Shared features of L2 writing: Intergroup homogeneity and text classification

Scott A. Crossley, Danielle S. McNamara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This study investigates intergroup homogeneity within high intermediate and advanced L2 writers of English from Czech, Finnish, German, and Spanish first language backgrounds. A variety of linguistic features related to lexical sophistication, syntactic complexity, and cohesion were used to compare texts written by L1 speakers of English to L2 writers of English in order to examine if L2 writing shares text similarities regardless of the L1 of the writer. The results of the study provide evidence for intergroup homogeneity in the linguistic patterns of L2 writers in that four word-based indices (hypernymy, polysemy, lexical diversity, and stem overlap) demonstrated similar patterns of occurrence in the L2 writer populations sampled. However, significant differences were reported for these indices between L1 and L2 writers. The results of this study provide evidence that some aspects of L2 writing may not be cultural or independent, but rather based on the amount and type of linguistic knowledge available to L2 learners as a result of language experience and learner proficiency level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-285
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Second Language Writing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Computational linguistics
  • Corpus linguistics
  • Intergroup homogeneity
  • L2 writing
  • Second language writing
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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