NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1155005
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0265-5322
Automated Measurement of Syntactic Complexity in Corpus-Based L2 Writing Research and Implications for Writing Assessment
Lu, Xiaofei
Language Testing, v34 n4 p493-511 Oct 2017
Research investigating corpora of English learners' language raises new questions about how syntactic complexity is defined theoretically and operationally for second language (L2) writing assessment. I show that syntactic complexity is important in construct definitions and L2 writing rating scales as well as in L2 writing research. I describe the operationalizations of syntactic complexity measurement in corpus-based L2 writing research, focusing on the Biber Tagger (Biber, Johansson, Leech, Conrad, & Finegan, 1999), Coh-Metrix (McNamara, Graesser, McCarthy, & Cai, 2014), and L2 Syntactic Complexity Analyzer (Lu, 2010), which are three tools commonly used to automate syntactic complexity analysis. A review of findings from recent corpus-based L2 writing studies on the relationship of syntactic complexity to L2 writing quality follows. I conclude with a discussion of the implications of these multiple perspectives on the definition of syntactic complexity in L2 studies.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Test of English as a Foreign Language
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A