by Horst Bogatz
"the committedly constant collector of contemporary collocations."
"Well, there's no comparison with ARCS, really, is there?"
"Next to the originator of a good dictionary is the first quoter of it."
Why must one use
a collocations dictionary?
"Collocations are hard to pin down, but bloody useful" (Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Schmid, 2014)
Aristotle postulates the unity of "physics" and "logos" and suggests it not as accidental but necessary. Nowadays Fenollosa remarks, "Nature is not made up of things (nouns) and motions (verbs), but of things which move and a motion which is only that of moving things. ... Our tendency to isolate either the motion or the location (verb or noun) reveals the limit of conceptuality already built into Western grammatology." Additionally, the description of ontology is governed by the constraints of language and culture. For example, our eyes can discern millions of colours but the English language can assign only 99 words or collocations to colours.
One possible way out of this quagmire is the forming of combinations of existing words and the subsequent assigning of these new collocations to things and concepts that human mind has discovered.
As a consequence, my collocations dictionary is based on the Platonist theory of mind, so far as concepts of a natural language which can be equated to a single word are called "lexical concepts". Modern neuroscientists may call it "patterns". But in contrast to some experts, I assume a lexical concept can consist of more than a single word. For example, "other creditors including taxation and social security" is one lexical concept that can be as precisely defined as "obligation". In addition to this, I support the theory-theory approach postulating that lexical concepts are not learned in isolation, but rather as a part of the learner's experiences together with the cultural environment. This view is backed by recent findings by Wiltgen et alia, which show that during memory retrieval the hippocampus is required for the reactivation of cortical activity patterns that occurred during encoding, but artificial reactivation of the cortical representation of a memory alone is sufficient to drive recall. (Wiltgen and colleagues, 2014). And one can become aware of the entire concept of a thing or idea when one sees or hears one of its associated features. (Glass and Holyoak 1985)
The intra-connections of entries in the ARCS simulate the approaches mentioned above.
Therefore, collocations or multi-word units are "lexical concepts".
I am well aware that many linguists would place the conception of an agreed list of English collocations in the realm of fancy as the English language is an open-ended system. It seems, then, that the list of English collocations to be counted is indefinitely large. Any attempt to define collocations only by statistical significance or textual vicinity are almost useless. One cannot rely on linguistic theories, as they are provisional and incomplete. A dogmatical solution by computers is therefore not only unsatisfactory but impossible. If one wants a solution, there is one option only: One must rely on 'intuitive observation' in selecting collocations. This means that a heavy burden falls on the author's training in the art of alert reading, and of responding to linguistic and other cues.
As early as 1957, Firth remarked that collocations have to do with "mutual expectancies of words". Additionally, "even a brief presentation of a word can activate the meaning of a related word". (Fowler, Wolford, Slade, and Tassinary 1981) When you are deep in conversation, 20 billion cells are directly engaged in information processing, each cell having up to 15,000 connections with other cells. Thus the nervous system overcomes a slow interneural transmission by neural parallelism. (Kolb, Wilshaw 1980) During a conversation, native speakers of any language will be able to intuitively predict with a high degree of certainty the occurrence of one word when they hear or read the other. If you want to avoid 'collocative clashes', i.e. combinations of words which conflict with native speakers' expectations, you must resort to the ARCS.
It is a commonplace that everybody trusts a speaker or writer who chooses word combinations like his best friends.
