Tuncer Aydemir, Ali Şükrü Özbay, Mustafa Zeki Çıraklı


Near-synonyms are semantically similar words, but they are not always interchangeable, having a variety of collocational and semantic behaviours. Tertiary level EFL learners’ use of near synonyms demonstrates significant differences in terms of word choices. This article investigates (1) the level of semantic prosodic (SP) awareness in EFL learners, (2) the correlation between their SP awareness and English proficiency levels, (3) the ways EFL learners use semantic prosodic features in their speech and written productions and how they cope with challenges in SP and (4) the factors affecting their SP knowledge. The data were analysed quantitively and qualitatively. A proficiency test, a semantic prosody test, an open-ended questionnaire and a structured interview were used respectively. The findings reveal that learners’ SP knowledge correlates with language proficiency, but their awareness levels have little to do with the proficiency. One implication for the curriculum developers is that they should consider including relevant content related to the semantic prosody in syllabi so that the students will be able to create semantically relevant sentences like their native counterparts.

Article visualizations:

Hit counter


semantic prosody, prosodic awareness, collocations, near synonyms, EFL learners

Full Text:



Ahmadian M., H. Yazdani, and A. Darabi. 2011. Assessing English Learners' Knowledge of Semantic Prosody Through a Corpus-driven Design of Semantic Prosody Test. English Language Teaching 4 (4): 288-298.

Baker P., A. Hardie, and A. McEnery. 2006. A Glossary of Corpus Linguistics. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press.

Bublitz, W. 1996. Semantic Prosody and Cohesive Company: Somewhat Predictable. Leuvense Bijdragen: Tijdschrift voor Germaanse Filologie 85 (1-2): 1-32.

Çıraklı, M. Z. 2018. Editorial. Theory of Postromantic Education in the Postmodernist Era: Maxims. Journal Narrative and Language Studies 6 (11): 1-4.

Dam-Jensen, H., and K. K. Zethsen. 2008. “Translator Awareness of Semantic Prosodies.” Target 20 (2): 203-21.

Fan, P. 2010. Lexical Acquisition Viewed from a Contrastive Analysis of Collocational Behaviour of Near Synonyms. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics 33 (5): 52-64.

Firth, J. R. 1957. Papers in Linguistics. London: Oxford University Press.

Greenbaum, S. 1974. Some Verb-Intensifier Collocations in American and British English. American Speech 49 (1): 79-89.

Harris, M., S. Gries, and V. Miglio. 2014. Prosody and Its Application to Forensic Linguistics. Linguistic Evidence in Security, Law and Intelligence 2 (2): 11-29.

Hoey, M. 1991. Patterns of Lexis in Text. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hoey, M. 2000. A World Beyond Collocation: New Perspectives on Vocabulary Teaching. In Teaching Collocation: Further Developments in the Lexical Approach, edited by M. Lewis, 224-243. Hove: Language Teaching Publications.

Hunston, S. 2002. Corpora in Applied Linguistics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Hunston, S. 2007. Semantic Prosody Revisited. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 12 (2): 249-68.

Leopold, C., R. Mayer, and S. Dutke. 2018. The power of imagination and perspective in learning from science text. Journal of Educational Psychology 111 (5): 1-28.

Louw, B. 1993. “Irony in the Text or Insincerity in the Writer? The Diagnostic Potential of Semantic Prosodies.” In Text and Technology: In Honour of John Sinclair, edited by M. Baker, G. Francis, and E. Tognini-Bonelli, 157–175. Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins.

Louw, B. 2000. Contextual Prosodic Theory: Bringing Semantic Prosodies to Life. In Words in Context: A Tribute to John Sinclair on his Retirement, edited by C. Heffer, and H. Sauntson, 41-55. Birmingham: University of Birmingham.

McGee, I. 2012. Should We Teach Semantic Prosody Awareness? RELC Journal 43 (2): 169-186.

Murphy, M. L. 2003. Semantic Relations and the Lexicon, CUP, Cambridge.

Nevisi, R. B., R. M. Hosseinpur, and F. Z. Darvish. 2019. The Impact of L1/L2-Based Explicit Output Task Instruction on Iranian EFL Learners’ Semantic Prosody Learning. Language Horizons 2 (2): 51-74.

Özbay, A.Ş. and T. Aydemir. 2017. The Use of Maximizers and Semantic Prosodic Awareness of Tertiary Level Turkish EFL Learners. Journal of Education and Practice 8: 40-50.

Partington, A. 1998. Patterns and Meanings. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: Benjamins.

Philip, G. 2010. Why prosodies aren’t always present: Insights into the idiom principle. University Centre for Computer Corpus Research on Language. (As of April 15, 2020, listed on its website http://ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/publications/cl2009/317FullPaper.rtf).

Siepmann, D. 2005. Collocation, colligation and encoding dictionaries. Part I: Lexicological aspects. International Journal of Lexicography 18 (4): 409-433.

Sinclair, J. 1987. An Account of the COBUILD Project in Lexical Computing and the Development of the Collins COBUILD English Language Dictionary. London, England: Collins.

Sinclair, J. 1991. Corpus, Concordance, Collocation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sinclair, J. 2004. Trust the Text. London: Routledge.

Stubbs, M. 1995. Collocations and Semantic Profiles: On the Cause of the Trouble with Quantitative Studies. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Stubbs, M. 2002. Two quantitative methods of studying phraseology in English. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics 7: 215-244.

Xiao, Z., and A. McEnery. 2006. Collocation, Semantic Prosody and Near Synonymy: A Cross-linguistic Perspective. Applied Linguistics 27 (1): 103-199.

Vygotsky, L. S. 2004. Imagination and Creativity in Childhood. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology 42: 7–97.

Zhang, C. 2010. An Overview of Corpus-Based Studies of Semantic Prosody. Asian Social Science 6 (6): 190-196.

Zhang, W. 2009. Semantic Prosody and ESL/EFL Vocabulary Pedagogy. TESL Canada Journal 26 (2): 1-12.

Zhang, R., and B. Y. Ooi (2008) A Corpus-based Analysis of ‘qing’: A Contrastive-semantic Perspective. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies, Hangzhou, China, September 25-27.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejel.v6i4.3783


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright © 2015 - 2023. European Journal of English Language Teaching (ISSN 2501-7136) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing GroupAll rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms.

All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).