The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics

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Korean Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21

[ Article ]
Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 21, No. 0, pp.341-358
Abbreviation: KASELL
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print) 2586-7474 (Online)
Received 13 Mar 2021 Revised 10 Apr 2021 Accepted 20 Apr 2021

Measuring NP Complexity in Korean EFL Writing across CEFR Levels A2, B1 and B2
Jungyeon Kim
Postdoctoral Researcher, Yonsei University, Tel: 02-2123-2329 (

© 2021 KASELL All rights reserved
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The study reported in this article investigates noun phrase syntactic complexity in the writing of Korean EFL university learners across four kinds of CEFR proficiency levels (Common European Framework of Reference A2, B1_1, B1_2 and B2+) in the International Corpus Network of Asian Learners of English (ICNALE). The method employed to analyze all NPs in the current learner corpus is the measurement of NP complexity using the Tool for the Automatic Analysis of Syntactic Sophistication and Complexity (TAASSC). In order to see if NP complexity differs across the levels of proficiency in Korean EFL writing, this study analyzed fine-grained indices of four different components related to compound NPs, i.e., NP elaboration, nouns as modifiers and modifier variation, determiners, and possessives. The statistical results suggest that the variables of NP elaboration (e.g., prepositions per clause and adjectival modifiers per direct object) are stronger predictors of EFL writing proficiency than the other indices of NP complexity. The current findings broaden earlier corpus-based outcomes with respect to the measurement of EFL writing quality, NP complexity in particular. This study will hopefully lead to the expansion of new studies that can possibly explore the role of NP complexity and/or NP sophistication in accounting for foreign language writing proficiency.

Keywords: TAASSC, NP complexity, ICNALE, Korean EFL writing

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