L1-L2 congruency as a criterion to identify collocations based on contrastive analysis

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In second language learning research, L1-L2 congruency refers to the similarity in form and meaning of the way a word or phrase is said between two languages. If there is low L1-L2 congruency, the learning burden of a word or phrase can be higher, and thus, such items should be focused on more in teaching to help learners avoid errors. For example, an unacceptable structure could be produced when second language learners use direct or literal translation to formulate multiword units (MWUs) in the target language. This study used L1-L2 congruency as a criterion to identify English MWUs with low congruency with their Persian equivalents to create a resource for Persian-speaking English learners. An L1-L2 contrastive analysis was conducted on a list of approximately 11,000 highfrequency MWUs. This list was translated, and the items were given ratings regarding their congruency in Persian. The results revealed that more than 65% of the items examined were incongruent with their word-for-word translations, demonstrating that L1-L2 congruency is a significant factor in selecting MWUs for Persian-speaking English learners. Since focusing on incongruent items may help learners avoid errors, the results of this study can help improve the efficacy of English acquisition by Persian-speaking learners through its identification of particular MWUs that have low congruency between the two languages
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • congruency
  • L1 influence
  • multiword units
  • collocation
  • contrastive analysis


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