ERIC Number: ED329120
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Apr
Subjective Word Frequency Estimates in L1 and L2.
Arnaud, Pierre J. L.
A study investigated the usefulness of non-native speakers' subjective, relative word frequency estimates as a measure of second language proficiency. In the experiment, two subjective frequency estimate (SFE) tasks, one on French and one on English, were presented to French learners of English (n=126) and American learners of French (n=87). Subjects were university students studying in France. Each group received lists of 30 words (nouns and adjectives only), drawn from published frequency lists and presented alphabetically. Instructions to rank-order the words for frequency were given to each group in its native language. Results suggest the English list was easier to rank-order. In addition, while the performance of native speakers was better than that of non-native speakers on the English list, non-natives performed slightly but not significantly better on the French list. The inconclusive results suggest that SFEs can not provide indirect second-language (L2) proficiency measures. The close relationship of the two languages is seen as a possible confounding variable. The better performance of the American students is ascribed to the selectivity of the students' home institution. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Meeting of the World Congress of Applied Linguistics sponsored by the International Association of Applied Linguistics (9th, Thessaloniki, Greece, April 15-21, 1990).