2.3.2. Research on collocations……………………………………………………….44
2.4. Noticing, Awareness and Attention in Learning Collocations………………….47
2.5. Problems in Collocation Production……………………………………………..49
2.6. Vocabulary Retention……………………………………………………………50
2.7. Summary…………………………………………………………………………51
CHAPTER3: METHODOLOGY
3.0. Introduction………………………………………………………………………52
3.1. The Design of the Study………………………………………………………….52
3.2. Participants……………………………………………………………………….53
3.3. Materials ………………………………………………………………………….53
3.3.1. Concordance Software for Text Analysis……………………………………..54
3.3.2. Testing Instruments…………………………………………………………….54
3.3.2.1. The Self-report and Collocation Pre-test…………………………………….54
3.3.2.2. Immediate Collocation Retention Post-test………………………………….54
3.3.2.3. Delayed Collocation Retention Post-test ……………………………………55
3.3.3. Questionnaires …………………………………………………………………55
3.4. Procedure…………………………………………………………………………57
3.4.1. Week 1: Self-report Collocation Pretest/ Comparison Session………………..58
3.4.2. Week 3: Immediate Collocation Retention Post-test…………………………..59
3.4.4. Delayed Collocation Retention Post-test………………………………………59
3.5. Methods of Analyzing Data……………………………………………………..60
3.6. Scoring……………………………………………………………………………61
3.7. Summary………………………………………………………………………….61
CHAPTER4: RESULTS AND DATA ANALYSIS

4.0. Introduction………………………………………………………………………62
4.1. Data Analysis and Findings …………………………………………………….62
4.1.1. The descriptive Analysis of the Data…………………………………………..62
4.1.2. Inferential Analysis of the Data………………………………………………..66
4.2. Results of the Hypothesis Testing………………………………………………..68
4.3. Summary………………………………………………………………………….68
CHAPTER5: DISCUSSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
5.0. Introduction……………………………………………………………………….69
5.1. General Discussion………………………………………………………………..69
5.1.1. Discussion of the Findings Gained by the Questionnaire……………………..70
5.2. Implications of the Study…………………………………………………………71
5.2.1. Theoretical Implications………………………………………………………..71
5.2.2. Pedagogical Implications……………………………………………………….71
5.3. Limitations of the Study…………………………………………………………..72 5.4. Suggestions for Further Research………………………………………………..73
5.5. Summary ………………………………………………………………………….73
REFRENCES…………………………………………………………………………74
LIST OF APPENDICES
Appendix A: Oxford Placement Test (OPT)…………………………………………90
Appendix B: Self-report Collocation Pretest …………………………………………96
Appendix C: Pretest Administered for Participants of Both Groups (Exactly the same test was given for immediate and delayed post-tests)………………………………..96

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Appendix D: Post-test Administered for Participants of Both Groups ……………….97
Appendix E: Questionnaire……………………………………………………………98
List of Tables
Title Page
Table 2.1. Comparison of reformulation and direct correction …………………….. 15
Table 3.1. Data collection procedure of the study ……………………………………58
Table 4.1. Group Statistics for the Delayed Post-test…………………………………63
Table 4.2. Group Statistics for the Immediate Post-test………………………………63
Table 4.3. Correlations Between the Pretest and Delayed Post-test of Experimental Group…64
Table 4.4. Correlations Between the Pre and Delayed Post-test of Control Group….64
Table 4.5. Correlations Between Pre and Immediate Post-test of Experimental Group and Control Group…………………………………………………………………….65
Table 4.6. Correlations Between Pre and Immediate Post-test of Control Group ….65
Table 4.7.Independent-samples t-test for Immediate Post-test……………………….66
Table 4.8. Independent-samples t-test for Delayed Post-test…………………………67
Chapter one
Introduction
1.0. Introduction
Achieving the goals of L2 collocation instruction is no easy matter. Even a well-planned collocation lesson based on contemporary pedagogical principles cannot guarantee that learners will acquire the natural co-occurrence of words that is taught.
For anyone teaching or learning a foreign language, collocation is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating challenges that they will encounter, but nevertheless can be frustrating at times. Equally, for those who are into researching foreign language collocation knowledge, learning and retention. Within the last few years learning collocations has become of paramount significance and the focus of an overwhelming majority of research studies. The pivotal aim of the researches carried out in the field has been investigating the factors and variables, which contribute to successful collocation learning, and ways of storing the most possible collocations in long-term memory.
