Search news reports for collocations using Monco

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I have mentioned in the past a number of collocation tools I use with my students, but I recently came across another great tool using English news reports as the corpus. Monco is free and is fairly simple to use. Here is how it works:

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  • Type in your word or words. For example, you could just type in the word station to see the collocations with that word. You can also see collocations using multiple words. In this case, you may want to tell Monco how many words you will allow between your two or so words. For example, I want to see the collocations using the words hand and over. Since their could be phrases such as hand that over or hand the bag over, I will slide the Slop slider to 2 to allow for up to 2 words between hand and over. Click on the green search button to start the search (this can take a while).

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  • Once the search is done, the first thing you will see is a pie chart showing the top 10 collocates with your words.

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  • Just below the chart, you will get a list of the collocates. Monco using an algorithm to score the collocates based on positions and frequency. You will also find the part of speech (PoS) listed at the end.

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  • Click on one of the green links and a box will come up showing more details about the collocate. In this case, we can see the idiom hand over fist. Click on the phrase to get a new search of that lexical item in the corpus.

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  • You will now be taken to a corpus search of that phrase. In this case, it is helpful to see that money is a common collocation to the idiom hand over fist. Students will now be able to see the verbs that go together with money hand over fistraise, lose, make, etc.

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There is actually quite a bit more to Monco, but for a simple tool for searching collocations, this does quite well.

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