Collocations in Marine Engineering English

Mirjana Borucinsky, Jana Kegalj


Collocations are very frequent in the English language (Hill, 2000), and they are probably the most common and most representative of English multi-word expressions (Lewis, 2000). Furthermore, as a subset of formulaic sequences, collocations are considered to be a central aspect of communicative competence (Nation, 2001). Hence, the importance of teaching collocations in General English (GE) as well as in English for Specific Purposes (ESP) is undeniable. Understanding and determining the relevant collocations and their mastery are of “utmost importance to a ME instructor” (Cole et al., 2007, p. 137), and collocations are one of the most productive ways of enriching vocabulary and terminology in modern ME.

Vişan & Georgescu (2011) have undertaken a relevant study on  collocations and “collocational competence” on board ships, including mostly nautical terminology. However, no substantial work on collocations in Marine Engineering English as a sub-register of ME has been carried out. Hence, this paper tries to determine the most important collocations in Marine Engineering English, based on a small corpus of collected e-mails. After determining the most relevant collocations, we suggest how to implement these in the language classroom and how to improve the collocational competence of marine engineering students.


Maritime English, collocations, language teaching, collocational competence, Marine Engineering English, corpus-based study

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