Vigo International Journal
of Applied Linguistics VIAL
Scott A. Crossley (1), Tom Salsbury (2), Danielle S. McNamara (3): The development of semantic relations in second language
speakers: A case for Latent Semantic Analysis VIAL. Number 7/2010: 55-74.
This study explores how a Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) index provided by
Coh-Metrix can be used as a method to examine the development of lexical networks
in second language (L2) speakers. Using the LSA index along with an index of
lexical development (lexical diversity), a measure of general linguistic development
(TOEFL scores) and indices of lexical overlap in a yearlong longitudinal study, this
study demonstrates that semantic similarity along with TOEFL and lexical diversity
values significantly increase as learners study a second language. Measures of word
overlap did not demonstrate significant growth. The findings demonstrate that
the LSA value reported by Coh-Metrix can be used to approximate lexical growth
and that L2 learners likely begin to develop tighter semantic relations between
utterances and words within a short period of time. This finding implies the growth
of lexical networks. This study also has important implications for the development
of coherent speech patterns in L2 learners.
Keywords: Latent Semantic Analysis, Lexical Networks, Corpus Linguistics,
Lexical Proficiency, Computational Linguistics, MTLD.
(1) Mississippi State University, U.S.A. (2) Washington State University, U.S.A. (3) University of Memphis, U.S.A
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