Syntactic and lexical development in an intensive English for Academic Purposes programme

Mazgutova, Diana and Kormos, Judit (2015) Syntactic and lexical development in an intensive English for Academic Purposes programme. Journal of Second Language Writing, 29. pp. 3-15. ISSN 1060-3743

[thumbnail of SI 2015_Mazgutova & Kormos_JRS-]
PDF (SI 2015_Mazgutova & Kormos_JRS-)
SI_2015_Mazgutova_Kormos_JRS_.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (370kB)


This study investigates how the lexical and syntactic characteristics of L2 learners’ academic writing change over the course of a one-month long intensive English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programme at a British university. The participants were asked to produce two argumentative essays, at the beginning and at the end of the EAP course, which were analysed using measures that are theoretically motivated by previous research in corpus linguistics, systemic functional linguistics, and developmental child language acquisition. The results indicate improvements, with regard to lexical diversity, both for intermediate-level students who were preparing for undergraduate university studies in the UK and upper-intermediate level participants who were planning to continue their studies at postgraduate level. The academic argumentative texts of the students in the lower proficiency group also demonstrate development in noun-phrase complexity and in the use of genre-specific syntactic constructions. The findings suggest that despite no explicit focus on lexis and syntax in the EAP programme, by the end of the course the students’ writing exhibited a developmentally more advanced repertoire of lexical and syntactic choices that are characteristic of expository texts in academic contexts.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Second Language Writing
Additional Information:
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Second Language Writing. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Second Language Writing, 29, 2015 DOI: 10.1016/j.jslw.2015.06.004 Date of Acceptance: 27/04/2015
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? second language writingeap writinglexical diversitylexical sophisticationsyntactic complexitywriting developmenteducationlinguistics and languagelanguage and linguistics ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
29 Jun 2015 15:42
Last Modified:
07 Nov 2023 23:35