Different Genres and Proficiency Levels: Relationships Among Syntactic Complexity, Genres and Students with Different L2 Proficiency Levels

  •  Minwei Yan    
  •  Fangfang Zou    


The present study examines differences in syntactic complexity in English writing among writers at different levels and explores the relationship between syntactic complexity and writings with different genres. 20 students in grade three of a senior high school that were randomly selected from two brands of test scores were grouped into high and low proficiency groups. The 40 writings from the 20 students were examined. Writings were evaluated by L2SCA (L2 Syntactic Complexity Analyzer) gauging syntactic complexity at global, clausal and phrasal level. After obtaining the data, the complexity values were entered into SPSS 21.0 to do analysis. Results reveal that the difference of the two genres reaches a significant level in terms of C/T (clauses per T-unit) and CN/C (complex nominals per clause); there is no significant relationship between syntactic complexity and L2 proficiency levels and no significant interactive effect is found between the genre factor and proficiency factor. The results can yield implications for ESL writing pedagogy.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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