Analyses and comparisons of linguistic complexities in the last two decades of university entrance English exams in China and Turkey: A corpus-based study

Yu X.

British Association for Applied Linguistics 2021, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 9 - 10 September 2021, pp.163

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Page Numbers: pp.163
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Based on corpus data, this study aimed to conduct multi-dimensional analyses and comparisons of linguistic complexities between the high-stakes university entrance English exams in China and Turkey over the past 20 years. For the subcorpus of China, forty-two sets of the target English exams were collected; meanwhile, twenty sets of the English exams were collected to form the subcorpus of Turkey. Employing the quantitative research method, the lexical and syntactic complexity of the target corpus were examined from a longitudinal perspective and compared between the two countries. The results showed that both the lexical and syntactic complexity of the exams in the two countries over the past 20 years have not transformed significantly, which may indicate the stagnation regarding the enhancement of the exam designing despite various reforms in the curricula and educational policies in both countries. Although the lexical complexity levels of both countries’ exams have slightly increased over the years, the exams in Turkey showed more waving changes between the years compared to the gradual increase in the lexical complexity level of the exams in China. With respect to the comparison between the two countries’ exams, the findings showed that the exams in China presented significantly higher levels of lexical density and diversity; whereas the exams in Turkey revealed a significantly higher level of lexical sophistication. The comparison regarding the syntactic complexity demonstrated a more mixed variation between the two countries. The findings were further discussed in line with the existing literature; additionally, suggestions were offered to shed light on the potential improvement regarding the exam designing and policymaking in both countries.