Lexical Complexity Development from Dynamic Systems Theory Perspective: Lexical Density, Diversity, and Sophistication

Article English OPEN
Reza Kalantari ; Javad Gholami (2017)
  • Publisher: Eskişehir Osmangazi University
  • Journal: International Journal of Instruction (issn: 1694-609X, eissn: 1308-1470)
  • Subject: dynamic systems theory | lexical density | lexical diversity | lexical sophistication | lexical complexity development | lexical complexity development | Education | L | Special aspects of education | LC8-6691

This longitudinal case study explored Iranian EFL learners’ lexical complexity (LC) through the lenses of Dynamic Systems Theory (DST). Fifty independent essays written by five intermediate to advanced female EFL learners in a TOEFL iBT preparation course over six months constituted the corpus of this study. Three Coh-Metrix indices (Graesser, McNamara, Louwerse, & Cai, 2004; McNamara & Graesser, 2012), three Lexical Complexity Analyzer indices (Lu, 2010, 2012; Lu & Ai, 2011), and four Vocabprofile indices (Cobb, 2000) were selected to measure different dimensions of LC. Results of repeated measures analysis of variance (RM ANOVA) indicated an improvement with regard to only lexical sophistication. Positive and significant relationships were found between time and mean values in Academic Word List and Beyond-2000 as indicators of lexical sophistication. The remaining seven indices of LC, falling short of significance, tended to flatten over the course of this writing program. Correlation analyses among LC indices indicated that lexical density enjoyed positive correlations with lexical sophistication. However, lexical diversity revealed no significant correlations with both lexical density and lexical sophistication. This study suggests that DST perspective specifies a viable foundation for analyzing lexical complexity
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