Calculating the lexical frequency profile of written German texts
Measures of lexical richness aim at quantifying the degree to which L2 writers are using a varied and large vocabulary. One method for calculating lexical richness is the Lexical Frequency Profile, or LFP (Laufer & Nation, 1995). The LFP, calculated by a computer programme, provides a detailed picture of vocabulary use measured against several frequency lists of words. This paper reports on a small-scale study to investigate the effectiveness of calculating the LFP of written texts of German. This study formed part of a larger study to investigate the impact of dictionaries on students’ writing. Six subjects completed two timed writing tasks in examination conditions, one with and one without a bilingual dictionary. It was envisaged that the LFP might be helpful in determining if the presence of the bilingual dictionary made a difference to students’ lexical sophistication. A calculation of the LFP was carried out using two context-specific lists. Figures were calculated for the number of word tokens and word families. It was concluded that, although using the computer programme with German texts presented some difficulties not present when using the software with English frequency lists, the LFP showed itself to be a valuable diagnostic tool that was able to differentiate between proficiency levels in German and to provide useful information about lexical richness in German texts.
Published online: 01 January 2004
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Cited by 2 other publications
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