor & Francis:
[p 56] The term collocation refers to the characteristic co-occurrence patterns of words, i.e., which words typically co-occur in corpus data (see Units A10.2 and C1). Collocates can be lexical words or grammatical words. Collocations are identified using a statistical approach. Three statistical formulae are most commonly used in corpus linguistics to identify significant collocations: the M1 (mutual information), t and z scores.
[p 159] In lexical studies collocation and semantic prosody/preference can only be quantified reliably on the basis of corpus data.
4. (mathematics) A method of determining coefficients in an expansion $y(x) = y_{0}(x) + \sum_{l=0}^{q}\alpha_{l} y_{l}(x)$ so as to nullify the values of an ordinary differential equation $L[y(x)]=0$ at prescribed points.
5. (computing) A service allowing multiple customers to locate network, server, and storage gear, connect them to a variety of telecommunications and network service providers, with a minimum of cost and complexity.
• 2011, "Tyler Durden", Zero Hedge, Watch Bernanke's Q&A With FOMC Approved Sycophants Live Here:
As usual, nothing of significance will be asked, and most certainly, answered, but do expect the dollar (and, inversely, ES) to go up, then down, then up, and so forth as random vacuum tubes blow in NYSE's ultramodern Mahwah collocation facility.