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Sense-aware lexical sophistication indices and their relationship to L2 writing quality

November 17, 2020, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Location Online, Zoom
More Informationhttps:/‌/‌‌j/‌87118919222?pwd=V0czMTdBZHVnYTQxalhmNWQvcm0wUT09Posted InCollege of Humanities and Social Sciences

The relationship of lexical sophistication to second language (L2) proficiency and L2 production quality has received much attention in the past a few decades. Existing lexical sophistication indices have commonly relied on distributional properties (e.g., frequency, range, and association) obtained from large reference corpora and/or lexical psycholinguistic properties (e.g., concreteness) obtained from lexical/psycholinguistic databases and have not systematically accounted for the fact that many words are used with distinct senses in different contexts and that those senses may not be equally sophisticated for L2 learners. The current study addresses this research gap by proposing a small set of sense-aware lexical sophistication indices and compares their predictive power for L2 writing quality against a large set of existing lexical sophistication indices based on distributional or lexical psycholinguistic properties. Results show that the sense-aware lexical sophistication indices proposed correlated more strongly with and accounted for a larger proportion of variance in holistic scores of L2 writing quality. The implications of our findings for L2 lexical sophistication research are discussed.



Xiaofei Lu is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Asian Studies at The Pennsylvania State University. His research interests include corpus linguistics, computer assisted language learning, English for Academic Purposes, second language writing, and second language acquisition. He is the author of Computational Methods for Corpus Annotation and Analysis (Springer, 2014) and co-editor of Computational and Corpus Approaches to Chinese Language Learning (Springer, 2019). His work has appeared in American Educational Research Journal, Applied Linguistics, Computer Assisted Language Learning, Educational Researcher, English for Specific Purposes, International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, Journal of English for Academic Purposes, Journal of Pragmatics, Journal of Second Language Writing, Language Learning & Technology, Language Resources and Evaluation, Language Teaching Research, Language Testing, ReCALL, System, TESOL Quarterly, and The Modern Language Journal, among others.

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