Where an absolute norm for collocations cannot be relied on, the establishing of a relative norm can be very useful. Luckily, advanced readers have developed an intuition of their own that enables them to pick the right collocations from the results provided by the ARCS. "Good writers acquire their craft not from memorizing rules but from reading a lot." (Steven Pinker) Short sequences, such as collocations or idioms, seem to be learned as a result of natural repetition. As ill luck would have it, "language is arbitrary and illogical and must be acquired not by logic but by brute-force memorization." (Steven Pinker)
In oral communication, the "features" of intonation as well as body language matter more than the main message. Non-native speakers lack this intuition more or less. "Non-native speakes may often be able to interpret the relation underlying such collocations when they encounter them; in language production, however, they are victims of the fact that the choice of the precise words that make up a collocation is to a large extent arbitrary." (Glaser 1986)
Each concept or word in memory has a certain level of activation. When the activation of a concept exceeds a certain threshold, the concept or word enters consciousness. Words that are semantically associated may play a role as retrieval cues in recall tasks. Typically, a collocation is learned at the conceptual level, so the production of the conceptual representation of each item activates its predecessor. Such sequences are susceptible to retrograde interference from the learning of a new sequence that contains the same items in a different order. (Briggs 1957; McGeoch 1936; Melton and Irwin 1940) Learning collocations usually does not involve something entirely new, instead, involves adding more details to a well-developed conceptual network.
The recall of a collocation requires an additional processing step that is usually not required in a recognition task. It is here where the ARCS comes in useful. The ARCS is an empowerment tool for augmented knowldege. It thus provides the right collocation and helps to avoid clumsy sentences with unusual or unacceptable word combinations. "Despite the absence of glosses, learners can nonetheless select collocations through a culling process whereby familiar words are contemplated as potential candidates and unknown words ignored." (Nicolas R. Cueto)
In the world of augmented knowledge, the ARCS is a real game-changer. It serves as an intelligence amplification that uses a computer to make speaking, writing, and translating easier for a human to perform.
"The identification, interpretation and translation of multi-word units (MWUs, i.e. collocations) still represent open challenges, both from a theoretical and a practical point of view. The low standard of analysis and translation of MWUs in translation technologies suggest that there is the need to invest in further research with the goal of improving the performance of the various translation applications.
"Multi-word units (MWUs) are a complex linguistic phenomenon, ranging from lexical units with a relatively high degree of internal variability to expressions that are frozen or semi-frozen. Such units are very frequent both in everyday language and in languages for special purposes. Their interpretation and translation sometimes present unexpected obstacles even to human translators, mainly because of intrinsic ambiguities, structural and lexical asymmetries between languages, and, finally, cultural differences."(Johanna Monti, MT Summit 2013)
Everybody is familiar with the limitations of translation. "A great deal will be lost in the translation: the new (target) language will be unable to convey the same warmth or spirit of the stories, word-play will be missing, anecdotes and jokes lack a certain punch, ceremonial expressions will not have the same alliterative or rhythmical gravity." (David Crystal, 2000) Surely every collocation has some associations - emotive, moral, ideological, etc. - in addition to its brute sense. And if translators use unfamiliar collocations, they may even unvoluntarily create an atmosphere of uneasiness or even distrust.
"Professional translation is an extremely complex process: bilingual translators of the English and German language should not only know how to translate “word for word” or "sentence for sentence" but idiomatically as well so that the complete information actually makes sense in the other language. Your English or German should not lack idiomaticity. Very often, machine translation is not even a first beginning." (H.F.B.)
One of the results of the TARAXÜ project is: "A noticeable result is that Google performs worst on the WMT corpus." Types of errors are: missing content word(s), wrong content word(s), incorrect word form(s), incorrect word order, incorret punctuation, and other errors.
"Writing abilities are among the most important business skills for a CIO, senior IT manager, or any IT person seeking a promotion." (Jody Gilbert)
TechRepublic runs a blog about English usage issues that can cost you a job interview or that makes you look stupid.
Don't look stupid and stop the loss of time by using the ARCS and become more confident and proficient. The ARCS is an indispensable adjunct to language learning and idiomatic translation. There is nothing to equal the ARCS.
"While easily mastered by native speakers, their (i.e. multiword expressions or collocations) interpretation poses a major challenge for computational systems, due to their flexible and heterogeneous nature." (Marina Santini, 2014)
"The way machines process natural language entails no understanding of it at all." (Michael Collins, 2013)
The ARCS is a promise kept. You will sound natural, avoid
critical translation mistakes and write with more
Human memory has an organization similar to that of a dictionary, although the organizing features are much more general than letters of the alphabet.
