VLI 6(1): González (2017)

Profiling Lexical Diversity in College-level Writing
Melanie C. González
Salem State University
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.7820/vli.v06.1.Gonzalez
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Abstract
The present paper reports on a study that examined the contribution
of lexical frequency to lexical diversity in narrative texts composed
by 119 multilingual and monolingual English-speaking students
enrolled in first-year college writing courses. The Measure of Textual
Lexical Diversity (MTLD) quantified lexical diversity and the
BNC-COCA 25 strand in Lextutor’s VocabProfile Compleat sorted
the words according to frequency band. Overall, results from statistical
analyses indicated that sample’s lexical diversity was not significantly
impacted by the use of high-frequency (1,000–3,000 bands) or
low-frequency (9,000+ bands) terms. Instead, texts showed greater
differences in the mid-frequency (3,000–9,000) bands (p < 0.05). There
were also significant differences between MTLD writers’ written
productive use of mid-frequency words. Consequently, findings suggest
that mid-frequency vocabulary may play a greater role in academic
writing quality than the attention it is typically given in the L2
writing classroom.

Keywords
second-language writing; second-language vocabulary; lexical diversity; lexical frequency; academic writing.

Citation
González, M. C. (2017). Profiling lexical diversity in college-level writing. Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 6 (1), 61–74. doi: 10.7820/vli.v06.1.Gonzalez

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