During the last decades the area of foreign language learning has been marked by a true explosion of research into collocation learning strategies that emanated from the first attempt at pinpointing reasons why some learners achieve better results in collocation learning and retention than their peers. Accordingly, wide-ranging volumes of research in collocation learning have been published in the last 20 years or so, but not all of them have reported sufficient collocation knowledge among EFL learners and have rarely embraced dedicated studies investigating into the impact of using Noticing-Reformulation technique on collocation knowledge and retention.
The role of memory is also crucial in any kind of learning and collocation learning and retention are no exception. According to the above-described continuum, learning of collocations is not linear. Learners, without fail, forget some components of knowledge. Hence, there should be tasks which can encourage long-term retention of collocations.
On the basis of available research results, it is probably safe to say that not everyone would deny the significance of noticing in converting input into intake. Regarding the aforementioned issue, learning and retention of collocations have always sustained defeat. When obtaining new information, most of it is forgotten immediately, after which the process of forgetting slows down.
All in all, traditional teaching of collocations seems to be a slow and inefficient process which does not necessarily imply long-term retention. Explicit vocabulary teaching via Noticing-Reformulation technique may be an alternative to traditional instruction. Because it might be able to ensure that lexical development in the target language follows a systematic and logical path. However, the contribution and effect of Noticing-Reformulation technique on collocation learning is still under dispute.
One of the chief assumptions of my study is that a teacher’s knowledge of how to teach collocations is also a very influential factor in foreign language vocabulary learning and retention. It is also a criterion which should not be eliminated from the process of learning. It has become apparent, on the basis of the above-mentioned argumentations, to all subjects involved in the processes of language learning, that collocation learning cannot rely on implicit incidental learning or traditional teaching. Here I shall mention that my proposal does not contradict the findings of learners’ autonomy in language learning. I only see when our students fail to learn, the balance of failure is shifted one way and only rests on our students’ shoulders. The advocates of this view- not disputing the significance of acquiring grammatical- syntactical structures- have begun to insist on more explicit collocation teaching.
The underlying issue is that some scholars argue the heart of language comprehension and use is the lexicon. Nearly the same idea was shared by Lewis (2000) who expresses that “the single most important task facing language learners is acquiring a sufficient large vocabulary”.
Many higher education faculty members and EFL teachers find themselves with the opportunity or requirement to teach English collocations, but how can they design and develop an effective way to develop the skill for teaching them? It is difficult to find an answer to this question, due to a lack of a clear theoretical framework to guide instructional interventions. Accordingly, teaching collocations has always been disregarded in EFL classes. English Collocations in Use (McCarthy &O’Dell) for self-study and classroom use is sometimes used for pedagogic treatment of collocations in the classroom, however, they haven’t reached a consensus on how to teach it in a more effective way. Learners, meanwhile, often use the aforementioned book for self-study, but the net results may not always be a success. I want to teach collocations in a way which can potentially help students focus their attention on language lexicon.
I therefore sat Noticing-Reformulation tasks to increase the likelihood that they would attend to lexicon in both input and their foreign language output. I hoped that this attention would lead to learning and retention of collocations with their subsequent use in learners’ language production. In order to perceive how this may come about, I decided to illustrate and consider the ideas of noticing and intake in second language acquisition, foreign language learning theories and in classroom studies.
1.1. Theoretical Framework
Findings of the researches conducted in the domains of cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics had reverberations in the area of foreign language vocabulary acquisition. In this section, I first begin by outlining the basic components of a theoretical framework for understanding the interdependent nature of noticing and learning. Then I briefly lay out the literature on Noticing in EFL and SLA studies to situate my study within research in the realm of those studies which have investigated different factors and variables affected by noticing. At last, I am going to discuss the major underpinnings of second and foreign language collocation research.
At the outset, it is of prime significance to mention that the theoretical underpinning of this study anchors in Schmidt’s (1990) perspectives of learning which emphasize the crucial role of Noticing that roots in cognitive psychology in the process of learning.
