Two-level comparisons of lexical features in academic writing between native and nonnative writers and across nonnative writers

Yu X.

American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) 2018, Illinois, United States Of America, 03 March 2018

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Illinois
  • Country: United States Of America
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


ased on Contrastive Interlanguage Analysis (CIA) framework, this ongoing corpus-based study analyzes the differences of lexical features in academic writings 1) between nonnative and native English writers and 2) across nonnative writers from various language backgrounds. The International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE) and the Louvain Corpus of Native Essay Writing (LOCNESS) are employed to represent nonnative and native writings respectively. Six mother tongue backgrounds are selected from the ICLE to reveal a broader picture of nonnative English writing. Both British and American native English speakers’ writing samples are selected to represent native speakers’ characteristics in writing. The corpus of each language group consists of 100 essays. Seven hundred essays (approximately 350,000 words) are included for the entire analyses. Lexical features analyzed in the study include lexical diversity, lexical sophistication, cohesion, and lexical networks. The MTLD value from Coh-Metrix is used to measure lexical diversity. Lexical Frequency Profiles (LFP) is used to evaluate the level of lexical sophistication. Constructs from Coh-Metrix are employed to assess the level of cohesion and lexical networks. T-tests and MANOVA tests are used to compare texts from different language groups. 
By focusing on the lexical features in native and nonnative speakers’ writings, the current study is significant for 1) better understanding the lexical characteristics of learner language in academic writing; 2) identifying the gaps between nonnative speakers and their native speaking peers in academic writing; 3) detecting the potential influences from L1s; 4) developing appropriate instructional strategies for academic writing according to learner needs.
The results of the study are expected to obtain in December, 2017.