Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 648-9):
At the same time there are other instances of lexical cohesion that do not depend on any general semantic relationship of the types just discussed, [repetition, synonymy, hyponymy, meronymy] but rather on a particular association between the items in question – a tendency to co-occur. This ‘co-occurrence tendency’ is known as collocation.
The Semantic Basis Of Collocation
Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 649):
In general, the semantic basis of many instances of collocation is the relation of enhancement, as with dine + restaurant, table; fry + pan; bake + oven. These are circumstantial relationships (for collocations involving Process + Manner: degree, e.g. love + deeply, want + badly, understand + completely, see Matthiessen, 2009b), but as the example with smoke + pipe illustrates, participant + process relationships also form the basis of collocation – the most important ones involving either Process + Range (e.g. play + musical instrument: piano, violin, etc.; grow + old) or Process + Medium (e.g. shell + peas, twinkle + star, polish + shoes); and there are also combinations involving functions in the nominal group, in particular, Epithet + Thing (e.g. strong + tea, heavy + traffic, powerful + argument) and Facet + Thing (e.g. pod + w[h]ales, flock + birds, school + fish, herd + cattle, gaggle + geese).
The Measure Of Collocation
Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 59):
The measure of collocation is the degree to which the probability of a word (lexical item) increases given the presence of a certain other word (the node) within a specified range (the span). This can be measured in the corpus.
SFL Work On Collocation
Halliday & Matthiessen (2014: 60n):
The notion of collocation was first introduced by J.R. Firth (1957) (but note Hoey, 2005), and gained wide acceptance, particularly in work based on corpus analysis, as in the Birmingham tradition, e.g. Sinclair (1987, 1991), Coulthard (1993), Hoey (2005) and Cheng et al. (2009). For further systemic functional accounts of collocation, see e.g. Halliday (1966b), Halliday & Hasan (1976: Section 6.4), Benson & Greaves (1992), Gledhill (2000), Tucker (2007) and Matthiessen (2009b); Matthiessen (1995a) relates collocational patterns to structural configurations such as Process + Medium, Process + Range, Process + Degree; Thing + Epithet (for a corpus-based study of Process + Degree, see Matthiessen, 2009b).