In one perspective, Schmidt (1990, p. 132) argues that “noticing thus refers to private experience, although noticing can be operationally defined as availability for verbal report, subject to certain conditions”. He also considers noticing a necessary and sufficient condition for learning and rejects subliminal learning. Such a claim may imply that what is learnt through noticing is expected to be converted into intake by the individual.
Inspired by cognitive psychologists’ interest in the studies of consciousness, but asserting a substantial role for attention in learning, staunch advocates of noticing and its dissenters narrowed their focus down to the study of noticing in foreign and second language learning. Many of the studies have grounded their framework on manifold of premises concerning how individuals orient their attention to a particular stimulus and notice a particular feature in the input.
For instance, Schmidt (1990, p.129) summarizes the psychological research on the topic of consciousness and investigates three main questions in second language learning concerning the role of consciousness. The questions are:
” whether conscious awareness at the level of ‘noticing’ is necessary for language learning ( the subliminal learning issue); whether it is necessary to consciously ‘pay attention in order to learn (the incidental learning issue); and whether learner hypotheses based on input are the result of conscious insight and understanding or an unconscious process of abstraction”.
Beginning with these premises, the first generation of cognitive psychologists and scholars gave their analytic attention to describing learning under conscious and unconscious conditions. Findings from these scholarly works have revealed both support and opposition to the role of consciousness in language learning. Evidence from this scholarly arena suggests that the role of noticing on language learning still needs more investigation.
As the last point in this section, it seems crucial to say that the research on collocation is twofold. It has been carried out within two various but sometimes somewhat interlocking traditions which can be referred to as the frequency-based and the phraseological traditions. In the former, frequency and statistics are intrinsic ingredients in the analysis of textual instantiations of collocation. In the latter, phraseological tradition, work on collocation is guided by syntactic and semantic analyses.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
In the last two decades, English collocations have gained popularity and have become of major concern in EFL learning and teaching context. A growing body of researchers has become aware of the significance of collocations and the necessity of teaching collocations in EFL courses. They mentioned some of the advantages of learning collocations which include but are not limited to: ameliorating learners’ language and communicative competence as well as improving their fluency and accuracy. As a result, teaching and learning collocations is necessary in EFL courses.
Many of the previous studies (Farghal & Obiedat, 1995; Shei & Pain, 2000) reported that EFL learners made collocation errors in their writing and speaking as a result of a paucity in their collocational competence. Unfortunately, little research has been conducted in EFL and ESL context to tackle this issue. The review of the literature on collocations reveals that no study to this date has looked into the impact of using Noticing- Reformulation tasks on the retention of English collocations.
Several scholars have reported that the problem with collocation learning is that collocations do not catch learners’ attention effectively (Woolard, 2000), but no treatment has ever been suggested. Unfortunately, collocations have not yet been presented in specialized context within Noticing-Reformulation tasks to be attended and learnt better. They have never been taught as a separate subject in language classes although it plays a substantial role in foreign language learning. All in all, it makes learners’ oral and written language production more native-like and decreases foreignness.
My motive for conducting this study at the level of language schools was that in our language institutes, no attention is usually paid to teaching and learning collocations and if any, appropriate ways of presenting them to our students have never been taken into account. After all, many of our teachers are still perplexed when they hear their students complain about not being able to learn and use collocations.
Occasionally, Iranian EFL learners complain about the difficulty of remembering the natural co-occurrence of words. In writing, for example, they show to be weak in using the appropriate collocations (Eliasi & Vahidi Borji, 2013b). This study is conducted to give the chance to EFL teachers and learners to be able to learn collocations better and retain them for a long time. The present study aims at considering the effect of using task types (noticing-reformulation)on the retention of colocations.
1.3. Significance and Purpose of the Study
Owing to its paramount significance, English language learning plays an important part in educational curriculum in Iran. Special attention has long been given to it in our society and many are interested in it. The findings of the present study can be both theoretically and practically significant to those interested in the field. Such a study can be used at macro and micro levels and can provide information to language planners, policy makers, textbook developers, curriculum designers, language teachers, language learners and their parents.
