Edited by Gary G. Fogal and Marjolijn H. Verspoor
[Language Learning & Language Teaching 54] 2020
► pp. 109–131
Chapter 5. Profiling the dynamic changes of syntactic complexity in L2 academic writing
A multilevel synchrony method
This chapter investigates changes in the textual manifestation of the syntactic complexity construct in second language (L2) academic writing at the advanced level through linguistically profiling the academic essays of an L2 graduate student in a Master of Education (TESOL) program in Australia. This work explores the dynamic changes of the subconstructs of syntactic complexity at the sentential, clausal, and phrasal levels synchronously through the perspective of complex dynamic systems theory (CDST). To do so, this chapter also introduces a multilevel synchrony method which translates the feature of nestedness of language structure into data mapping, exploration, and profiling. The resulting profile offers visual access, through numerical data and graphs, to the mechanisms that underpin the changes manifest in the language produced by the learner. The findings are then discussed within the framework of CDST and the characteristics of academic writing in English.