The effects of prompt types on L2 learners’ textual emotionality and lexical complexity
This study investigated the role of prompt types in the emotion and lexical complexity level in L2 writing performance using fine-grained automatic textual analyzing tools and indices. Fifty-three ESL advanced-mid students wrote essays on pandemic (esp. COVID-19) and non-pandemic prompts. A textual Sentiment Analysis was carried out to detect both positive and negative emotions expressed in the students’ writing. A set of six lexical complexity indices was calculated to examine further the rarity, fluency, sophistication, and diversity levels in writing. The results revealed that the prompt types affect the emotional and lexical complexity of L2 writing. These results also showed that emotionality and lexical complexity have intricate and significant interactions, providing evidence for an emotion-lexicon link in L2 writing. Our results indicated that emotion has a substantial role in L2 writing beyond the traditional cognition-centered perspective, echoing the call of an ‘affective turn’ in second language acquisition (SLA) research.
Keywords: prompt, emotionality, L2 writing, lexical complexity, teacher education
Published online: 06 May 2021
American Psychological Association
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