To make the present study more significant, there has been no single volume of work focused solely on researching the effects of using Noticing- Reformulation technique on the retention of English collocations. Moreover, no study has ever investigated the issue in an EFL context like Iranian language schools. Particular attributes of language learning in Iran makes the research in this area valid and important. To put it more straightforwardly, an overwhelming majority of EFL learners in Iran have substantial problems with learning collocations due to manifold of reasons. Teachers spend most of the class time teaching grammar or single words disregarding collocations needed for successful communication. That is why students use collocation equivalents translated from Persian into English as they do not know what exactly they should use.
In our language schools, learners’ problem with collocations is still unsolved. It is usually transferred from lower levels to higher levels. To exacerbate the problem, language teachers also disregard teaching collocations. That might be why language learners usually report serious problems using collocations although they seem not to have as much problem understanding them.
The present study aims at looking into the outcome of using a set of psychological procedures and techniques in teaching collocations at a language school spoken course in I. R. Iran. It also means to find out whether exploiting task types (noticing-reformulation)would yield better acquisition of collocations and retention results among Iranian low intermediate EFL learners than utilization of traditional explicit teaching of collocations in paper-based texts through bilingual word lists and mechanical exercises. The specific objective of this study is to point out possible difficulties Iranian EFL learners have with English collocations. In our language schools one of the most crucial language-learning problems may be retention of various features of a foreign language lexicon learnt inside the classrooms. In this respect the crucial problem may be that of inappropriate feedback and noticing paucity, which means learners’ newly observed input may not always be internalized.
1.4. Research Questions of the Study
In the line of the research direction that has investigated the scope of noticing in the teaching of collocations, the present study seeks to investigate the following research question:
RQ: Do task types (noticing-reformulation) have any effect on Iranian upper- Intermediate EFL Learners’ retention of collocations?
1.5. Hypotheses of the Study
The present study concentrates on the following research hypothesis:
H0: Task types (noticing-reformulation) do not have any effect on Iranian upper- Intermediate EFL Learners’ retention of collocations.
1.6. Definitions of Key Terms
To provide the readership with a brief explanation of the operational key terms presented in the study and prevent any ambiguity, I decided to define the under mentioned terms:
1.6.1.Collocation
The term collocation has been defined differently by different scholars. For instance, Shehata (2008) described the origin of the term collocation stating that “the origin of the term collocation is the Latin verb collocare, which means to set in order/to arrange”. It is to be mentioned that the term collocation was introduced by Firth (1957) who defined it as “the company that words keep” (p.183). McCarthy (1990) argued that “the relationship of collocation is fundamental in the study of vocabulary, and collocation is an important organizing principle in the vocabulary of any language” (p.12).
1.6.2. Noticing
Today, there is a general consensus among researchers that noticing is a prerequisite for learning (e.g. Schmidt, 1990, 2001; Robinson, 1995; Schmidt & Frota, 1986). Schmidt (1990, 1995, 2001) defined noticing as the ”allocation of attentional resources to a stimulus and [the identification of] the level at which perceived events are subjectively experienced”. Schmidt also defined noticing in other words claiming that “noticing is the necessary and sufficient condition for converting input into intake” (1990, p. 129). Robinson (1995, p. 296) defined the term noticing to mean “detection plus rehearsal in short-term memory, prior to encoding in long-term memory”.
1.6.3. Reformulation
Cohen (1983, p. 4) defined reformulation as “having a native writer of the target language rewrite the learner’s essay, preserving all the learner’s ideas, making it sound as nativelike as possible”.
1.6.4. Task
The notion of task has been interpreted differently by different scholars. Among all Ellis (2003, p. 16) claimed that:
“A task is a work plan that requires learners to process language pragmatically in order to achieve an outcome that can be evaluated in terms of whether the correct or appropriate propositional content has been conveyed. To this end, it requires them to give primary attention to meaning and to make use of their own linguistic resources, although the design of the task may predispose them to choose particular forms. A task is intended to result in language use that bears a resemblance, direct or indirect, to the way language is used in the real world. Like other language activities, a task can engage productive or receptive, and oral or written skills and also various cognitive processes”.
1.6.5. Intake
Intake is defined as “a process that mediates between target language input and the learner’s internalized set of rules” (Gass, 1988, p. 206). Schmidt (1990, p. 139) claimed that intake is simply “that part of the input that the learner notices”.
