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Lexical Richness

Research on Lexical Richness

Laufer and Nation (Laufer, 1995; 1998; Laufer and Nation, 1995) state that one of the most obvious differences between second language (L2) learners and native speakers is the vocabulary used in their written productions. While native speakers use a wide range of vocabulary, most L2 learners use quite a limited range of words. Among L2 learners, the more proficient use a wider range of vocabulary than the less proficient do.

Measures of lexical richness are intended to quantify these sorts of intuitive lexical features across proficiency groups. According to Laufer and Nation (1995: 307), a measure of lexical richness can be defined as an attempt to quantify the degree to which a writer uses a large and varied vocabulary. Several studies report significant correlations between the measures of lexical richness in learners’ compositions and their holistic scores for writing quality (Arnaud, 1984; Daller & Phelan, 2007; Engber, 1995; Ferris, 1994; Linnarud, 1986; Reid, 1986).

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