Lexical sophistication across languages: a preliminary study of undergraduate writing in Arabic (L1) and English (L2)
Source of Publication
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
© 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Recent multilingual perspectives view second language writing as part of a language user’s dynamic multilingual repertoire, always occurring in the (cognitive and social) context of some first language(s), and often of first language literacy and/or use of other languages. This paper focuses on one element of written language (lexical sophistication), and examines preliminary findings about this variable across languages in a sample of undergraduate student writers in two quite divergent languages: Arabic (L1) and English (L2). Significant differences were found in students’ use of vocabulary from different frequency bands of vocabulary in their L1 writing, their writing in L2, and a sample of expert native speaker writing in each language. There was, however, little evidence for development in lexical sophistication in either language over sixteen weeks of a semester. Overall, lexical sophistication did not seem to bear a clear relation to academic achievement in either writing course, nor to previous language learning experience, except in one measure of English vocabulary. There is the possibility of a positive correlation between lexical sophistication in the two languages, although this was not significant in this study. Implications for further research are discussed.
cross-linguistic, first language writing, lexical richness, second language writing, Vocabulary
Palfreyman, David M. and Karaki, Suha, "Lexical sophistication across languages: a preliminary study of undergraduate writing in Arabic (L1) and English (L2)" (2019). All Works. 2252.
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