1.6.6. Noticing the Gap
Noticing the gap is a process that happens when the language learner makes a comparison between his or her original language production and the teacher’s output and then perceives that his or her inter language is different from the target language (Schmidt & Frota, 1986). According to Doughty (1990, p. 21) noticing the gap is a concept used to elaborate language learners’ reflection on “the difference between what they themselves can or have said and what it is more competent speakers of the target language say instead to convey the same intention under the same social conditions”.
1.6.7. Retention
It is axiomatic that in the domain of vocabulary and collocation learning, the problem is not just learning the natural co-occurrence of words; rather it is remembering them. Remembering collocations or in other words, Collocation retention has been defined as:
“the ability to recall or remember things after an interval of time. In language teaching, retention of what has been taught (e.g. grammar rules and vocabulary) may depend on the quality of teaching, the interest of the learners, or the meaningfulness of the materials” (Richards & Schmidt, 2002, p. 457).
1.7. Summary
This chapter discussed the main framework of the study. First, it discussed the theoretical framework of the research proceeded by an introduction. Second, it attempted to mention the potential problems underlying the issue under investigation. Third, it made an attempt to present the significance and purpose of the study which aimed at initiating the importance of conducting such a research study. Fourth, the research question for which the research was done was presented. Fifth, the hypothesis of the study was mentioned. The last part of the current chapter embraced the description of the operational key terms used in the study.

Chapter Two
Review of the Literature
2.0. Introduction
Chapter two of this study concerns itself with an overview of the theoretical background of the study along with a review of the studies that have been carried out in the field. At the beginning of this chapter, it will consider feedback research into second language acquisition. In addition, this chapter will discuss psycholinguistic processes in second language acquisition and empirical studies on noticing, awareness, attention etc. These studies include those which have been conducted in EFL/ESL situation from the 1990’s to recent experimental studies. It also aims at reflecting the results of cognitive psychology and SLA research.
Recent collocational studies specially those which investigated into the role of psychological processes like noticing, awareness and attention in second language acquisition and foreign language learning are also talked over.
2.1. Feedback Research in SLA
Recent developments in the field of language and technology have led to a growing interest in conducting studies that can provide opportunities for language learning via the mistakes and errors language learners usually make in their oral or written output.
In this respect there is a renewed interest in the effect of feedback type on language acquisition and learning. Accordingly, loads of research studies have been carried out on the role of feedback in SLA, which will be discussed later in this chapter.
2.1.1. The role of feedback in SLA
Feedback on EFL/ESL students’ writing has long been a matter of concern to both language teachers and researchers. In the growing empirical literature, many methods of providing feedback for L2 writing have been challenged. These methods include: peer review (Mendoca & Johnson, 1994; Paulus, 1999; Zhang, 1995), teacher written corrections (Hedgecock & Lefkowitz, 1994; Kepner, 1991), and teacher-learner oral writing conferences (Hyland, 2000; Kassen, 1988; Shi, 1998). The aforementioned studies have questioned the validity of assumptions about second language writing. Some researchers questioned the usefulness of traditional feedback, claiming that it can be discouraging to L2 learners (Hyland, 1998). Papers given back to students are covered by marks making them seem overwhelming, and not every teacher is able to truly balance positive and negative feedback (Hedgecock & Lefkowitz, 1994). In traditional feedback methods, teachers mark only what is incorrect in learners’ work and provide them with only negative evidence (Kassen, 1988) ignoring the positive evidence necessary for refining inter language Hypothesis.
The role of interactional feedback in Second language Acquisition has recently become of prime significance and the focal of much SLA research. Interactional feedback is defined as the feedback that is generated through different modification strategies. Such modification strategies occur while dealing with communication problems. (Gass, 1997; Long, 1981, 1983; Pica, 1987, 1994). William (2003) argues that “the goal of feedback is to teach skills that help students improve their writing proficiency to the point where they are cognizant of what is expected of them as writers and are able to produce it with minimal error and maximum clarity” (p. 1). He proposes two classifications of feedback. feedback on form, in which teachers provide learners with surface error corrections by underlying or marking errors to show only their presence; and feedback on content, where the teacher writes his comments on drafts pointing out problems offering suggestions for their improvement. On one hand, it can be concluded that feedback on form can be unclear and inconsistent. on the other hand, as stated by Williams, comments made by writing teachers regarding feedback on content, can be “vague, contradictory and inconsistent”, which leads students to frustration (2003, p. 1). One way to solve this problem is that teachers should employ a “standard of clear and direct comments and questions to indicate place and type of content feedback” (2003, p. 1). A large number of experimental and observational researches have addressed the role of interactional feedback in second language (L2) acquisition. (e.g., Braidi, 2002; Doughty & Varela, 1998; Philp, 2003). In general, these researches have shown that L2 learners may reap the benefit of interactional feedback. Nevertheless, many studies documented mixed results for interactional feedback. For instance, some observational studies have shown that recasts as a type of corrective feedback lead to a significant amount of immediate repair of learners’ erroneous language production (e.g., Mori, 2002; Sheen, 2004), other studies demonstrated that recasts lead to a minimal amount of immediate repair of erroneous utterances (e.g., Lyster, 2004).
