DOI: 10.1515/iral-2023-0204 ISSN: 0019-042X

A cross-modal analysis of lexical sophistication: EFL and ESL learners in written and spoken production

Hyunbin Yoo, Hyunwoo Kim
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


The present study investigated the effects of two usage-related factors – modality (written vs. spoken) and language learning contexts (EFL vs. ESL) – on lexical sophistication in second language (L2) production. We measured 14 features of lexical sophistication in written and spoken texts produced by EFL and ESL learners with matched proficiency. The results showed significant interactions of modality and L2 learning contexts in several indices. In three indices, the EFL learners used more sophisticated words in writing than in speaking. In six indices, the gaps of lexical sophistication scores between writing and speaking were greater for the EFL than the ESL group. The conjoined effects of these factors are argued to stem from disparity in the amount and type of L2 input provided in EFL and ESL contexts.

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