Lexicogrammatical complexity


Lexicogrammatical complexity: A missing construct in L2 research

In second language (L2) research, indices of linguistic complexity are frequently used to assess language proficiency and quantify the language learning and development process. Although the lexis-grammar interface has become central to a variety of theoretical and empirical research programs, it has remained virtually absent from L2 complexity research where syntax and lexis are considered two independent levels and the complexity that arises at their interface has never been systematically investigated. To help fill the current gap in the L2 literature, the project aims to analyze this dimension in L2 Dutch writing data.

The project centres around four main objectives:

(1) establish the construct validity of new measures of lexicogrammatical (LG) complexity,
(2) describe LG complexity at different proficiency levels in L2 Dutch writing,
(3) chart the development of LG complexity over time and
(4) investigate to what extent LG complexity relates to other aspects of linguistic complexity tapped by the current repertoire of measures of syntactic and lexical complexity in L2 Dutch.

More generally, the research project will contribute to giving the lexis-grammar interface the place it deserves in theories of language proficiency and language development.

This project is funded by the Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Resarch Foundation Flanders (FWO) (2017-2021)

Project directors: A. Housen (VUB) and M. Paquot
PhD student: R. Rubin