English Language & Linguistics
Linguistics Challenges: Beige Hair and Blonde Cars
If blonde hair is acceptable, why not a blonde car?
A beige car is fine, so how about beige hair?
You probably had no difficulty in deciding which of these word combinations was acceptable, and which was unacceptable. But if a non-
This is a matter of what linguists call ‘collocation’, which is the tendency for words to have a preference for particular lexical (word) partnerships. Quite often there is nothing inherent in the semantics (meaning) of the words that might explain these preferences. Like our knowledge of grammatical rules, knowledge of lexical patterns such as these is usually quite unconscious; as a native speaker no-