"Patterns triggered in the neocortex trigger other patterns. Partially complete patterns send signals down the conceptual hierarchy; completed patterns send signals up the conceptual hierarchy. These neocortical patterns are the language of thought. But our thoughts are not conceived primarily in the elements of language. ... The HHMM method can also include probability networks on higher levels of language structure, such as the order of words, the inclusion of phrases, collocations and whole sentences, and so on up the hierarchy of language." (Ray Kurzweil, IN: How to create a Mind, 2012)
"According to Dr. Kay, who headed up the Iraq Survey Group and acted as a weapons inspector in Iraq after the 2003 U.S. invasion, mistranslations of Arabic to English is what went wrong in 2003 when then Secretary of State Colin Powell on behalf of the Bush administration made the case to go into Iraq at the United Nations. ...Very often, as you know, with Google Translate, you get very different meanings. And in the case in 2003, what Colin Powell cited as communication intercepts in the Security Council, indeed, did not mean what we thought they meant. It was a combination of mistranslation and code words they used." (Marinka Peschmann, 2013)
The design of the ARCS imitates the processes in the brain by intra-connecting all its words semantically and conceptually (see MINDMAP). It's still the neocortex of the human translator that must decide which WMU, collocation, syntax or genre fits precisely the intention of the writer or speaker, at least as long as computers have no consciousness. In October 2014, machine-learning expert and UC Berkeley Professor Michael Jordan states: "We have no idea how neurons are storing information, how they are computing, what the rules are, what the algorithms are, what the representations are, and the like."
On the other hand, our human memories will be extended by means of the ARCS to an extreme degree. Would you, for example, be able to retrieve about 800 adjective-noun combinations of the noun "person"? Therefore, I consider the ARCS as a technological extension of our perceptions and memories.
In an associative network, pieces of information are represented at nodes connected by arcs. Arcs that return to the same node can be traversed any number of times.
With its more than 4,100 pages or 70,000 nodes (headwords), the ARCS is the most comprehensive evidence-based and corpus-based universal English collocation dictionary and thesaurus which shows how language is really used. It helps those who want their writing to be lucid and effective, because it sounds natural.
The ARCS is
the most innovative,
the most comprehensive, and, in the world,
the most time-saving dictionary of English collocations and their German or phraseological equivalents.
It is highly recomended as it has a five-star rating in the ELRA catalogue (Keyword: M0013),
it is the most innovative as it is a relational data base,
it is the most comprehensive as it intra-connects more than one million words, and because it is several times larger than the other collocation dictionaries,
As the author and inventor of this cutting-edge electronic dictionary, I have been collecting modern English collocations, i.e. authentic English word combinations, since 1980. The written sources cover a great variety of all walks of life. This universal dictionary is updated on an almost daily basis. Through this work I want to help users to speak and write natural English.
In addition, one can find German equivalents of almost all fixed collocations. Thus it is bilingual.
The ARCS is a part of the 100 million word British National Corpus.
The ARCS has been sponsored and validated by the European Union, i.e. by ELRA, the European Language Resources Agency in Paris.
Sorry, copies of Version 2012 are no longer available.
Send an e-mail to the author and pay by PayPal.
Please contact me anytime! I look forward to hearing from you.
There are special offers from the author for single-users.
Users who want to utilize the ARCS for research or business purposes will want to order the ARCS at ELDA in Paris
My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
18 -20 December 2013
For example, the ARCS 2014 provides 190 fixed collocations with the word "treatment" and their German equivalents, as well as 95 adjectives that collocate with the noun "remark".
You may want to look at some
"Translation is a change of cultural perspective." (H.B.)
"Perceptual learning shows that culture determines what we can see and cannot perceive." (Doidge)