In the SLA literature, much of the argument for the role of interactional feedback was developed by Long’s Interaction Hypothesis as well as the significant role of negotiation in inter language development (Long, 1996). Gass (2003) defines negotiation as interactional modifications that occur in conversational discourse for repairing repair communication failures. Interactional feedback also plays an important role in providing learners with negative feedback and promoting noticing. Interactional feedback may also be helpful to L2 development because it opens up opportunities for pushed output. Swain argued that learners “need to be pushed to make use of their resources; they need to have their linguistic abilities stretched to their fullest; they need to reflect on their output and consider ways of modifying it to enhance comprehensibility, appropriateness, and accuracy” (Swain, 1993, p. 160). Some studies have also suggested that interactional negotiation like clarification requests creates opportunities for pushed output. These opportunities are indeed offered by forcing learners to modify their non target like language production toward being more accurate (Lyster, 2004; McDonough, 2005).
Reformulations and elicitations are two major types of interactional feedback that have recently become the focus of much SAL research. Many empirical, observational as well as experimental studies have been conducted in this field. A fairly advantageous technique for providing feedback is that of reformulation technique which was born as a result of error analysis in the 1970’s. Levenston (1978) proposed the idea of reconstruction and mentioned that the reconstructed version of a sentence is “what a native speaker of the target language would have said to express a certain meaning in a certain context, it was a translated equivalent” (in Myers, 1997, p. 2). Levenston (1978) suggested that rhetorical factors other than only grammar should be taken into account in the process of reformulation. The reformulator should “re-write the paper so as to preserve as many of the writer’s ideas as possible, while expressing them in his/her own words so as to make the piece sound native-like” (Cohen , 1989 in Myers 1997, p. 2).
Reformulation is defined as an interactional feedback that rephrases the learner’s erroneous utterance into a target like form (e.g., Ellis et al., 2001; Lyster & Ranta, 1997; Mackey & Philip, 1998). Cohen (1983) defines reformulation as a technique of ‘having a native writer of the target language rewrite the learner’s essay, preserving all the learner’s ideas, making it sound as native like as possible’ (p. 4) rather than merely pointing out errors for them. Hedge (2000) argues reformulation constitutes “a useful procedure when students have produced a first draft and are moving on to look at more local possibilities for improvement” (p. 313). Learners are required to have a comparison of their original writing and the reformulated version “with regard to vocabulary, syntax, cohesion, and rhetorical functions” (Cohen, 1983, p. 5). Reformulation as defined by All wright consists in:
“… an attempt by a native writer to understand what a non-native writer is trying to say and then to re-write it in more natural to the native writer. This rewriting involves making changes of any kind and at all levels: syntax, lexis, cohesion and discourse functions, but the point of any such changes must be to respect and bring out the original writer’s probable intentions. A reformulation therefore is intended to offer a sympathetic reader’s interpretation in acceptable English, of the original writer’s text” (1986, p. 111).
Ellis (2009) argues that “reformulation involves two options ‘direct correction’ + ‘revision’ but it differs from how these options are typically executed in that the whole of the student’s text is reformulated thus laying the burden on the learner to identify the specific changes that have been made”. Thorn bury (1997) classifies reformulation technique as being task?based because it reverses the traditional practice of accuracy to fluency model.
Sachs & Polio (2007) compared reformulation with direct error correction. According to them, the main different between these two types of feedback was “a matter of presentation and task demands and was not related to the kinds of errors that were corrected”. They provided the difference in presentation in the example below.

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