Vocabulary size and use: Lexical richness in L2 written production

Batia Laufer, Paul Nation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article shows that if there is some control over genre then there will be a close correspondence between the vocabulary size of intermediate learners as reflected in their writing and a more direct measure of vocabulary size The study proposes a new measure of lexical richness, the Lexical Frequency Profile, which looks at the proportion of high frequency general service and academic words in learners' writing The study shows that it is possible to obtain a reliable measure of lexical richness which is stable across two pieces of writing by the same learners It also discriminates between learners of different proficiency levels For learners of English as a second language, the Lexical Frequency Profile is seen as being a measure of how vocabulary size is reflected in use In this study, it was found that the Lexical Frequency Profile correlates well with an independent measure of vocabulary size This reliable and valid measure of lexical richness in writing will be useful for determining the factors that affect judgements of quality in writing and will be useful for examining how vocabulary growth is related to vocabulary use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-322
Number of pages16
JournalApplied Linguistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Vocabulary size and use: Lexical richness in L2 written production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this